Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Eco Challenge- How Green are You?

Living on the water has made me extremely aware of the effects of pollution on our planet. I know everyone is tired of hearing about it all and like me you probably feel helpless to do anything.

 However I just couldn't sit by and not do anything, so I have been researching ways to lighten my global footprint. The thing is, you can do something about it, by making informed choices in your purchases, by being mindful of your actions and by sharing your knowledge and being a good example to others. I have a long way to go but am consciously working my way to a lifestyle that allows me to sleep at night.

Today I found this list at the" Green as a Thistle" blog  where she shows 365 ways she greened her lifestyle, so I  decided to do something similar showing the changes I am making in my lifestyle to try and live a greener, more conscious life. I will be writing more in-depth posts on some of these changes and posts on greening your home one room at a time, but for now, here is my list .

 I challenge each of you to try and implement as many changes as you can. Your list will probably look different than ours with some overlaps.  If you have any suggestions or ideas to add to the list I would love to hear them. Small changes by many people can add up to a difference!!

                    My Eco List So Far
1. Using crochet dishcloths to clean up stuff instead of paper towels
2. Banning plastic from my life as much as possible
3. Switching to a wooden toothbrush
4. Switching to natural toothpaste with Neem bark ( a sustainable plant that provides protection against bacteria, plaque, inflammation, tartar and cavities, thereby preventing tooth decay.)
5. Switching to a bio compatible laundry soap
6. Doing laundry in cold water only
7. Hanging laundry to dry
8. If using a dryer, I never use dryer sheets or fabric softener
9. Buying second hand clothes
10. Repairing the clothes I have
11. Recycling old clothing into other clothes or cleaning cloths
12. Air drying my hair
13. Using bio compatible soap for all my washing needs (dishes, body, hair, house)
14. Don't shower on my days off unless I have something special planned
15. Using a hot water on demand system
16. Only heating my bedroom in the winter, I basically live in there,  and wear sweaters in the rest of the house
17. Using a composting toilet
18. Using those reusable shower cap looking- things to cover leftovers instead of saran wrap
19. Using cloth bags when shopping
20. Using glass water bottles and refilling them at home
21. Making all my bills electronic
22. Don't use any aerosol products
23. Canceled my TV satellite service
24. Downloading music as mp3's as apposed to buying Cd's
25. Replacing all my plastic kitchen items with non plastic from the thrift store
26. Using reusable gift bags when gifting people and wrapping with newspaper or material instead of giftwrap
27. Turning off all lights that I don't need on
28. Using low wattage bulbs (incandescent, I don't believe the florescent last longer and they have toxic mercury in them, making them hard to dispose of)
29. Read the news online ( don't buy newspapers)
30. Save any scrap paper for the fireplace or recycling
31. Recycle everything and anything I can, aiming for as little garbage as possible
32. Composting my cat droppings and the wood shavings they deposit in
33. Use hot water bottles in the winter to stay warm at night
34. Use my cell phone as my alarm clock
35. Only have a cell phone, no secondary land line
36. Use my cell phone's calculator ( no need to have a separate calculator)
37. Learning how to can my own food
38. Learning how to make my own wine
39. Carry a damp cloth in a baggy so I don't have to use paper napkins when eating out
40. Bringing my own chopsticks when eating sushi
41. Refusing all individually wrapped condiment packages (I tend to like my food plain anyway)
42. Dust with just a damp rag
43. Don't have a radio or TV on for background noise
44. Have all my energy vampire products on a power bar that I can shut off when not using them
45. Using natural products such as baking soda and vinegar to clean the house
46. Plan my errands so that I don't go out of my way or make too many trips
47. Always google map locations before I leave the house, so I don't get lost and waste gas
48. Save the cold water from the beginning of the shower waiting for it to warm up to water my plants
49. Reuse my vitamin bottles to store craft supplies  ( my bottles are see-through)
50. Almost everything in my home is second hand. With the exception of some electronics, personal care items and underwear, I try to free cycle or shop at thrift stores for all my clothing, construction  and household needs.
51. The stuff I don't want anymore I free cycle or donate to thrift stores
52. Using olive oil as a moisturizer
53. Eventual goal - to eat a raw food diet as much as possible. I am a long way from this but am definitely working on it, lots of sushi and fresh fruit these days.
54. Bringing my own hand towel to work, so I don't have to use paper towel when I wash my hands
55. Gently assisting unwanted insects from my home rather than killing them with insecticides
56. Leaving spiders alone so they can deal with all the other insects that do bother me
57. Picking up litter when I see it. I do this a lot at work, always cleaning up the parking lot. I need more exercise anyway, I think I will invest in one of those litter picker upper things and try and clean up the neighborhood as I go for walks.
58. Buy milk in returnable glass bottles
59. Buy fresh bread in paper bags, recycle the bags afterwards
60. Hang blankets in my doorways in winter to cut heat loss when only heating one room at a time
61. Use essential oil diffusers with beeswax candles or natural incense for odor control, shun all chemical sprays, parfums, plug-in's etc
62. Use natural crystal deodorant ( no chemicals and very little packaging)
63. Use reusable cloth pads and a rubber cup for feminine protection
64. Don't wear any perfume or artificial scents, the rare time I want to smell like anything other than soap, I will use essential oil based cream or lotion.
65. I avoid wearing sunscreen by covering up, sitting in the shade, wearing a broad brimmed hat and sunglasses, not tanning between 10am and 2pm and then in moderation
66. Save t-light tins and make my own using beeswax
67. Use rechargeable batteries and dispose of them correctly when no longer useful
68. Looking into small solar panels to charge up my phone, etc
69. Always looking for hand operated appliances and tools at thrift stores, garage sales
70. I quit smoking a year and a half ago, so no more butt litter, air pollution or plastic lighters
71. Use matches or refillable metal lighter if I need fire
72. If using a dishwasher, I never use the heat cycle but crack the door to let stuff air dry
73. I collect acoustic instruments for company to play
74. I collect used board games for more fun without electricity
75. Instead of handing out business cards, I get people to take a picture of mine with their cell phone
76. If I do hand out business cards, I make them magnetic ones so people keep them as something useful.
77. I use a propane stove to cook on
78. I don't use non stick cookware (except for my rice cooker which came with a non stick liner)
79. I try to never use snail mail if at all possible. Correspondence is online, bill paying online
80. I never buy any clothing that requires dry cleaning or ironing
81. I buy recycled toilet paper that hasn't been bleached
82. No more paper plates and plastic cutlery for parties. Life is not a dress rehearsal, use the good stuff
83.I don't use a fridge in the winter, my unheated kitchen is cold enough to keep food fresh
84. Use wood shavings from the neighbors work shop for compostable cat litter
85. In the summer I keep the windows and blinds closed during the day and open at night to cool the house
86. I set my work hours to be outside of rush hour so I don't spend time ideling in traffic
87. I check my car air pressure daily for optimum performance
88. If I don't have to go anywhere, I will stay in my pajamas all day and save on the excess laundry
89. I make my own popsicles from fruit juice
90. My hair is dry so I can get away with moisturizing daily but only washing it once a week
91. I use a metal shaver with replacable blades
92. Buy a live Christmas tree and plant it afterwards
93. Make organic ornaments for the tree( some examples are dehydrated fruit slices, popcorn and cranberry strands, decorated pine cones)
94. Buy in bulk and store it in large glass jars
95. Prefer to use a broom or carpet sweeper over a vacumn cleaner
96. Use a string mop and hot water to wash floors, rarely use a cleaner unless neccesary
97. Reuse the same glass for water throughout the day, instead of dirtying a new one each time
98. Voting for the Green Party
99. Making sure I don’t pour grease down the drain.
100. Borrowing and sharing things I don't use often
101. Soaking my dishes overnight so less water is needed to clean the tough stuff off
102. Setting my desktop wallpaper to black, which uses less energy

