Saturday, April 21, 2007

Earth Day

Earth Day is Sunday April 22nd

Growing up my Dad was the ultimate conservationist. He recycled when there wasn't recycling and you had to make a special trip to the special place. We would go on walks and collect cans out of the trash for fun! We also would collect pine cones for fire starters but that didn't involve sticking your hand in the trash. (Mind you, he didn't dig deep for the cans- just got the ones on top. Does that make it better???) We grew up never using paper plates, paper napkins and paper towels. We had cloth napkins in ever color and I even have a few sets of my own that I now use. We had a garden, bought local produce at farmers markets, and hardly EVER ate out. We were taught to not waste water - turn it off while brushing, wash the car on the lawn etc. I'm not sure if it's because we lived in California and Californians are a little ahead of the times, or if it was just good ol' Dad.

The point is, I grew up saving the earth a little at a time and I didn't even know it. When I moved to AZ it thought is was strange that people didn't recycle (they have a program now) and there wasn't signs in every public place reminding you not to waste water. This was the desert!!! Wasn't water sacred???

This week there has been a lot of focus on "Going Green", Saving the Planet and Earth Day. It has made me realize all the bad habits I have and that I am not teaching my girls the importance of all our natural resources like my Dad did. I watched Oprah the other day (you know how I LOVE Oprah) and it was all about the little things that we can do to help keep our earth going strong. It made me think. So, I'm challenging myself to start to do the little things that will make a BIG difference in the long run. It won't be hard, and it won't take a lot of time but I think I can do my part and maybe help my girls learn a life lesson in the long run.

My Goals for Going Green

(it helps that my favorite color is green)

1. Use the cloth napkins that I already have.
Reduce your use of paper napkins…by just one a day! "Napkins make a huge difference," Elizabeth says. "We use 2,200 of them a year, per person on average. Six a day. So if we all gave up one napkin a day, we could save a billion pounds of paper waste … from going to landfills a year."

2. wash all clothes in cold water. (except maybe the whites, they get pretty dirty)

3. Don't take a receipt at the gas station or ATM.
Saves paper that I just throw away anyway. Receipts from 8 billion ATM transactions every year are one of the biggest sources of litter on the planet. If everyone left their receipts in the machine, it would save a roll of paper more than 2 billion feet long—enough to circle the equator more than 15 times.

4. Change the light bulbs to compact florescent lightbulbs (CFLs)
(A CFL is 70 to 75 percent more efficient than other bulbs, she says. Florescent bulbs will cost a little more up front, but you should save money on your electricity bill over time. Plus, these bulbs can last 8 to 10 years! If every family replaced one bulb with a CFL, it would be like reducing carbon emissions from 800,000 cars.)
Wow I can do that!

5. Go green on cleaning products.
That's easy and I already have been trying to go organic on the foods that we eat so changing cleaning products will be a piece of cake! Plus I'm out of glass cleaner and multipurpose cleaner. It will also be helpful for Cassidy's Ashma not to have those chemicals floating around our A/C air that we breath all summer like a chemical cocktail.

6. Save my egg cartons that can't be recycled and give them to Brooke.
That way she has a nice container for her chicken eggs that she gives away and I'm not throwing the container away. Plus, I get free farm fresh eggs!

7. Plant a tree.
I already have two apple trees on order. Just waiting for them to get here. You know me and trees - there can never be too many.

I'm sure there is a lot more I could be doing but I'm starting small. That way I can manage my goal and not fail. I'm hoping the movie An Inconvenient Truth will motivate me. I rented it to watch today on Earth Day. Isn't it nice to have so many resources available for us at the tip of our fingers? It makes learning and doing, fun and manageable. I'm looking forward to my new goals. Happy Earth Day to You!

What are some things you do to help the planet?

Do you have a favorite organic cleaning product that works wonders?

Don't you hate all the extra packaging that comes on products we buy? How can we stop that?


Brooke said...

First off I only met your Dad once but he was amazing! I love all the stories and memories you have but really all your lessons and traditions your family has from him. You need to have a side bar with all your traditions (ice cream on his b-day or picture of the month) Also, thanks for the reminder I know I need to be better and now I am going to try harder.

Crazymamaof6 said...

i use holy cow, i get it at walmart, and it works! it is biodegradable and
has no harsh chemicals and no citrus oils and some other good stuff, but i smells pretty good and it got permanent marker off of a plastic thing my kids had decorated that they weren't supposed to. and I'm pretty sure it's inexpensive too.