Here it is folks! I've made it to my 100th post, and it's only taken me 7 months! This blog has been a great outlet for creativity and also to get back into writing, which is what I actually graduated with for my undergrad (I went back again to become a certified art teacher). I love that I can pick it up while SoJo is napping, and that it also serves as a kind of record of what I've been doing or interested in during my pregnancy and the first months of his life.
You've definitely seen a lot of green living posts around here, so that's why I've decided to post 100 tips for saving the earth rather than 100 things about myself. I am still a little leery about privacy and the web and identity theft, that sort of thing, so that's why I chose this instead. Also, when I was in 7th grade, this budding little environmentalist won an Earth Day contest for writing a poem about saving the earth. My prize was a book called "25 Ways You Can Help Save the Earth" so I thought I'd up the ante and post 100 ways, since I'm no longer in 7th grade and can handle more than 25. Boldfaced ones are things that I personally have to work on.
1. Buy Less Stuff! (considering gas and natural resources used to manufacture things, this is probably the most important tip). This video is pretty interesting.
3. Use cloth bags when shopping
4. Buy local foods (to reduce the gas used to transport them)
5. Buy organic
6. Walk if you can rather than drive (easy if you live in town like I do)
7. Substitute at least one meat-based meal a week with a vegetarian one. Go here to see why
8. Use phosphate-free laundry detergents
9. Shop for used baby items like toys and clothes
10. Support Freecycle by listing your unwanted items on there to find a new home rather than throwing them in the garbage
11. Take shorter showers
12. Stop using paper towels and use worn clothing scraps instead
13. Use cloth diapers, even on a part-time basis
14. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs when your incandescent ones burn out
15. Compost your kitchen scraps and yard waste
16. Grow your own food
17. Use organic or chemical-free health and beauty and baby products
18. Use organic or chemical-free cleaning products
19. Keep vinegar and baking soda in your home for natual cleaning (see my post from a few days ago). Borax is also a great eco-friendly cleanser.
20. Get rid of the clumping clay-based cat litters in favor of natural ones
21. Learn to cook so you can eliminate some or all pre-packaged convenience meals
22. Put an end to junk mail (see my post from a few days ago)
23. Hang laundry out to dry on a clothesline
24. Use dryer balls in place of dryer sheets if you can't hang your clothes out to dry
25. Set your thermostat higher in summer and lower in winter
26. Unplug appliances when not in use to prevent "vampire electricity"
27. Keep your car in good condition to maximize mileage...change air filter, inflate tires to proper levels, drive slower, etc.
28. Recycle old t-shirts into memory quilts or reusable shopping bags
29. Plant a tree
30. Plant drought-resistant plants in your garden to reduce watering. Lots of established perennials and geraniums work for me!
31. Nix the insecticides and herbicides. Vinegar is a good weed killer.
32. Take the stairs instead of an elevator (good for your body too!)
33. Consume less fish, since they are rapidly becoming over harvested. And fish farms are an environmental catastrophe. This article explains why. And this one guides you toward the best fish choices.
34. Don't buy bottled water. Instead, invest in a reusable, BPA-free bottle like Sigg ones.
35. Buy fewer disposable products like paper cups, paper napkins, and tissues (I haven't done tissues yet). Cloth napkins and handkerchiefs are your alternatives.
36. Switch to reusable baby wipes. I'm thinking of cutting up those small flannel receiving blankets and using them as wipes and washing them with my cloth diapers.
37. Wash clothes in cold water (I do this only sometimes...I use warm)
38. Patronize your local library for books which saves on paper, ink and shipping of new books
39. Wear clothes that don't need to be dry-cleaned. Dry-cleaning chemicals are bad for the ecosystem.
40. Get your junk out of the trunk (car that is, not your booty!) to avoid using more gas while dragging around heavy stuff (kids not included).
41. Close your car windows at high speeds and put on the air conditioner. The drag created by open windows uses more fuel than the air conditioner.
42. Use low VOC paints for your home
43. Fill your yard with flowers and veggies rather than a lawn so you don't have to mow. Better yet, fill it with native plants.
44. Check the weather stripping around your windows and doors and replace it if it's not sealing properly
45. Turn your hot water heater temperature down to 120 degrees
46. Fix leaky faucets and toilets
47. Read magazines and newspapers online if you can
48. Make your own art supplies like sidewalk chalk and play dough. Kids will love to help with this!
49. Use soy or beeswax candles rather than synthetic wax ones
50. Go for a walk or dance rather than sitting in front of an energy-consuming TV or computer
51. Wrap presents in newspaper or old maps
52. Learn some basic sewing skills so you can mend your clothes instead of buying new ones
53. Make sure your fridge is running properly (see my post on that)
54. Purchase recycled toilet paper if you can
55. Take a field trip with kids to the local landfill for an instant wake-up call. Hopefully it will open everyone's eyes to the saying "Reduce, reuse and recycle"
56. Compost your Christmas tree, if it's a real one. Our local Boy Scout troop collects them at the curb and chips them for free.
