Cheesy, I know. But, we live here everyday, so why not work to do our best on a daily basis? Seems pretty obvious to me.
The thing about Earth Day is that it comes at just the right time. Here in Upstate New York, things are FINALLY starting to look and act like spring. (Heck, a couple of weeks after the first day of spring, I read a spring book to pre-K kids who were awfully confused by the fact that we were having a blizzard out the window.) We've had some crocus flowers and now even daffodils pop up around my foundation garden (I didn't plant these, so it's neat to see what's going to come up), the birds are swoopin' and chowing down on our bird feeder, which serves two really good purposes; the first is obvious, bird-feeding (duh), but the second is indoor kitty entertainment. Beardslee never "chirps" at them, but he does enjoy just watching them, but Winston and Jasper are all about using their "hunting" voices. Maybe we're just torturing the guys with the thought of a fresh birdie meal that will never be, but they seem to enjoy it...and it keeps them from hunting each other!
And we've even had a couple of 60+ degree days; not many, mind you, but beggars can't be choosers! I'm only bummed that we haven't been able to get outside and enjoy (ie do major yardwork) them; the weekends have reverted to winter-like temperatures and/or rain, so with the forecast for Saturday looking damn near perfect, I'm chomping at the bit to slather up the monkey and get him crawling in the grass!
Anyhoo, back to the topic! (See what happens when it's sunny? Hello, wandering mind.) Here are a few of the things we do on a daily basis that help keep us in the green (in more ways than one, even!)...
- Cloth nappykins! (Yes, I call them that.) A couple of years ago, we grabbed a pack of white cloth napkins which are still going strong. Sure, the hubs wipes his super saucy hands on them more than I'd like (but, hey, isn't that what they're there for? Give up control, woman, life isn't perfect.), but with the occasional extra soak in some non-chlorine bleach, they're ready to go. I'm going to keep my eye out for a new set soon, though, and maybe some cool patterns to help hide stains (and hopefully so that guests don't look at them like, "Ohhh, fancy, are we?"). Oh, and we buy the 3-pack of recycled product paper towels for those super messy times, but even then we only have to replenish them maybe every 3 or so months. Not bad!
- Water usage. This has been an easy, from-the-start saving for us since my stepdad put in a low-flow toilet when we first moved in (push the flusher a bit longer if you want more water) and we have a low-flow showerhead that helps, too. Now, one day we'll be sure to get an Energy Star washer and dryer. Baby steps!
- Num-nums. AKA Grub. We've recently made the jump to flexitarianism -- read: Week-Day Vegetarianism. This choice comes from several places for us: 1) a moral standpoint (not a fan of the way most animals are treated), 2) a health standpoint, and 3) an ecological standpoint (the processing of beef uses SOOO much energy, y'all!!! Now, if only cheese could be produced more ecologically...). Also can't wait to get my garden goin'!
- Cleaning products. I've got one bottle left of a "Fantastik" (which is on some weird "Greenlist" but still doesn't seem very eco-friendly to me) that I'm using up, but otherwise our products are as natural as we can get 'em. We're big castile soap fans -- Dr. Bronner's and what not -- which covers a TON of areas when it comes to cleaning. Gotta love an item that does double (and triple) -duty!
- Beauty products. While I haven't done my baking soda and vinegar no-'poo "shampoo" treatment (it was a pain with all the bathroom work being done), I plan to go back to it when the dust (literally) settles. For now, we still use eco-products, from Tom's soap and toothpaste to Burt's Bees shampoo. I've still got a closet full of half-used lotions and stuff that I just can't find a use for, so ANY suggestions would be great! I don't think it's right to donate them to a women's shelter if I've used even the slightest amount.
There are, of course, some areas that could stand some more greening. I'm calling this summer the "Summer of Cloth Diapers." It's been tough to even be a part-time CDer (we don't want to throw one more thing at the sitter
We're also returning to our composting, which I'm pretty darn excited about. The only concern that I have is what to do during the winter, but we'll jump off that bridge when we get to it. ;-)
So, this Earth Day, I reflected on what we're doing well and analyzed what we can work harder on. It's not a competition here, folks. Every little bit helps. If we could afford a nice plot of land with a sweet, lil' old house that we could eco-tize (made that up!) and go off the grid altogether, gosh darn it, we'd do it! But, it's not about the money. It's about what we can do on a daily basis to lessen our impact, but also to remember not only to work to save our planet, but to LIVE on and ENJOY the place, everyday.
If you didn't celebrate Earth Day this year, that's okay! Just get out there and celebrate TODAY. If it's sunny, enjoy it! If it's warm, be grateful for it! Look around for those little moments of life (birds singing, grass getting green, sunshine shining...okay, sun isn't living, but it helps things to live) that you may otherwise miss. Let's all work on celebrating every day on Earth, rather than just one day.