Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One Small Change

While reading Rob’s blog, I found out about Hip Mountain Mama’s One Small Change challenge. She has had the insight to ask folks to make one environmentally beneficial change in their lives each month between now and April 22nd, which is Earth Day. I like it. I really like it. If we each do something, no matter how small, then we’re changing a mindset. And if we commit to doing it for a manageable amount of time, we might just keep on doing it – forever.

I starting browsing through the links on the Community of Change page to see what everyone was “changing”, and spent quite a bit of time getting through the posts! Now that’s testimony to a great idea!

I’ve been living a fairly eco-friendly life for many years. As Walter Brennan's character said in The Guns of Will Sonnett, “No brag, just fact.” My utility bills are very much under control, I shop at thrift stores, I bring my lunch to work, have a KleenKanteen for cold drinks and a canning jar to carry my coffee, borrow books from the library or buy used, mix my own detergent, shop at the Farmers’ Market (when they are open in spring-summer-fall), buy earth-friendly products for shampoo and soaps, bring my own shopping and produce bags, buy from the bulk bins (nuts, sugar, oatmeal, flours, wild and brown rices, grains, and maple syrup), signed up on the no-junk-mail list, recycle (although options in my city are limited), and a few others that evade my memory just now. My paper towel usage was a total of two rolls for 2009, by using cloth cleaning rags.

Living in a condo prevents me from composting, installing solar panels or raising my own animals, but that’s food for future thoughts.

What I have started this year is to reduce my consumption of meat, red meat in particular but any meat in general. Due to the enormous amount of earth energy usage necessary to produce a pound of beef versus the minute amount it takes for the equivalent of alternative protein, along with the fact that we consume far too much red meat for our health, I’m giving up beef for the interim. This will be my January change. I enjoy legumes and grains and decided to expand my range in the protein area. My lunch and dinner proteins have consisted of quinoa, lentil burgers, wild and brown rice stir fries, and tuna. So far I’m extremely satisfied, and don’t feel deprived at all. I bought some amaranth to try tomorrow.

For February I want to experiment with cold-brewed coffee. I make a small pot of coffee each morning, which usually stays on for an hour while I sip a few cups and scan the headlines - and my friends’ blogs :) . I’d like to get the knack of cold-brewed coffee so I can just pop a cup in the microwave rather than waste the energy of running the coffeemaker and leaving it on to stay warm every morning.

For March I’d like to make the switch to home-mixed deodorant. I’ve had good luck with baking soda in fall, winter, and early spring, but it doesn’t quite cut it in summer. I’ve found a few “recipes” (see here and here) to try in March so that I can have options ready for the hot days in July.

Hopefully, in April, the weather will be warm enough to start riding my bike to work again.

It’s not like it’s a big commitment or anything. Just trying to save a small piece of the earth. :) Want to help?


My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

I LOVE this..trying to live green here too....tried giving up beef twice last year..but always fell off the beef wagon..with a husband how "lives for the grill" making 2 seperate dinners every night began to take it's toll...and I gave up..if i lived alone however, it would be a different story...

I'll be trying it again this year..

i'll be back later

missed you lately


Hip Mountain Mama said...

I am so glad you found us and decided to join the challenge! I look forward to reading about your progress!
Good luck and thanks again!!

MyStory of HiStory said...

I MUST remember my reusable bags. I have them - just forget them a lot & chastise myself when under my sink, where I cram them, just about explodes & motivates me to pack them up to take to recycle at the grocery store ... where I forget THEM too & they sit in the back of my car for who knows how long. I resolve to remember!! :)

For a while we did meatless Mondays for dinner.I'm going to revisit that too. Thanks for the inspiration :)

Perhaps one day you will share your detergent recipe?

Scattering Lupines said...

Gosh, I wish I could jump on the meat bandwagon with you! Husband thinks we need meat at practically every meal. I hardly ever ate meat before we got married!

I'll take the challenge. I've been trying to become more environmentally conscious the last few years. I've switched all my household cleaners, recycle everything I can, have an herb and veggie garden in summer, use cloth grocery bags-- and even doled them out to folks at Christmas! But after reading your post, I see there's MUCH MUCH more I could be doing! I don't know about the deo-- maybe that will come LATER in my process :)

Sharon Lovejoy said...

I don't know how much outdoor space you have in your condo, but I have always had worm bins for all our garbage. NO garbage disposal, just my beloved worms.

I've raised them in bins, benches, boxes, and am now working on a new design using a galvanized water trough, but could also use wooden barrels and half barrels.

In my book Trowel & Error I give how-to directions for doing a bin. If you're interested just let me know. I've got red worms galore in my bin right now and as soon as your weather warms I could send some to you!
Adoption allowed.

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Kate said...

I second the worm bin idea. You can keep them inside if need be. That alleviates the compost situation, and you can take the bin with you when you find your next place. No need to buy a bin. I made my own and it works just fine. Worms are easy to take care of too.