Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

Earth Day and Arbor Day have come and gone. Not being either (1) a treehugger or (2) exactly like all the rest of blogland, I declined to write an earth-friendly post for those days. (I forgot too...lol)

Still, the topic is rather top-of-mind. I live in Oregon, probably the "greenest" state I've ever been to. (All the pot and hippie attire helps I think) Here, recycling is a given, farms and farmer's markets are everywhere...and they reserve the death penalty for littering. (Ok, perhaps I've stretched the truth a shade)

So, in the spirit of saving the earth for my children's children (and my opportunity for payback), here's my own family's list of ways we're being "green" - and ways we know we should improve but can't quite make work. Feel free to add you own thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

Being Green:
  • Recycling - Glass, most plastics, paper...all go out to the curb in our fancy recycling buckets. Aluminum cans get returned for 1/2-cent credit. Unless we get lazy and just chuck something in the trash.
  • Plastic bags - We reuse our plastic grocery bags often (those that didn't hold meats anyway). I bring lunch to work in one - and bring it home again. Cat litter is scooped into them. Extras are returned to the grocery store for recycling.
  • Gas - With our family of 6, we kinda have to own a gas guzzler. However, we recently purchased a small sedan for my commute to work - saving us 10mpg.
  • Energy - Despite complaints, our heat is set to 67 in the winter, and 72 in the summer. Our newish dishwasher rated well on energy efficiency, and our new washing machine is a front loader that's great on both energy and water.
  • Consumerism - We don't buy a whole lot, mainly because we're cheap. DVDs and books are primarily rented or borrowed from the library. Thrift store finds populate closets and rooms around the house - and outgrown/unloved items are donated to Goodwill on a monthly basis.
  • Food - We hit farmer's markets about once a week in the summer, and u-pick farms a few times each year.

Ways We're Dooming The Earth:

  • Recycling - Sorry, no compost for this household. (Eww) And as mentioned before, we miss some stuff.
  • Plastic Bags - We should probably use canvas totes or some such, I know. Still...have you ever bought groceries for 6 people? It would require 20 totes. Uh-huh, not doing that. I attempted to keep ONE in my car for small shopping trips - it was only used for garbage collection, and eventually disappeared.
  • Gas - We own an SUV. I don't carpool (work schedule too wiggly). No train to our little suburb.
  • Energy - Wow, this is a biggie. We have kids, and they leave LOTS of lights on. All the time. We also own a 10-yr-old dryer that probably needs to be replaced. Plus a ton of electronic equipment that is slowly trickling energy away. Our heat is gas-powered, we have A/C, and there are no solar panels on our roof.
  • Consumerism - We do buy SOME stuff. New sneakers, jeans without ripped knees. Wii games. Random toys, books we love.
  • Food - Most of our food is from the grocery store - we've flirted with the idea of a CSA for veggies and fruits, but can never remember in time to actually join. We buy McDonald's on occasion, eat pizza and ice cream and out-of-season strawberries.

So there it is...my 'confession'. Am I normal? Better or worse than average? I'd love to hear feedback on all of this!


UniqueNurseGranny said...

Great post.You are above average,I think and better than most with a family that size..

DreamON said...

Enjoyed your thoughtful comments. Very nice blog!

Anonymous said...

You don't sound like the happiest environmentalist o:)

Karma by Morgan said...

I think you are doing a fine job! You are clearly doing what you can. That is what is important. I live in the south where there are NO trains or subways. If there were, I would take them EVERYWHERE. Id love to have solar panels on our house, im leaving that one up to my dad. We try to leave the lights off all day and have a lot of energy efficient tvs and appliances. It is really nice out right now so the windows are open A LOT.

i think you are doing great :)

Sophie said...

I love this post, your insights are very thought provoking. It's difficult for me to manage the recycling in my house where I live with four other girls, but when Stuart and I get a flat, I'm definately planning on being more green

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