Thursday, March 13, 2008

the color green

We have slowly been trying to simplify our family. Living simply for us means living greener. Not to be trendy or because it's the 'in' thing to do, but because it's the right thing to do for our family. (this is our decision and I realize it may not be yours... you may think I'm a bit crazy. I'm just trying to share. Not preach)

Bright Ideas
Last year we changed our incandescent bulbs to CFL. (okay, I admit, we kept the incandescent bulb in our bedroom and the bedside table lamp. ) We often use our oil lamps at night. It saves a bit on electricity, the kids tend to go to bed earlier, and we love the atmosphere oil lamps create. The warm glow of an oil lamp makes life feel simpler. We would love to invest in solar panels to offset some energy use and a wood stove for heating. Perhaps after we move...

Bruce drives to work since it's much to far to walk or ride a bike and we don't have mass transit systmes in the area. There isn't much he can change about his drving habits other than drive a more fuel effiecient vehicle. And we're working on that...

Since I'm a stay-at-home mom it isn't necessary for me to go out each day. I combine my shopping and library trips into a once a week expedition. (and any other errands are added to same day, like maybe a doctor's appointment)

You may question my use of the word 'expedition', but I assure it's accurate. Taking a 4 year old girl and a 7 month old boy, their required gear, my canvas shopping bags, lunch/snacks, and planning bathroom stops all in the Michigan winter requires intricate planning and expert execusion...

Carry all
I've been consistently using reusable shopping bags for the past few months rather than allowing the impertinent cashiers to thrust my goods into as many plastic bags as possible. (I think I've actually come home with more bags than items! Milk doesn't need to be double bagged. It has a handle so it doesn't need a bag at all!!! Apples come in their own bags... why would I need another one?!!???)

I've learned to be more emphatic about the fact that I don't want to bring any plastic bags home. Now I demand them to 'Please, cram it all it! Get everything in the bags I brought.' If it doesn't fit in the bags I brought, I probably don't need it.

I started doing this after Jack was born. It's simple and easy. Honestly, the most difficult thing about recycling isn't rinsing out containers or peeling labels, it's remembering to take it down to the road on pick-up day.

Carlie is learning fast. She's a fantastic helper and always asks 'is this recyclable?' before throwing something away.

I must admit something else. I have a terrible habit of taking things like water bottles out of the trash (my mom's, ours, at church...) because it should be recycled. My mom recycles now. Mostly so I'll stop going through the garbage when we come to visit...

I'm certain I have more to say about living simply and making greener decisions and I'll try to get back on here soon. But between the kids, the torn rotator cuff, and making dinner... I've gotta go.

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