Tuesday, 12 June 2007

A Few Good Things

Gord and I have been doing a few good things lately to lighten our footprint on the earth. We are by no means even close to what No Impact Man and his family are doing, and we have a long way to go before we even get close to what the Austerity Rioters have started, but we're doing not too bad in terms of Crunchy Chicken's Low Impact Week goals. Here are a few of our good things:
  • Using our own cloth bags when we buy groceries.
  • I'm using a Diva Cup.
  • Unplugging as many of our appliances as we can when we're not using them (e.g., toaster, cell phone charger, rarely used lights, clock radios).
  • Turning off one light if we turn another one on.
  • Changing as many light bulbs as possible to CFLs - will change more when we can buy the proper sized bulbs for our other fixtures.
  • Using a programmable thermostat and keeping the heat low overnight and when we are away (but not too low for Corky and Scooter).
  • Line drying clothes occasionally - this has to become more frequent and I just have to get used to having some things be 'crunchy' when I put them on.
  • Using cold water for washing all but the dirtiest clothes.
  • Very recently starting our own garden (hee!)
  • Buying produce from farmer's markets when possible (there is one every Wednesday when we go to Tai Chi, so that is very convenient).
  • Using dishes and cutlery more than once before putting them in the dishwasher.
  • Composting (we have done this for almost two years now).
  • We recently bought a reel mower, but we're not too happy with it. We're not sure if we're just inept in our operation of it, or if it just doesn't work very well.
  • Conserving water via low water usage appliances, low flow, toggle- equipped shower heads, low flow faucets and toilets. We made these changes when we first moved in here in 2003 because we are on a cistern water system and have to have our water trucked in.
  • Planting trees - we bought two more little spruce trees to plant this week and will be planting 5 more aspen poplars in the Fall.
  • Switching to BullFrog Power for all of our electricity. This is a new service to Alberta as of June 5th and should kick in soon on our bill.
  • Hardly eating any meat - I'm lacto-ovo vegetarian and Gord eats meat maybe once a week, so we're doing pretty good there.
  • Using recycled TP and paper towels, and trying to use these sparingly. I have yet to find a decent recycled facial tissue. I may have to stop using those.
  • Taking my compostables home from work, like banana peels and cherry pits, to add to the composter when I get home.
  • Choosing items with less wasteful packaging, and avoiding take-out products.
  • Recycling virtually everything we can, from paper, to plastic, to glass, cans, cardboard, milk cartons, everything. We throw out very little -- most things can be composted or recycled.
  • Trying to buy fewer things overall. This is hard in our consumption-driven society, but we are getting better at it, I think.
There are more things I would like to start doing, but they will become harder and harder and more expensive too:
  • Installing a solar powered hot water heater.
  • Getting some solar or manual powered lamps, a radio and some proper batteries for power storage.
  • Replacing my CRT monitor with a flat panel version that uses less power.
  • Using less gas/diesel - this will be hard since we live 50+ kms away from work, one way.
  • Buying only local food and going without if it's not local (i.e., within 100 miles) .
  • Putting fewer things in the refrigerator - some people unplug theirs entirely!
  • Buying second hand items, including clothes. I'm reluctant to wear clothes that strangers have worn though, I don't know how to get over that.
  • Getting and learning how to use a solar oven. They sell them at the Earth's General Store, but I've never really looked at them closely - I will rectify that!
Time to have a nice cup of tea, I think, and ponder the myriad things....