Here is what we have done so far since July 20th:
- use reusable shopping bags
- switched to cloth diapers for our 20 month old son
- make my own laundry soap
- use only natural cleansers in the home; baking soda, vingar, peroxide...
- trying to recycle if I can only find where to take it (still working on this)
- purchased reusable sandwich and snack baggies to replace plastic bags
- use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins
However, after watching "No Impact Man" yesterday, I began to wonder just how far am I willing to go. Colin Beavan is the "No Impact Man". The project included Beavan, his wife and young daughter. Its a great documentary and I really suggest you watch it. They live in New York City in an apartment. They went through different phases during this project.
Basically they started with reducing their waste to no trash at all. Started a vegetarian diet. Shopping at their local farmers' market. Only eating foods that was grown from the local area. The project also went to the extreme. No toilet paper. Yup. Think of how many trees are cut down to make toilet paper. How dedicated are you? No power. They turned their power off at the 6 month mark and lived on daylight and candle. They used a solar power generator that mainly powered his laptop for his blog.
With such a change in lifestyle there were arguments and stress. Kuddos to Beavan and his family for going through this. His reason for the project was not to get everyone to go to such extremes but to think about what they can that actually works for their family.
I am not going without toilet paper. But maybe I can find a better brand to use. I really enjoy my electricity, but I will try to use less. I would love to shop at a local farmers' market but the closest one is 50 miles away. Defeats the purpose to save fuel. Oh... that's the other thing. They stopped taking fueled powered vehicles. No subways, taxis, etc. They rode bikes with their daughter in cart behind them. I can do that. I need to find a bike. But I can at least ride to the college for my class. I can get a seat for my son and drop him off at the sitter's house. Plus, my kids are always wanting us to ride bikes with them. And it will be great exercise.
I will say this. Those who live in larger cities where you have many things in walking distance... take advantage of it. In rural areas where everything is spread out there is a lot of driving. I find it kind of ironic that the big cities have these awesome farmers' markets. Everything in one place. Here in the small towns people set up road side stands. Its kind of hit and miss to find what you need or know who has what. I would love to eat more organic and local foods. During the summer its easy because friends have gardens but once fall comes around you are stuck with what the local grocer or Walmart has in stock.
Anyway, it all comes down to this. The movie got me thinking... that was the goal. What else can I do? Can I pass it on to others? Inspire others to be greener? I doubt I can ever go No Impact. I don't totally agree that Beavan was No Impact. He has had a huge impact on the environment in my opinion. Just this time its in a good way.
How far would you be willing to go?