Friday, October 2, 2009

Green October

A few months back, I posted a link to Green as a Thistle, a blog run by Canadian journalist, Vanessa Farquharson. For one year she made a different green change in her life everyday. Some of the changes were small, like switching to natural cleaning products, but some of them were much larger, like giving up her car and refrigerator. I was inspired by the concept after reading an article about her in my most favourite magazine Body + Soul and decided that the idea would lend itself well to The Twelve Months of Lent. So, I've come up with 31 ways to make my already pretty green lifestyle even greener. A lot of the changes are inspired by Vanessa's, some of them came from Body + Souls going greener guidebook, and a few are just ideas I had on my own.

Here's my list:

1. Do not purchase any single serving bottled beverages.
2. Make all my bills ebills.
3. Read by candlelight at night instead of turning on the lights.
4. Switch to cloth napkins.
5. Find a better solution for plastic litter liners. They probably make biodegradable ones, right?
6. Unplug the computer when I'm not using it.
7. Shower with the lights off in the daytime.
8. Switch to CFL lightbulbs. I'm kind of embarassed that I haven't done this already.
9. Use only natural products to clean the house, like baking soda and vinegar.
10. Fill the tea kettle with the exact amount of water I need.
11. Reuse one glass and one mug all day.
12. Carbon offset air and auto travel.
13. Put a bucket in the shower while the water is heating up. Save the water and use it to water plants.
14. Take the stairs.
15. Be strict about turning the lights off when I leave the room.
16. Try Good Search instead of google.
17. Wash clothes in cold water and don't use the dryer.
18. If I need to purchase something, try to buy used.
19. Shave my legs in the sink instead of the shower.
20. Ride my bike or walk to the grocery store instead of driving.
21. Switch to Luna Pads and the Diva Cup.
22. Use cash instead of credit and debit cards to minimize receipts.
23. Buy recycled and biodegradable trash bags.
24. Use glass instead of tupperware and stop using plastic wrap entirely.
25. Don't let the water run while I'm doing the dishes.
26. Get a working composting system in order.
27. Stop using paper towels.
28. Try to cut shower time in half.
29. Don't buy fruits and vegetables wrapped in plastic or styrafoam.
30. Donate things I don't want anymore to a charity.
31. Reduce junk mail

The general gist of "going greener" seems to be to reduce your consumption, reuse what you can, and recycle the rest. Here are a few facts I came across that will hopefully encourage everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle more:

In 1995, Americans generated about 208 millions tons of garbage; 12 years later, that number rose to 254 million tons, with the average person producing nearly five pounds per day.

According to EPA estimates, we could recycle as much as 75 percent of our trash.

In finding ways to make my life greener, I realized that the concept was referencing some previous lents: reducing waste, eating locally, etc. I hope this month will be a good way to get back into some habits that I haven't kept up with.