Have you watched "An Inconvenient Truth"? I had to turn it off after about an hour because I couldn't really handle it any more. This is why my Netflix list is all comedies, people. Still, Misha and I talked about our wasteful lives and what we want Lara to see us doing as she grows up and starts to ask questions. So on top of the new food pledge, and the no new clothing pledge, we are instituting a home-greening pledge. I've been very inspired reading about the example of Colin Beavan and his family, who are living a net-zero carbon footprint year that includes no electricity, no buying anything new, and no generating any garbage at all. Oh and did I mention they are doing this in Manhattan? And they have a two-year old and a dog? Read more about them at No Impact Man. I don't think we can go whole hog like that, but maybe the fact that I've posted about it on the blog will actually make us follow through.
I'm aiming for small, incremental changes. Here's what we've done so far to give you a sense of what I mean:
- Recycling! Of course!
- Unplugging instead of just turning off devices not in use. You know how your phone charger stays warm even though your phone is not plugged into it? That's because it's actually still drawing electricity, constantly, while plugged into the outlet. We've put pretty much every device on a power strip that can be turned off with a switch. I've noticed about a ten dollar drop in our power bill every month. Plus, the harder the TV is to turn on, the less of it I watch.
- Turning the thermostat way up. We're way too tired running around after Lara all day to be kept awake by a higher temperature at night.
- Using paper towels as a last resort.
- Switching to Trader Joe's non-toxic dishwasher detergent and dish washing liquid. The more I read about what's in everything the less I want Lara eating it.
- Buying local, organic produce.
- Driving as little as possible and taking public transportation or walking when we can. Lara loves - nay LOVES - the bus, and how would I ever have found this out otherwise?
Changes we're considering in the future.
- Switching to Seventh Generation diapers, which are not bleached with chlorine and thus do not add dioxin to the environment. I'm pretty intrigued by the cloth diaper option, but I'm not sure I can go there quite yet. Then again, if we switched to cloth diapers, we would no longer need to consume plastic bags - a current necessity that I can't figure out how to get rid of.
- Even more responsible and minimized consumption - buy more things second hand, and consider seriously the need-to-want ratio of any new item. I do have to say that this one melds nicely with the turned off TV. I find that the less TV I watch the less I want things. Seriously, I can't believe how much effect advertising has, even when you KNOW what's it's doing!
- Switching to all non-toxic cleaners. I'll do this when the ones we have run out. There's a fine balance between green and non-wasteful!
- Switching to efficient light bulbs (likewise, when the ones we have run out).
We're always open to other suggestions!