I have posted before about "going green". What it means for me and how you do it in our current age. I read up on what people are doing in local environments. Only buying local. Slow food movements. Self sustaining homesteads. There is a lot out there on what people do, believe and advocate for. I have found one simple rule for me. I find what is easy, makes a difference and is habit forming. If you make things too hard you wont follow through. You wont keep doing it and your long term difference will be less. Here are things I do to make my impact on the Earth less.
The basics: Never leave water running unless I have to (learned this as a kid from Sesame Street). Reusable grocery bags (I'm pretty sure everyone on the planet knows this). Napkins/Paper towels - I try to avoid them and use stuff that can be washed instead.
My simple tricks:
1. Slop bucket (compost). I have a bucket for all left over food on the side of the house. I feed it to our chickens or put it in the compost. It takes seconds to put left over Zooey breakfast or dinner or whatever in a bucket.
2. Bottled water bother the crap out of me. People buy so much bottled water as if water out of a tap or fountain is poison. The number of plastic bottles I see flying through the air or on the side of the road is amazing. Ever watch at an airport as people buy bottled water after bottled water and then toss the empties in the trash. I always travel with my own water bottle. If I'm in the car are flying you can bet I have a bottle that is empty that gets filled with local water. I also carry a collapsible cup in my purse for when I'm not traveling - but just out and about (it is a cool vintage one from the 70's). I have only bought 2 bottles of water in 2013 and I hope to not buy a single one this year!
3. I carry a collapsible grocery bag in my purse and one in the kiddo's stroller. I feel like I should never have to get plastic or paper.
4. My washing machine has something like 10 settings. One of them is super sterilize (which I used when the kiddo had a stomach bug). This setting takes 2.5 hours to run and uses more water than you can image. During normal laundry washing I only use the eco setting which is faster and doesn't use as much hot water. Are my clothes less clean? I don't think so.
5. I buy my shampoo and condition out of bulk pump containers from the local co-op. I use old shampoo containers in the bathroom (so of course the label is wrong - but who cares)?
6. I create a shopping list for Sunday mornings and we do the weeks shopping (menu is up on the calender in the kitchen). We use less gas, spend less money on crap we don't need and eat better.
7. Cancelled my news paper subscription. We read almost everything online these days and it was a waste.
8. Never drive around looking for parking spots. I am the person that will park in the next zip code and just walk. I do not circle parking lots looking for closer and closer spots. What a waste of gas, time, and energy. Just walk!
9. We never have more than one thing going. If the tv is on - the computer isn't. If the computer is on - the radio isn't. If the radios on ... well we dance. This gets broken often because of the TV in the garage that my husband leaves on - but in general it works.
10. If I can't buy local veggies and fruit (for whatever reason) - I look at the labels and pick stuff that was grown as close as possible. If my choice is California or Argentina - I pick California.
Do you have simple things that work for you?