It's Good to be Green

This post is dedicated to my husband, who is completely paralyzed by has some mild anxiety about the environment -- and how we are affecting it. This is a topic that, for us, has been escalating in recent years, probably because it's so widespread and talked about now... everything is going green. And so are we. (Just not fast enough to save my poor husband from thinking desperate thoughts at times.) It seems like the more you learn, the more horrified you become, really. And it can feel downright disheartening at times.

But things are being done. Sure, they are little things, but little things add up. (There's a reason I talk about baby steps here all the time!) And at the end I'd love to get your tips, dear reader, on little things you've done that help make a difference. Because I'm sure we're just scratching the surface, and you all are usually chock full of awesome ideas. So help Colin feel less anxious by leaving a tip or two. hee. :)

Here are some basics we're doing, Colin (it's nice to see them in one spot, isn't it?):

- We take our own reusable bags to the grocery store. This is so easy to do and saves lots of plastic bags. We use 3 giant IKEA bags we got at our shopping trip there (which are made from recycled goodness).

- After I wrote this post, I realized how solidified my view was and we finally made the full out switch to organic, biodegradable cleaning products. (We use Method because you can easily pick them up at Target. Plus they smell good.)

- For other cleaning ideas, I got this book from the library and have started using lots of those tips regularly. (example: cleaning/clearing drains with a mixture of baking soda, vinegar and boiling water.)

- We went vegetarian.

- We drive a fuel-efficient car (and have plans to trade both of our cars in when our lease is up and switch to one Prius or some other hybrid to share). Also along these lines: we save up errands and run them all at once and plan out a time and energy saving route.

- We buy organic food.

- We buy local when we can.

- We don't turn up our heat and opt for sweaters and blankets instead. (Or two pairs of socks and pants in my case.)

- We almost always buy used/thrift. Or we just use what we have. (I heart thrifting!) ... (We just got a fancy Christmas tree stand for $3 at a local thrift store, and I found a really awesome easel at the Habitat for Humanity Restore for $55!) And in the same line: we give to thrift stores and therefore simplify what we own while hopefully giving someone else something they'll love.

- We use cloth napkins instead of paper. (Cheap cloth napkins found thrifting, of course.)

- We dry clothes on the line when weather permits.

- We purchased an energy saver washer and dryer when the ones that came with our house went ca-put (and we recycled those).

- We recycle. (duh, but hey, it's gotta be on the list, right?)

- We use the same bath towel all week long (this may be gross to some people, but it works for us.)

- We are the stinky kids who only shower every other day (and take quick showers unless covered in mud).

- We stopped junk mail. (thanks to real simple)

- We stopped almost all magazine subscriptions and instead read magazines at the library.

- We use the library instead of buying books, when possible. And try to buy used books too (plus, it's cheaper).

- We try to give handmade or fair trade gifts.

- We are purchasing less by being content with what we have. (although, I did need those new jeans because my other pair had a hole in the butt... which I plan on patching when I get a patch on our next errand trip. Thanks for noticing Alison! hee)

- We switched some of our bulbs to CFL (not all though cause they are just not as pretty), and turn off lights when not in use.

- We are conscious of the plastic we consume and buy natural materials where possible. (This woman has sworn off plastic completely! Wow!)

- We stopped getting the newspaper, and instead opt for news online.

- We use rechargeable batteries.

- We turn off water when brushing our teeth (hey, little things add up!)

- We buy recycled goods at the grocery store. (toilet paper, packaging, etc).

- and lastly: we are planning to start composting. (does planning count?)

Um, that's all I can think of right now (and that took me long enough that now it's late and I'm tired). So I'm going to end it there and open it up to comments... do you guys have some tips on green living? If so, please do tell!

Oh, and here are two green links I love: Planet Green and Worsted Witch (who turned me onto Planet Green).

See Colin? We are not just sitting idly. Do you feel any better yet?