Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

Whenever Christmas rolls around, we talk about how the season of giving should be something we hold in our hearts year round. I think that Earth Day should be like that too - we should keep the Earth in our hearts and minds all year round.

Sure, a yearly reminder is a good thing, but what purpose does it serve if you only refuse Styrofoam take-out containers once a year?

For my part, here's what I've been doing or am going to do for the Earth this year

1. Taking the bus, walking or biking to work:
While I love being able to knit during the commute to work, I really missed my bike this winter. I did walk a few days when the weather was nice in February and March (yes, there were nice days), but I very happily started pedalling again on April 7th. Mr. Happy and I have grounded our car. With gas prices being the way they are, and with polar ice caps melting, driving our car makes us a little stomach sick.

2. Skipping the shower:
I'm sooooo crunchy granola. I don't shower every day but I do wash up. I'm not that crunchy!

3. Planting a garden:
Despite last year's dismal tomato crop failure, I am not discouraged. The tomato plants are going in containers. The garden will be getting some new soil, and hopefully, my "crop" will do well this year.

4. Taking my own containers:
A valuable lesson from a friend - we went out for supper a month ago and a friend brought along her own container for her leftovers. If you're the kind of person who can't finish your supper at a restaurant and hate seeing food tossed, this is a brilliant way to avoid the dreaded Styrofoam container.

5. Eating local & supporting local:
Mr. Happy and I do our best to buy local. The Farmers Market is a great way to that. Also, the Cuban store near our house stocks local produce. Talk about buying local! I go to Cubanos in my slippers!

6. Turning off the furnace:
The furnace is off today and was off for the better part of last week. Last year we turned the furnace off in May when we went on vacation. If we can keep the darned thing off from now until the end of October, we'll be laughing! If we build our passive solar heat panels, we'll be laughing even louder. Yes, it is cold in our house in October... and if you visit then, we won't turn the heat on for you - bring a sweater.

7. Changing the cleaning supplies:
I've switched all of my cleaning supplies over to Method. I've got their wood polish, window cleaner and dish soap. I'm keeping my eye on the company to make sure they are as legit environmentally as they claim to be. I'm still not a fan of their disposable wipes. I really don't think that companies should be marketing anything that is disposable. I don't care if it composts. I think that disposable is just another word for "crappy workmanship" or "we just don't give a shit". And making disposable products gives people an excuse to throw things away. If you can make something, why not make it reusable?

Every other cleaning product I might need can probably be made with vinegar and baking soda and perhaps elbow grease.

8. Paying attention:
I'm definitely not saying that I've got it all figured out. And I'm sure that there are other areas of my life where I am being wasteful. I'm going to try to pay attention to see if there are other things I can do to be kinder to the Earth.

There are areas that I can already see where I want to make changes:

1. Make-up:
While you may be cute with your freshly washed faces, I have dark circles under my eyes from my allergies. I'd like to find a company that makes earth friendly and face friendly products with recyclable packaging.

2. The lawn:
We have an electric lawn mower. I was joking with Mr. Happy about going all "Tim Allan meets Red Green" with it and attaching a solar panel to it. He said that the solar panel would have to be huge and something about blah-dee-blah and the blah-blah... I dunno... I think it can be done.

3. The house:
Needs more insulation... and a more environmentally friendly heating system. 'nuff said.
(It also needs a new deck, but that's a discussion for another day.)

Soooooo what are you doing for the earth?


  1. If you're talking about running the lawn mower real time off the solar panel, then no, that doesn't seem very practical. But, if you use the solar panel to charge a SLA battery (I think some lawn mowers run of these anyway)that might be doable. We sometimes run reference stations off of solar/wind power.

  2. We're doing some major renovations to the house to make it more efficient. New windows/doors, more insulations, fixing the leaking basement, etc...
    We also just downsized big time. We've significantly lessened our carbon footprint, and are working to make it even smaller.
    It's really nice to see we're not alone, and that others are doing so as well.

  3. I've replaced most of my incandescent lightbulbs with fluorescent bulbs. It seems a waste to just throw out working bulbs, so I'm just doing it as they burn out.

    When I go for groceries, I take a bag full of cloth bags to carry stuff home. Going for groceries is really the only time I drive on a regular basis, since public transit is spotty on the weekends.

    In the evening, I only have lights on in the room I'm in, or as few as possible if I have company.

  4. Great list!
    Although I wonder about the Method products?

    I use a local product - Down East http://www.bebbingtonindustries.com/down_east.html

    I also like Nature Clean they are Canadian as well.

    I carry a least one Sobeys reusable bag with me in my purse all the times.
    I don't own a car.
    My mower is electric. I did have a reel mower (a push mower) I’m sorry now I got rid of it.
    I doing a big house purge and giving away or selling things I don't need.
    I love my clothesline.

    Check out P'lover's (Spring Gdn Rd) they may have an option for your make-up.
    as well
    Planet Organic (Quinpool Rd)http://www.planetorganic.ca/ourstores/halifax

  5. okay - so i'm warming the planet more than the rest of you but i do hang my clothes on the line, compost and garden, catch a commuter bus to work (let's not forget that i live in rural NB 75K from fred'n so that is no small accomplishment) and i'm doing my best to take my shopping bags with me...
    check out physician's formula for enviro friendly makeup. i'm not as green as i should be, but i know that they have a number of international certifications.

  6. I've been using vinegar & baking soda to clean with...i love that theres not the toxic gaggy smell with the commercial chemicals! I love hanging my clothes on the line! I use the sobeys cloth bags...always keep them in the car. I try to buy less of everything!

  7. me doing nothing - I know horrible but it is true just being honest. I do all the little things that everyone does but nothing special.
    (recycle, lightbulbs, blah blah blah)
    can't get rid of the the vehicle since I use it at work (I got me some commerical insurance woo hoo), can't afford to buy a hybrid until I pay this sucker off, make up well - honestly with the amount I wear switching to something new will probably do more harm then good, cleaning products - I use method but not cause they are enviro - but cause I like them.
    I know I am horrible.
    blame global warming on me.

  8. Origins might be a good skin care option for you. Unfortunately, no one in Halifax carries it.




  9. H20 Plus makes excellent facial products (in containers that they recycle for you if you return) that are environmentally-friendly and cruelty-free. Try their Eye Bright cream ridding your eyes of dark circles and puffiness. Works great for me!

    Nice blog!