57. Buy foods with minimum packaging. It drives me crazy how many things marketed at children are so heavily packaged with plastic (think Lunchables)
58. Buy free-range eggs and hormone free milk. The little extra money is worth it when you consider how factory chickens and cows are treated and that all of those hormones and antibiotics are going into your body.
59. Switch to organic pet food
60. Make handmade gifts for birthdays and holidays. It can be as easy as a nicely presented bowl of pinecones collected on a walk, baking cookies or knitting a scarf.
61. When cleaning your hairbrush, consider tossing the hair outside so birds can use it to line their nests, rather than tossing it in the landfill. Or you could compost it!
62. Use natural dyes for dyeing Easter eggs
63. Make your own fruit snacks, rather than relying on ones made with artificial colors and flavors.
64. Join a food co-op to get local and usually organic produce when it's in season and at its freshest. You can find one near you via Local Harvest.
65. Be kind to bees! Encourage children to do so too, because they are very important to our eco system and are in danger of colony collapse.
66. Be kind to spiders. They help eliminate harmful and pesky bugs like ants. When anyone notices a spiderweb in her house, my mother-in-law tells them she's decorating early for Halloween!
67. Eliminate sandwich bags and plastic wrap. I need to make or buy one of these Wrap n Mats.
68. Recycle old batteries. You can find a local place here.
69. Eat brown bread rather than white. Find out why it helps the environment here.
70. Recycle CDs and DVDs rather than tossing them in landfills.
71. Buy Fair Trade products whenever you can. We have a great local store, Ten Thousand Villages that is inspirational.
72. Don't leave the faucet running while you brush your teeth (an oldie but a goodie).
73. Swap out your Teflon pans for cast iron or stainless steel. Here's why
74. "If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down" to save water.
75. Use baking soda and water to clean silver rather than using chemical-laden cleansers. I've heard olive oil works for stainless steel.
76. Get rid of chlorine bleach by using Borax, lemon juice, or sunlight instead. This is a hard one for me in the sink because we have an old white enamel one and Comet is the only thing that seems to work.
77. Grow your grass long, at least an inch and a half so that you don't get dried out spots and need to water it unnecessarily.
78. Take a shower every other day rather than every day.
79. Carry a reusable coffee mug to your local coffeehouse
80. When baking, try to maximize the number of foods that need to go in the oven. After your cake is done, throw in a Shepherd's Pie that you can later freeze for another meal.
81. Don't use chemical air fresheners. For a natural scent, simmer orange peel, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in a pot of water, or make your own potpourris with items collected on nature walks and essential oils.
82. Avoid buying really hard woods like teak which take a long time to grow and aren't so plentiful. Softer woods like pine are easier to raise.
83. Visit a car wash to clean your car rather than doing it in the driveway. Most car wash places recycle their water and you use less of it too.
84. Avoid buying balloons which make their way into the oceans and onto the land where animals sometimes ingest them, mistaking them for food.
85. Be wary of circuses and their treatment of animals as well as the methods in which they obtain their animals.
86. Don't feed ducks at wildlife preserves. Here's why.
87. If you can, breastfeed and do it as long as possible. Breast milk has no additives and you don't have to worry about packaging. If you do breastfeed, use reusable cloth breast pads rather than disposable paper ones.
88. Snip apart those plastic rings that 6-packs of beverages come in. Animals can get caught in them and die.
89. Make your own baby food. Less packaging and you can control what you put into it.
90. Consider cutting down your Christmas card list to save on paper and the fossil fuels that go into mailing your cards. You could always send e-cards!
91. See if you local garden center will accept the return of plastic pots that your plants come in.
92. Mulch your garden to conserve water
93. File your income taxes electronically rather than a paper copy. Same goes for paying bills (saves on postage and gas to transport the mail).
94. Unravel old sweaters that you don't wear anymore and use the yarn to knit or crochet. To get out the kinks, wind it in a big loop, dampen it, and hang it to dry with a weight on the end.
95. If you have a small yard, use a push mower rather than a gas one. When our hand-me-down mower goes, I'd definitely like one of these.
96. Turn out the lights when you leave a room (unless you'll be right back). Same goes for the TV.
97. Buy or make a rain barrel to catch rainwater for watering your plants.
98. Use recycled paper and recycle your paper. Write on both sides of it
99. Don't let your car idle for more than one minute.
100. Set a good example for your children of living an eco-friendly lifestyle! Pass it on!
Whew! That's quite a list!
Which ones have you tried or are trying to do or which seem entirely ridiculous? Is there a tip you'd like to add?
Stay tuned as I think I have a great giveaway lined up to celebrate my 100th!