The more I learn about our way of life - the things we eat, the things we buy (even the way we package the things we buy!), the things we give our kids to entertain them so that we have time to eat and buy more stuff, and the staggering and profound effect these activities have on our bodies, our budgets, and our planet.....
...the more I get overwhelmed, which makes me want to go out and eat things and buy stuff.
I do some things right. I buy our beef from BJ's uncle, who raises it about 45 minutes from here. While we still eat beef in restaurants, the majority of the beef we eat is healthy (no hormones or antibiotics, grown on a real farm not in a factory, etc.). I mean, if we wanted to we could go visit the cow that they're going to butcher for us. How many people can say that? I also buy produce at the farmer's market all summer. This year I'm going to buy a share of a farm co-op, so we'll have local fresh produce from about April to October - so we'll be eating locally and seasonally - using less energy (transport), and getting better nutrition. I asked for reusable grocery bags for Christmas. I try to buy local, both at home and at work, even when it means spending a bit more. And we recycle more than anyone else in our neighborhood. And we try to reuse, too. Plastic grocery bags are used to clean up after Max. Print outs from work come home for MG to color, then get recycled. I use Tupperware instead of Ziplocks whenever I can. We keep the thermostat between 65 and 68 in the winter, and between 75 and 78 in the summer...
But I could do better. Just like I could eat better. There's always room for improvement, right?
I think for 2008 I'm going to take a seriously look at living more "green." Some of my ideas include:
- Using cloth napkins instead of paper.
- Using rags instead of paper towels.
- Eating at home instead of eating out.
- Cooking from ingredients instead of buying pre-made ("perimeter shopping" they call it - shopping around the outside of the grocery store and staying out of the aisles).
- Planning ahead when going out and taking things along (like coffee or drinks) rather than buying them out.
- Buying less stuff. I have everything I need - I don't need any more "retail therapy."
- Watching even less TV. Spending more time with people and less time in front of screens.
- Walking/biking more, driving less. I'll have BJ put the trailer on my bike in the spring, and the girls and I can ride to the grocery store and the farmer's market. It's not far.
- No longer shopping at "Big Box Marts," buying everything that I can locally (or going without).
- Buying fewer things for the kids, spending the energy and money, instead, on outings and experiences (and books, of course).
- Going to the library for books and videos, instead of going to the store.
- Consuming less high fructose corn syrup - cutting out soda and packaged foods, and replacing them with water and things I've made myself from actual ingredients.
- Phasing out harmful household chemicals, and phasing in more natural cleaning products.
- Eating vegetarian more frequently.