Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Smaller Footprint

I just finished reading an article about the importance of reducing our carbon footprint. As the population of the world increases, the strain on resources grows greater. Are we in danger of collapsing under the weight of our own "progress"?

We are sometimes good environmentalists and sometimes, lazy environmentalists at our house.

The good:
  • hot water heater seat on moderate (a genuine sacrifice as I prefer my shower hot enough to scald off a layer of skin) and cold water washing machine use.
  • Lights off! Our house gets enough natural sunlight that we don't need to turn on any lights until it gets dark. Rob is great about going behind everyone and making sure we turn everything off, but that MIGHT be as much about money as saving the earth.
  • Drying rack. I have not used my dryer AT ALL this week. If Bob the Wonder Dog wouldn't snatch the clothes of a clothes line, I'd love to install a one of those umbrella style outdoor racks. Our summer heat would have a load dry in no time!
  • Recycling. The kids help sort the plastic, cans, paper etc. for the recycling center. We don't have curbside pick-up, but we live less than a mile from the recycling center. Our trash to recycling ratio is probably about 50% now.
  • Keep the clunker going! Changing out cars frequently (even for more energy efficient ones) adds some size to the old footprint. We have managed to keep Rob's 1997 truck going with some mostly minor repairs and a little duct tape for the seats (how redneck is that)!
  • Consolidating errands. Three days a week, I drop the kids off at school and just continue on to work instead of going back home and leaving for work an hour later. That saves 10 miles per trip or 30 miles per week. We combine errands so that we drop the kids off for one activity and do the grocery shopping while they are occupied for an hour (this is less stressful than shopping with two kids, so BONUS), which also saves a trip.


  • Home Garden. A giant FAIL last time I attempted it. Trying to maintain an organic garden against the onslaught of bugs and weeds was more than I could do. I had every intention of attempting it again this year, but didn't get my act together in time. Thinking about doing an above ground container garden for tomatoes and okra on the back porch as a compromise. The Farmer's market is open on Saturday morning, but is the 14 mile round trip. Our grocery shopping is done on Sunday, so that adds to our gas total.
  • Grocery store packaging. I find myself really frustrated with the grocery buying. I can manage to buy unpackaged fruit/veggies for the most part: bananas, cucumbers, tomatoes, cantaloupe (but not the blueberries or strawberries), but it seems that the bulk of what we buy is packaged and then packaged some more! Yogurt, cheese, crackers, tea bags, bread, meat.... all packaged and then shrink wrapped for good measure!
  • Reusable shopping bags. This would seem to be the easiest thing of all... but I always forget the bags!
  • Clothing. Trying to find locally made clothing is almost impossible! Every label I read says: "Vietnam" or "China" on it!
  • You all know I ADORE my kindle. Is it really more sustainable to purchase ebooks than paper books? We have LOTS of things that plug in: ipad, kindle, PC, laptops... is the balance in raw materials vs. electricity usage really balanced? Abby absolutely loves to facetime with her friend Imogen in Australia! I doubt she is willing to give that up.

1 comment:

Aunty Evil said...

I love my clothesline. I love seeing my washing out there drying. Perhaps it's time to tie the dog up so you can use yours?

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