Some things that I haven't done yet, but would like to implement in my life include:

Installing a shower water recycler so I can have long showers without feeling guilty about wasting water

Making my own toothpaste that doesn't contain flouride or glycerin. I would like to try this recipe

Flavorful Tooth Soap Recipe

Combine the ingredients listed.
1. 1 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner's castile liquid soap (can be ordered from drbronner.com)
2. 5 tablespoons of coconut oil
3. 1 tablespoon of olive oil
4. 10 -- 12 drops of orange oil
5. 10 -- 12 drops of peppermint oil

Read more: How to Make Tooth Soap Recipes | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4694444_make-tooth-soap-recipes.html#ixzz1TAZyvjFo

I also want to try crushed strawberries, aloe vera gel, and powdered neem bark in some combination.
This is my own idea after doing lots of reading on the benefits and disadvantages of various ingredients for cleaning the teeth. Most recipes recommend baking soda but other reports claim that baking soda erodes the teeth. Another ingredient commonly listed is glycerin, however from what I understand, glycerin coats the teeth and prevents them from reminerilizing. Fluoride is touted as preventing cavities but it has been proven to make teeth more brittle and prone to damage as well as being a carcinogen. Neem bark powder, is a natural harmless ingredient that can...
  • prevent and heal gum disease,
  • prevent cavities,
  • eliminate bacteria that cause cavities and inflammation of the gums,
  • prevent bacteria from adhering to your teeth (reduce plaque),
  • enhance mouth immunity in general,
  • and through all this freshen the breath.

Green my transportation. One of the things that really bothers me, is my dependence on my vehicle. In a sense I feel I am somewhat green with it as it is over 25 years old, so I can say I am not wasting resources by getting a new model constantly. However, that being said, it is over 25 years old so not the most fuel effecient or clean running.  Mostly I just wish I could park it. Because of where I live and where I work, taking buses would be a huge hassle with long walks to the nearest bus stop, long waits, many transfers etc and definately not doable when I have to lug my massage table or bags of groceries.

Ideally, I would like to live close enough to work and a grocery store that I could walk there easily. I would like to have an electric scooter for running around and eventually an electric car for the times when the weather is inclement ( we live in a rain forest, it's like that alot!) All in good time I guess, for now, all I can do is try to plan my travel needs to waste as little gas as possible and not drive unneccesairly.

Eat locally grown food. Actually I wish I could produce my own food, that would even be better.Until that time though, I feel I could definately be taking better care to buy produce from the local farmers and fish from our docks, rather than buying unripe foods trucked in from thousands of miles away by big box stores. I don't know if I could follow a strict one hundred mile rule ( only eating food produced within one hundred miles of where I live) as some things such as rice, flour or olive oil might be hard to source and I'm not sure I'm ready to do without them, but I could sure work on doing it as much as is feasible.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment, Rhianna

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