Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day, y’all!

I’m sure you know by now that EARTH DAY IS EVERYDAY, but I know I’m personally glad we’ve got one day a year when even Target recognizes that it’s time to give back to the earth and hands out free reusable bags (though they were inexplicably doing this on Saturday and calling it “in honor of Earth Day”).

I haven’t always been green, I hope you know. Sure, like all the other kids in my elementary school, I planted a tree and sang about how animals “have to have a habitat” at the Oregon State University Earth Day Fair (we got to sing IN FRONT OF COLLEGE KIDS! It was THRILLING!), but when I moved out of my parents’ house, I was probably the messiest non-greener you can imagine. Tossing it all out (even though there was a recycling bin that, God bless my roommate Lily, got emptied out weekly) because it was more convenient, shopping it up at Wal-Mart with disregard for all the superfluous packaging (and even though I lived CLOSER to a HyVee, I was offended by the extra $0.10 they wanted for the same package of Little Debbies I could get out at Chaypest. Although I easily used an extra $1.00 of gas to get to Wal-Mart, thus negating any savings), and leaving my computer permanently on.

Yeah, I could have been worse, but the point is mostly that I just WASN’T THINKING.

Now?

We recycle everything we can get our hands on (and Lily, you might be pleased to know that I am the one driving the glass to the recycling center now), compost, use reusable bags at the grocery store/every store, leave all the lights off for 22/24 hours in the day (our house gets a lot of natural light), unplug appliances religiously, computers all go to standby/sleep mode, line-dry our clothes when possible (FINALLY SPRING!), use cloth diapers, are starting a rain barrel this weekend, and gave away all the strippings of our 90s house to thrift stores (Hey, SOMEONE must like bordello curtains and old faux-brass fixtures. Far be it from me to deny them the pleasure!).

Our consumer choices? Phosphate-free dishwasher detergent, natural laundry detergent, natural cleaning products (vinegar is amazing and works ON EVERYTHING!), local-grown food & produce when possible, VOC-free paint, VOC-free floors (BAMBOO your floors, guys—it’s a renewable resource, and you don’t want to know what you’re breathing in when you walk on carpet), Vee uses a manual push mower on our lawn, drive cars that routinely get 30mpg, and I just switched to the Diva Cup, y’all.

Support local—not just because you’re keeping money in the good old USA and preventing the unemployment rate from rising through job-outsourcing, but because your goods don’t travel as far to get to you, which means less auto emissions, which means you are singlehandedly helping keep the ozone layer intact just by shopping at the local stationery store instead of ordering your cards online (which requires the seller to drive to their local post office to mail the goods, the USPS guys to drive across the country to deliver to YOUR local post office, and your postal worker to drive to your mailbox).

Start small. Repurpose something in your house instead of buying something new. Refurbish something in your house instead of buying something new. Recycle something in your house and give it away instead of tossing it out because you don’t like it/don’t need it any more.

Use a smaller gob of shampoo in the shower (You only need a quarter size dollop. Can you believe that? I used to think you needed to COVER YOUR PALM. I wish I was joking).

Unplug an appliance you rarely use. Dude, it’s not that much of a hassle to plug it in again before you use it, and now you’re no longer wasting VAMPIRE POWER. Open your blinds/curtains. If you live somewhere warm, use the light strategically and tilt the blinds against the sun to keep the heat out, then when the sun shifts, open those blinds and tilt the other ones in your house.

Then, instead of driving to the mall or taking public transit (if you are doing this, I applaud you and wish I lived somewhere that recognized the importance of public transit and made it more accessible), take a walk around your neighborhood. Breathe in the place where you live, and breathe out good intentions.

You have to have a habitat!

3 comments:

Grace said...

I'm with you ALL the way on your switches...I felt so good when I sold my car. Rain or shine, I am on that bike to get wherever. The only thing I don't do is the Diva. Sorry, that one may take some extra incentive.

What are your plans for Kiddo's first Earth Day?

Emily said...

I can't believe you're diva cupping it! It's like INSTEAD but not! Is it compfortable? TELL ME MORE!

Rando said...

Love the song. This girl really knows the words.

I recycle and turn off the light not because I think it's going to make a difference, but because IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO! I HAVE MORAL COMPASS!