Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Think globally, act locally.

I think we tune these phrases out when we hear them. I mean, won’t it take time and money to act responsibly? Don’t the funky lightbulbs cost more to buy? Really, how much electricity can ONE lightbulb use? I don’t have time to sort plastic bottles (I do though). My family can’t save the world…

Maybe I can’t, but my kids are sure tough enough to. Look at the mess our parents (unknowingly in most cases) left us. Hello superfund sites. I’m sure I licked a lead paint windowcill at some point in my childhood. My grandfather had both white lung & black lung. We are smarter to avoid things like asbestos and breathing coal dust, but at the expense of our parents and grandparents health. Now that I’ve got kids of my own, I am quickly realizing that being kind to Mother Nature is more than just treating the Earth gently, it’s treating *humans* gently.

With all the wars and starvation going on, sometimes I don’t understand how it’s worth it to save it all. People need some way to redeem themselves. Shoot a person but provide for their children. Dump waste in the water and then build expensive factories to purify it. Now all the buzz is about carbon footprints and going green. How about we not eff it up in the first place? There’s a thought.

So how does all of this effect ME? Because, really, that is what this is all about. My family. Act locally and all. Everything in the house and our lives is eligible for change. I have been hearing a lot about certain plastics – especially in baby bottles – not being safe for food use. Plastics used to store food and heated in microwaves causing breast cancer. Who knows if it’s all true (some is for sure), but why take the chance? It’s causing a mess being made, then it causes a mess in our homes and bodies, then it causes a mess for centuries in landfills.

So what has my family been doing to help our quality of life and the planet? A lot more than I realized, and I’m sure it’s the same with everyone.

– Reusing kids toys and clothing when I can
– Using Freecycle, Goodwill, and Craigslist – mostly giving away for now, need to declutter and get a fresh start
– I breastfeed the baby … so no manufacturing of infant formula and all the gear needed to use it
– Keep the house warmer in the summer, cooler in the winter
– Cars with decent gas mileage & lumping all out-of-the-house errands together
– Keep lights and electronics off when we aren’t using them
– Hurray for dishwashers! They actually use less water than washing by hand
– High efficiency, front-loading washing machines
– We use our phones and iPods and computers to store information & pay bills instead of printing or mailing (our printer rarely gets used)
– Eat locally-grown food and produce

Where are we slacking? Too many plastic grocery bags. So today I ordered a set of reusable ones. My pantry is filled to capacity with the plastic ones and it turns my stomach. I hate them. Something else on my killing the Earth list… I drive my daughter 7 houses (1/4 mile) down the street to the bus stop when the weather is cold/bad/we are late. If the school listens to me and puts a stop in front of our house, I am sure I can save a few tons of toxic emissions each year.

The whole disposable diaper issue still bugs me a bunch. Studies have been showing up that both cloth and disposable impact the environment, just in different ways. End result – baby poop messes with the balance of nature. What I haven’t figured out how to do yet is recycle car seats. I’ve got three of them that need to be thrown out, but there is no easy way to do it. So they sit in my basement and collect dust.

What it all comes down to is think about every single thing that comes into your home or your body. Sounds like it takes a long time? How about changing one thing a week or even one thing a day? Somehow I think the time you spend thinking about stuff like this will be repaid to you at the end of your life, with a longer life – for us & the rock floating in space we like to live. Karma on an infinite level.

What green things are you trying to teach your kids?

[tags]earth day, earth day 2008, green living, freecycle, goodwill, craigslist, recycle[/tags]