The post in which I make you feel bad.

So, it's no secret that since moving to cali I've become even more of a crazy liberal hippie than I was before. I've started getting all into farmer's markets and reusable shopping bags and all that business. And compared to my life before I got here, I feel like I do a lot of things to make sure that I'm pretty sustainable. Unfortunately, some of those "How big is your carbon footprint?" online quizzes out there tell me that if everyone lived like I do, we would need 4.53 earths to sustain all of us. And, that makes me feel bad and wears away on me until I feel guilty and ashamed and take another step to do something else. So I figured if I put everything on the blog, maybe I'll feel even MORE guilt and need to start picking up the pace on all this business. But, I think we should start with the positives - what ways of life have Dan and I picked up AND stuck with since we moved? 1. Reusable shopping bags at the grocery store 2. Local, organic milk in reusable glass bottles 3. More local and organic food - everytime we need something new we try to make sure it's local (origin within 100 miles) and always organic beef, eggs and dairy 4. Buying in the bulk aisle - reuse the plastic bags, avoid packagaing and cheeeeaper 5. Plastic, Metal, and glass recycling (home and work) 6. Paper/cardboard recycling (including junk mail, and anything that gets shredded) 7. No car. (Whatever, it counts.) Lots more walking, biking and public transit (even to the airport people. I'm committed) 8. Non toxic household cleaners - we like Method a lot, and Mrs. Meyers 9. Composting! Hooray for Berkeley for having food scrap composting available. 10. Compostable paper towels and utensils 11. No plastic bottles. Ever. Sigg water bottles as replacement. 12. Unplugging certain appliances at night (power strips, etc.) 13. All laundry washed with cold water. 14. CFLs replace any burned out light bulbs (even in the fridge, which was strange at first, but it's ok now) 15. Using one side clean paper before recycling it. At work: 1. Encouraging staff to use one side clean paper for flyers, copies and in the printer 2. Making sure compost and recycle bins are available at events (still in progess) 3. Cutting down on paper use through online surveys, and evaluations 4. Buying post consumer waste paper products (as high percentage as possible) 5. Reusing everything possible 6. Not allowing any staff funding to be spent on plastic bottles at all. My staff cried about this for about 5 minutes before moving on. Honestly, right now after writing that list, I'm feeling pretty good about myself. But, I feel like I can do a lot more. I do know this is kind of a downward spiral, because there are always people that do crazy amounts more than I do for the planet and such. Not going to focus on that though. 1. Take the reusable shopping bags other places! No idea why I have such a block on bringing them to Target or whatever, but I always forget. 2. Taking shorter showers. While Dan was gone this week, I took the kitchen timer into the shower to try and time myself and...epic fail. I need to be better about this. Showers do not need to be so long! 3. More natural personal use products - lotion, shampoo, face wash, makeup, etc. 4. Kitty litter. mmmmk. So full of chemicals and badness. There are some compostable/natural ones out there that you can flush (seriously!) which are better for kitties and people. Need to look into. 5. Make at least one fully local meal a week. Which means... 5a.Get back to the weekly farmer's market - it is ridiculous that we aren't going every week when it is made so easy for us in Berkeley. We have at least 4 or 5 around that we can walk to every week. Our food should be more local, supporting the actual people who farm. Plus, this helps us eat what is actually in season! Also, buy more heirloom varieties. 6. Trying to cut down on ridiculous amounts of packaging. For example - last time we went to Costco, we bought a big thing of Ritz crackers, which was four boxes of Ritz inside another box. Ugh. 7. Buy compostable napkins and tissues 8. Continue finding out where my stuff comes from - I recently had a bad experience with eggs, thought I was getting free range eggs from happy hens anddd no. I need to educate myself more. 9. Unplugging more things when they are not in use (especially in my office) Long term goals: 1. Make own household cleaners for much cheaper 2. Learn how to can and preserve fresh local foods What are you doing to be more sustainable? Seriously, I need all the help and moral support I can get! If you're not doing anything, here are some links to start the feeling bad about that: Sustainable Dave - this guy is doing about 14 times more than me. and he's funny in his videos. Story of Stuff - fun video


ro! said...

so so crunchy!
i. love. it.

i do enjoy a good reuseable shopping bag. =]

Anonymous said...

Dear "Mother Earth"

Way to "pay it forward" ensuring that following generations have clean water, green grass, mountains, clean air (in CALIFORNIA??? hmmm) etc!! Those of us who study the earth applaud your efforts. If everyone made one change in their living habit to better our environment the earth would be much happier.
Don't be so hard on yourself, my little "tree hugger..." enjoy the day!
I love you MOM

Franklin said...

we have been using CFLs since the first week we moved in!

meghan said...

reusable bags. cfls. walking or bus when it involves school. green cleaners. paper recycling. cutting paper use in half at school. unplugging unused chargers, appliances.

of course there is always more to do, and if you feel limited consider this:

every month i buy carbon offsets to help lower my effect. it's not the perfect solution, but every bit helps.