I don’t know if it’s been the “liberalization” of me over the past four years, or the fact that you can’t turn on the television or read a newspaper or magazine without being hit over the head by it, but within the last year or so I have found myself becoming very environmentally conscious. I mean, in many ways, I have always been a bit on the “green” side; my family has recycled for as long as I can remember, and waste in our house was discouraged, to a degree. However, lately, I feel as though the green side of me as really emerged and taken over, so much so that I am incorporating it into many aspects of our daily life. I’ve started keeping a tally of how J and I are doing our part to live in more earth-friendly ways, and I gotta admit, our list is rather long:
- The latest appliances we purchased are energy-star appliances (meaning they use less energy), and in addition, our washer is a front loader, which uses far less water than a typical top loader.
- We recycle almost everything we can (although I think we could do better when it comes to the paper products).
- We use a Brita to filter our water and use reusable water bottles so we don’t have to use plastic water bottles (meaning we cut back on plastic both in the bottle and in the packaging).
- I use microfiber cloths (which are reusable) to clean instead of paper towels (and they work a lot better, too!).
- Instead of driving the almost-new, smooth-driving, comfortable Pathfinder with a working air conditioner and CD-player, J takes the 9 year-old, bumpy Altima with no air conditioning and a non-working CD player to work because his commute is 30 miles each way. The Pathfinder gets about 22 miles to the gallon while the Altima has been averaging well over 32. We usually drive the Altima when it’s the two of us, too.
- I wash all our clothes in cold water (saves oil for the boiler).
- I’ve become really interested in organic cleaning products that are natural and safe for the environment (my new favorite is Citrus Magic).
- I buy local produce to cut back on packaging and shipping (it tastes better too!).
- I try to buy things in bulk to cut back on packaging. For example, I buy organic yogurt, and instead of getting it in individual containers, I buy one large container for re-use.
- We use the compact florescent light bulbs.
- Unless we really need it, we keep the air conditioner off and cool the house with open windows/doors and ceiling fans (it works, for the most part, except on really hot days).
- We use re-usable nylon bags for grocery shopping instead of those pesky plastic bags.
There are also some changes we are planning to make in the future. The big one is another car. With me driving to Milton every day starting in a few weeks, taking the Pathfinder would be negative both environmentally and for our wallets. So we have talked about getting another car that gets better gas mileage, and we have even discussed perhaps getting a hybrid. While I’m not sure if we’re both leaning 100% in that direction right now, we both, I know, are thinking LESS GASOLINE, whether monetarily or environmentally.
I know that being “green” has become trendy, but honestly, it is not why I am doing it. There are many reasons why: the re-usable grocery bags hold more food; the organic cleaning products smell really good and work really well; driving the Altima is a lot cheaper at the gas pump; you can haul a lot more water in my 32-oz Nalgene bottle . . . However, when it comes down to it, I figure that the efforts we are making are a) not that difficult and b) are doing more harm than good, right? I’m not trying to be “trendy” when it comes to my greenness. I am honestly trying to make the world a better place in the ways that I can. And it just so happens that I get more gas, better-tasting fruits and veggies, and a cleaner home out of it (to name a few). And perhaps a world that is just a little bit better.