Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day confessions (sorry, Mama Earth)

Coming home on the train last night, I spotted a guy carrying one of those green totes made of recycled material. Good for him, I thought. Then he walked by and I peeked inside. The bag was packed with styrofoam plates, which are non-biodegradable. Meaning, they end up sitting around in landfills for basically forever.

Clearly, some of us mean to be green but aren't totally there yet—our family included.

A lot of our lightbulbs aren't CFLs (compact fluorescent lights), the kind that save electricity and energy. Also, we tend to leave lights on around the house. We get cases of bottled water from Costco, even though we have reusable SIGG and Nalgene bottles. We don't buy recycled tp or paper towels. We own a gas-guzzling SUV.

OK, those are our eco-sins. On the eco upside:

We recycle. We use natural cleaning products. We do online banking and get most of our financial statements online, so we're saving some trees. I unplug the coffee machine when we're done with it and the BlackBerry when it's finished charging (appliances that are plugged in when not in use are known as "energy vampires"). We keep the thermostat on the low side in winter. I take short showers and turn off the water while brushing my teeth, and I've taught the kids the same.

So, there you have it. We're doing some green good, but we could be doing more. I know this is A Really Big Deal—I want to leave my kids a cleaner, healthier planet. And if each one of us did a little bit, it really would make a huge difference.

OK, in honor of Earth Day, I'm going to toss a bunch of our old lightbulbs and put in CFLs.

Quick: How many bloggers does it take to screw in a CFL lightbulb? Two: One to screw it in, and one to write a post about it.

Do you think I missed my calling writing material for David Letterman?

Happy Earth Day, everyone.

What kind of green stuff are you guys doing?



  1. Ha! Love the joke. I could be better at greening it up, I know...little by little. It just takes real conscientiousness. (can u believe I spelled that right??)

  2. I don't mean to get on a high horse (cue clopping hooves sound here) but if you could cut out those disposable water bottles you'd be making a HUGE difference to the planet. And your wallet...and the refillable ones are SO MUCH COOLEr..maybe you could get Max a purple one... ;_) (and when you stop buying the disposable ones, you can climb up on my soapbox and tell your friend Hedy to stop too!)

  3. Ok Ellen!
    We do have CFL's in our house but I have to say.....feeding tube supplies could be a LOT more eco friendly! I think I have 10 million years worth of plastic decompression tubes and 2 oz syringes sitting in Faith's drawer! And don't even get me started on those throw away boxes of Boost Kid's....Four a day Faith is single handedly filling up her own landfill, at six! On the up side we do use those recycled bags....sometimes, when I remember. LOL!

  4. I tried to do the light bulbs but I'm just a little too sensory sensitive for fluorescents. Bring my own bags, use a sigg, and the best thing I do... let my friends bring their recyclables to my house because their trash haulers don't support recycling. After all, we must work together!!

    Happy Earth Day!!

  5. Poverty helps the whole "being green" thing! We use CFLS/turn off lights to keep the bill down--same with the heat! I was raised with "green" cleaning methods (vinegar, baking soda, left-over lemon/orange rind, newspaper) so that's just the way to do it, as far as I'm concerned--I can't believe how much they charge for stinky chemicals in the supermart! We do shell out for dishwashing liquid and detergent for clothes, but we use 'em sparingly! I have a pile of those supermart cloth bags--sometimes, though, I forget to throw them in the car and come home with plastic bags. I do like the cloth bags better--they hold more and the handles are more comfy! We have really good water where I live, so we drink it right from the tap. We have one of those little PUR faucet filters (it was a gift), but it's really not needed. Our car is O-L-D, but compact and good on gas, and we don't do that much driving anyway.

    Those CFLs have gotten so much better over the years--with a decent lampshade, you can't even tell the difference between them and an old-fashioned bulb. They say the next big thing will be LED bulbs, but they're still too expensive and too "blue" in terms of the light at this stage of the game.

  6. It really is all about the small choices that we make. I struggle with a lot of the same things that you do. I love the site Makes me feel good that even with the small stuff I do, it is worth it.

  7. we're pretty green at our house. CFLs, we recycle or compost almost everything, drive a hybrid, bring our own bags.. I live in one of the greener cities (Portland OR) in the world so it's the norm. What drives me crazy is the quality of big appliances & electronics these days. In the past 2 months we have replaced our dishwasher, lap top, DVD player & the motherboard of the fridge. Now our washing machine is acting up. Everything is less than 5 years old. My parents had the same pea-green kitchen appliances for 30 years until they recently remodeled their kitchen. It makes me feel so wasteful.
    @Candace - we recycle the Boost boxes (not the straw) They are Tetra pak & recyclable .. but maybe not where you live?

  8. We hang our laundry out to dry all through the summer. I love it! The kids help (most of the time) too.

  9. Very cute joke!
    Let me just say that today was THE WORST day for me to forget my reusable bags when I went to the grocery store. I think I caught a bit of sarcasm in the cashier's voice when she wished me a happy Earth Day.
    We usually use the reusable bags, but I do forget them sometimes. I try to cut down on packaging in Monkey's lunches by packing his food in bento - style containers (which are really fun for him, not to mention easy for a kid whose motor skills are weak in one hand). Each of us also has a Sigg water bottle. We walk and/or take public transportation when we can, but that's not always possible with all of our appointments. We do use CLF bulbs and have made Monkey Boy almost obsessed when it comes to turning off lights and appliances when he leaves a room.
    I am guilty of buying Monkey the organic, shelf - stable milk boxes, though. They're just so easy when you're always on the go - healthy, tasty and there's no risk of spoiling.

  10. Seems like we are all trying to do what we can. Sheryl, you are SO right about cutting out the water bottles! Especially since we DO own the refillable SIGG kind. Trixie, love what you said: "It really is all about the small choices we make."

  11. Nappies are my downfall: I have been supplied with free ones since she was 4 years old, and every two weeks I put out a dustbin full of them - almost everything else is recycled :)

  12. First of all, wanted to say I love your blog!

    I think that everything you do, no matter how small, helps. After reading your post and the responses, I am seriously considering hanging my clothes to dry this summer. I will look into it. I myself love using my cloth bags wherever I go (supermarket, Target, etc) and try to recycle, although I admit I could be better at it.

  13. I think sometimes it's easy to feel overwhelmed, just like other goals like eating healthier, or losing weight, or becoming more productive, going green is all about making better choices one at a time. They add up! Way to go!

  14. LOL with your joke :) I think that making a conscious attempt is a great step forward--we started with changing out our lightbulbs, and we kept making changes towards a greener lifestyle such a buying organic, cloth diapering, using reusable bags and bottles, etc.


Thanks for sharing!

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