Sunday, January 23, 2011

No Impact

One of my "To Do's for 2011"  ( I wished that rhymed) is to reduce my carbon foot print. Now, those of you who know me have seen my ride. My wonderful, comfortable, sweet 2005 Suburban does not a small footprint make. Nor does the almost 150,000 miles that I have put on my sweetie. Also, I live in a house that is old, really old with old windows that have bubble glass.

Now, I do a lot of things already to create less waste. I recycle vigilantly, buy local first and try to purchase the least amount of packaging possible. I bring my own bags, buy used books and trade them in over and over. I check books out of the library and have started a compost pile for my yard.  I am part owner of a consignment business and so I have a service for others to reduce, reuse and recycle AND a way to buy really nice pre-loved clothing for my own children. I myself am a huge fan of vintage, especially furniture and clothing. I try to make the new purchases smart ones.

My kids help out, too. They are big fans of " If it's yellow, let it mellow" and wearing hand-me-down's like it is their job. (It is actually). After a brief lesson on the pollution caused by consumerism, my oldest has carried only two backpacks to school since she was 3. The new one bought only because the old one was too small for the middle school work load. The fit that came with the enforcement of the new backpack, epic. She loves the earth, dammit!

But I don't feel that this is enough. I went to hear Colin Beavan speak recently and he inspired me to do more. He said " One person CAN make a difference". I really think that is so true.
  • One person started recycling as a cause in the 1970's and  now  millions of dollars are saved every year by using materials that already exist to make new items, which is much more cost efficient than using raw materials. 30% of Americans recycle at least  aluminum cans. 48% of Californians recycle.
  • How about the Green movement?  Many buildings are being created to use energy efficient materials and to use less energy. Chattanooga has one of the few movie theaters that is LEED certified. Less energy costs, means less money to run it, means  more profit. It makes so much sense.
How can I make a difference? 

I would love to say that I am giving up my car, but I am not. I would love to say that we can afford to replace all of our 26 windows. Right now, we cannot. However, for the third year in a row, I am buying nothing new for a designated period of time. The last few years it has been the month of February. This year, I convinced my shopaholic husband to join me. So, starting Monday, January 24th we will not buy anything new for eight weeks. This means, other than groceries, gas and normal household items like shampoo, soap and toilet paper, we will not be buying anything brand new.

It is actually weirdly rewarding to do this. I mean, I can find all kinds of new outfits in my closet and tools that we thought we lost. I just make a list of things I need for that time period (gifts, outfits, etc.) and get them before hand. Thriftiness and organization? Excellent side affects! Also, I realized last year that I sometimes shop to avoid other things like exercising or chores.  Self reflection is easy when you are not at the mall.

So, here's to reducing, reusing and recycling. If you see me and I am wearing the same shirt AGAIN, you know why.

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