Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging to bring you Blog Action Day 2009! I read about this on another site and had to participate! What more appropriate topic than Climate Change. If you want to know more about Blog Action Day, click on the pic!

There are so many easy ways to help reduce one’s negative impact on the environment. Unfortunately most people won’t or simply don’t do anything. And I live with one. Everything I do, which I will go into detail about, he has some complaint about. It gets annoying!!!

One thing that I have done for as long as I can remember is recycling. My parents would have a separate bin for whatever we could recycle. For a while all they could set aside was pop cans. Then we would take trash bags full of crushed cans down to the recycling place and get some money for them which went toward the next pack of pop. Now they can recycle paper, some plastics, glass, and cans as part of curbside recycling. When I was in college I would set aside the recycleables and either take them home with me or take them down to the bins provided in the dorms. Now we have a separate small trash can for recycleables. I’m thinking of getting a bigger one to keep in the garage that the smaller one can be emptied into. Here in Columbus we can recycle all types of plastic, paper, metal, and glass. So it all goes into recycling. But I am responsible for taking care of it. I have to put it into the bags and take it down to the recycling dumpster or else he’s threatened to simply throw it away.
It’s amazing how much goes into the recycling! Especially the plastic. Recently I have been reading up on various ways to reduce the amount of waste we produce. As good as recycling is, it still takes energy to turn those old pop cans into new pop cans. So now I take some Green Bags with me to the store when we go shopping and use those for produce instead of using the bags they provide. There’s no weight difference and they reduce not only the amount of bags used and recycled, but the amount of bags used period. They’re also reusable!
Another thing that I’ve been doing for years is using reusable shopping bags. I have reusable bags for at least 8 different stores in the back of my car. Most stores have multiple bags. I figure why not? It shows support for reusable bags, and helps me not need plastic bags anymore. One thing I picked up from my mom was when we would go to Aldi for groceries, she would use a plastic crate and a few of their reusable plastic bags for the groceries. I do it now as well. The only thing anyone has said to me about it is what a great idea it is. And again, reduces the amount of bags used and reusability!
One little project of mine is saving Tazo tea bottles for use as other things. Right now I have a bunch of bottles just waiting for use. Two are in use right now as “shampoo” and “conditioner” bottles. The others I figure I can use as storage for dry goods like beans and grains as well as dried herbs and fruits. Again, less into the recycling, less that needs processing.

Turning off the lights and unplugging appliances when they’re not being used is another easy thing for people to do and they don’t. It’s always been a rule when you’re growing up to turn off the light when you’re not in the room. But what if the room you’re in has multiple lights on but you’re not using them all? For example, our bathroom has lights over the sink as well as a light near the shower with a fan as well. When I take a shower or am cleaning or doing anything for any length of time in there, I only have on the light I need. My fiance on the other hand insists upon having both sets on even if he’s only needing one set! He also likes to leave lights on in a room he just left saying that he’ll be right back. It doesn’t waste energy to turn the light off and then back on again!!
I am constantly unplugging things that aren’t in use. If my computer is off, the entire power strip also gets turned off to keep that phantom power from going through. I plug the toaster in, make my toast, and unplug it again. I’ve even got my friends only plugging in their bottle warmer when they need it. Now, I realize not everything can be unplugged like this. Our TV, VCR, DVD player, PS2, and antenna converter box all are constantly plugged in or else they’d lose their programming. But simple things like lights and small appliances can be unplugged when not in use.

I have one more way and then I’ll go. What you buy has a major impact on the environment and, in turn, on the climate. When you chose to get the Tide instead of the Seventh Generation because it’s cheaper, that’s sending a message. It’s saying that you’d rather have the cheaper, chemical-laden product instead of the slightly more expensive but better for the environment, both in chemical make-up and production, product. I am working on ridding chemicals from my life. My cleaning supplies for around the house consist of baking soda, white vinegar, Borax, and some Dr. Bronner’s castile soap. I use bamboo cloths, loofah, an old toothbrush, and rags made out of old t-shirts instead of paper towels and plastic scrubbers. My Swiffer has been replaced with the broom and dust pan and a Libman Wonder Mop. I would like to replace the laundry detergent with homemade detergent, but I cannot find all of the ingredients so I will probably get Seventh Generation. Our color-safe and chlorinated bleaches are being replaced with Seventh Generation’s chlorine-free bleach.
But my overhaul does not end there. I am making great progress in my personal care items as well. My shampoo has been replaced with baking soda and apple cider vinegar and I am following the no-poo method of hair care. My body washes will be replaced with Dr. Bronner’s when they run out. My face scrub and night face creme has been replaced with Burt’s Bees products. My face wash has been replaced with a 5:1 solution of water and Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree castile soap. My deodorant will be replaced with either Burt’s Bees or homemade deodorant. My toothpaste will be replaced with a natural product (probably Tom’s of Maine). I have even gotten rid of my plastic shower poof in favor of a washcloth.
Food is the third way to show that you want to have less impact on the environment. Buying food that hasn’t been processed and added to within an inch of it’s life is not only better for the environment, but for yourself as well. More and more studies are showing that the Standard American Diet or SAD is possibly the worst in the world. We rely so much on being able to simply heat up food or stop by somewhere and pick it up that we are losing valuable nutrition in the process. Going completely organic is obviously the best for all concerned because there aren’t all those pesticides and fertilizers getting in your food, the ground, and you. But simply chosing to eat whole foods and making things from scratch will improve not only your health, but the health of the environment. The best way to buy produce is locally at a farmer’s market or straight from the farm. More and more, stores are carrying local foods. Places like Whole Foods will even tell you in miles how far it traveled to get to the shelf. The closer to where you live, the better! Because that also means less miles went on the vehicles to get the food to you. Another plus for the environment!

So, basically there are 3 things everyone should do to help out the environment, and in turn help the climate. 1)Follow the Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), 2)Use less energy (turn off and unplug!), 3)Shop green and naturally (less chemicals and smarter production, eat whole and organic foods. That about sums it up. I’ve gone into a most of these subjects already in my blog and there’s still much more to come.

See ya later!

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