6/21/08

Lame attempts at going green.

I have always called myself an environmentalist, dutifully signing a few small checks each year (probably just enough to pay for the subsequent biweekly mailings, from ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS, printed on TREES. DOUCHES.) and ranting at length about the state of the world.

Lately, I'm actually trying to do something about it in my own life. (Novel idea! Being the change I want to see in the world!) Some attempts at going green are large (we bought a Prius two years ago and it is just the best car EVER.) and some are small and, well, kinda lame.

lame attempt #1: I buy the worst possible paper towels I can find. (Sorry Trader Joe's. You rock my world with your prepared items and neither I nor Zoe could exist without your organic peanut butter crackers, but your paper towels BITE.) They shred as you try to pull off a sheet, they don't soak up more than a tablespoon and they are rough. They are made from recycled paper, which is a good thing, but mostly the fact that THEY SUCK means that I always stop before pulling off a sheet and think to myself "Self, you might be better off using a sponge or a rag or YOUR OWN SOCK instead of one of those crappy paper towels".

lame attempt #2: In in effort to minimize water use, I employ many small scale habits that hopefully cancel out the long, hot baths I indulge in every winter night (thank goodness I live in LA. If I lived somewhere actually, you know, COLD, I would take several a day, effectively killing our whole planet single-handedly). In the morning, I toss Sweet Dog's grody, day-old water into whatever houseplant I'm currently neglecting the most. When making pasta or hard boiled eggs or tea, I save the water, cool it off and do the same. I've started keeping a bowl in the sink for when I'm running the water to get it hot or cold.

lame attempt #3: I'm a total freak about turning off lights in the house. In fact, I'm sitting in semi-darkness right now, as I type. I may lose my eyesight but I'm saving electricity.

lame attempt #4: I just sent my husband out to the hardware store (not like I really had to twist his arm to go to his version of heaven) to get a clothesline. Our towels are filthy and need to be washed but it's 104 freaking degrees here today and I'll be damned if I'm going to put them in the dryer and heat up our house. Plus, Mother Nature has her own dryer, it's free and radiating in my windows right now!

lame attempt #5: I have started getting as much of our food as I possibly can from the two farmer's markets I take Zoe to weekly. They each have different vendors so we can get all our bread, eggs, veggies, and fruit from them (plus the very best tamales, kettle corn and homemade ice cream). This habit kills so many birds with one stone: It's cheaper, it supports smaller farms, it reminds me what's in season, it has a smaller carbon footprint (rather than trucking the food to the stores, across great distances, and then me getting myself to the store, the farmers and I both come to the market and cut out the middleman.) Most of the produce is organic or close to it, from a reasonably close radius and super fresh. Plus, Zoe loves the samples, the other kids, even the crazy, creepy cowboy guy who sings different lyrics to the same tune over and over again. Win, win, WIN.

(Though, talk to me again in December when it's nothing but potatoes and citrus.)

lame attempt #6: After much trial and error (as well as insipient laziness and indifference), I've finally gotten really good about bringing my own bags with me into every store. The key is finding an awesome bag and I have. These are good-looking, super strong, washable, and fold up tiny enough to fit in any purse. PERFECT.

3 comments:

Swistle said...

I find that when people make the kind of changes you're making, it's WAY INSPIRING. Huge enormous changes make me feel discouraged and like there's no sense doing ANYTHING AT ALL. Changes like putting extra water into the houseplants make me feel like joining in.

Also, about the mailings: I KNOW, RIGHT?? My donations get TOTALLY USED UP in the cost of requests for further donations. It's maddening.

grammalouie said...

Your so-called "small" and "lame" attempts are actually what WILL save this planet!

Sas. said...

Not lame, my love! Also not lame? Posting about small changes that are easy and accessible that others might learn from.

Having said that, I am totally having fantasies about building a grey water system that goes from every drain in the house but the toitie straight to a reservoir that waters the garden. This however is secondary to the fantasies I am having about the estate that said grey water system will be used on... :>

Also: covering the south-facing back of the house with solar cell paint stuff that doesn't quite exist yet - note to entrepreneurs: get on that!

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