Monday, October 13, 2008

I've been thinking a lot about the environment lately...

and I want to go green in my house. I feel like it's the one thing I can do to help the earth. I can't make a difference on carbon emissions. I can't control factory pollution. And you know what? If I call the Chinese government and ask them to make some serious and prolific environmental changes, I really don't think they'd listen. So in my small .07 acre of the world, I'm feeling the need to go green:

Here are a few green things we're doing already:

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  • Buy many fragrance free, dye free products

  • Switch household items to the less waste variety (microfiber clothes, one heavy duty tape dispenser, canvas shopping totes, etc.)

  • Print on both sides of the paper

  • Give the kids boxes, fabric scraps, egg cartons, etc. to play with

  • Use tuppers to pack sandwiches for the kids' lunches

  • Wash and reuse plastic baggies (the girls even bring the ones in their lunches home to reuse)
  • Send reusable water bottles to school with the kiddos

  • Replace old bulbs with flourescent

  • Recently switched from paper to cloth napkins

  • And most importantly, continuously impart the crucial needs of our earth to my children

Here's what I'd like to do:

  • Put more plants around, including ferns since they're supposed to absorb extra chemicals.

  • Get rid of toxic cleaning chemicals (I won't waste money, though. I'll use them till they run out, then use environmental alternatives.)

  • Replace my teflon-coated pans with the old-fashioned variety. (My pots and pans are just fine, though, so this one won't happen any time soon.)

  • Convince my local recycling plant to accept much more than they currently do.

  • Eat organic. (Hahahahaha! When I win the lottery, that is...)

I was reading a book the other day about greening your home. Many, many useful tips, I thought. So many, in fact, I almost bought the book. But as I continued to read, my frustration grew as the author continuously intoned that I was killing my family because of the way I keep house. Yes, I use Comet to clean my sinks. Yes, I use dryer sheets. And yes, I do actually use the microwave!!!!! (This is where you take in a quick breath of horror and disbelievingly say, "No!")

I do have to live, you know!

The book ended up at the bottom of the pile we weren't buying. I'd love to read a less accusatory book about Going Green. Any suggestions? I'll have to peruse the online library catalog. (Oooohhh, totally off topic, but the city just broke ground on the new GIANT library! I'm so excited!!!)

Seriously, we're all so busy and overwhelmed. We need a book that can provide doable suggestions while understanding that as much as we want to make going green a priority, we have to be able to fit in around violin lessons and dr. appts and grocery shopping and Girl Scouts.

But tell me... what is it that you do in your home to go green? How much of a priority is it for you? Is your family cooperative?


Tana said...

Kate this is awesome stuff!! I just did a talk at my MOMS group on cleaning GREEN on a budget!! Which covered many of the things you have posted. This last year I have become very passionate about being more aware of how are actions impact the healthy of my family and are environment. I would love to have coffee and talk about this with you sometime???
A few things we do:
1) Buy only phosphate free dish washing detergent and laundry detergent.
2) Use Castile soap for everything now! This week I'm making all our hand soap with castile soap and tea tree oil.
I have found a great book (hope it's not the book you read) titled; Gorgeously Green and it cover's EVERYTHING!! I own it and would love to let you borrow it!! Our philosphy has been, it's the little things that count. We don't want to make to many changes that aren't going to stick!! My husband has been very supportive and even excited with me at times!!

Kendall's Mom said...

Hey Kate! So far I've read Gorgeously Green, Living like Ed (Ed Begley jr. - have you seen his show?)The Idiot's Guide to Going Green, and Go Green, Live Rich. I have to disagree with Tana a little (sorry Tana!) I found Gorgeously Green a little superficial. The Ed book was from the library. I own the rest because I plan on refering back to them as needed. My fave so far was the Ed book and the Idiot book - happy to loan you any of them! I'll be reviewing them all on my blog. We do cloth napkins, too, and phosphate free laundry detergent, NO dryer sheets or fabric softner, cold or warm loads of laundry. We do trash-free lunches and I bring home all of the recyling from Kendall's classroom once a week and add it to ours since the school doesn't have recycing (!) I have found reusable CLOTH "swiffers" that work great and have even switched to cloth pads (yes, as in feminine protection!!) We get almost all of our produce at the Farmer's Market (so it doesn't travel as far to reach our table) and I only grocery shop once a week, at a store very close to our home. I'm fortunate that we can afford organic food so I get organic whenever possible. In addition to cloth grocery bags, I use cloth PRODUCE bags also. No matter what I'm buying, I try to buy USED first. Aren't you sorry you asked?? I'll be blogging more about it... Thanks, Kate!!