Tomorrow is Earth Day. It's kinda sad to think the earth only gets one day, but I guess it's better than nothing. It's the time of year when everything is being advertised as "green" or at least improved. It's in honor of this day that I've got a free pass (given by moi) to show everyone the moralizing hippie I really am. I don't like to lecture, but this is a REALLY, REALLY important issue... and not just to me. Ok, here goes...
Anyone who's read my blog in the last few months has to notice that the amount of writing has significantly decreased—and photos have been added so as to distract everyone from the fact that there has been little or no commentary (you don't look at this blog for my writing, anyway). This is the result of me not only being incredibly busy, but incredibly drained, exhausted, and more overwhelmed than I have ever been in my entire life. And it isn't all Ella's fault (not even mostly). Since having her, I have come to figure out that I did not gain more patience to deal with the trials of parenthood. Oh no. Apparently I contain a finite amount of patience and in order to get what I needed to properly care for Ella, I had to steal a little (a LOT) from the tiny bit reserved for the rest of the world. The result is that I have very little tolerance for the stupid things I see. And there are a LOT of stupid things going on out there. This is where I actually tie it in to Earth Day...
There is way too much stuff out there. Every time I have to take out the garbage or recycling bin, I am appalled at the amount of trash that is my responsibility. I think, "How did I use this much stuff?" And we recycle almost everything, so I cannot imagine what it's like for people who don't. I went into a Target recently and the amount of stuff in there (and the amount of packaging) made me feel like hyperventilating. And there are thousands of them everywhere—EVERYWHERE. Does anyone else have this reaction? Probably not... I just can't believe that we continue to need all of this crap. It weighs very heavily on me. But we live in a country where we are told that we need the latest and greatest, that our clothes are out of style, that a new product can make our lives easier. So we continue to buy. And the companies continue to produce. It isn't going to change, but consumers can change what we buy... and we really cannot underestimate the potential effect.
Consider this—most of our food travels about 1500 miles to get to our plate. That's why your gallon of milk is nearly $5.00... it has to be shipped across the country with gas prices only getting higher. Support your own community. Go to a farmer's market. If possible, grow your own food. Here are a few sources: Local Harvest and 100 Mile Diet.
Use natural products
I've said it before, I'll say it again... bleach=BAD. Use something gentler—on you and the environment. The cleaning products we use get flushed down the drain and eventually make their way back into our water sources. I could go on and on, but I won't. This one is simple. Just try replacing one of the cleaning products you currently use with a friendlier version. I'm a fan of Seventh Generation (and so many others). And right now, all of their stuff is on sale at drugstore.com. They'll ship it right to you (I know, a bit hypocritical) for FREE.
Duh. But there are other ways to recycle than just separating your bottles and papers. I am a HUGE, HUGE fan of Freecycle. It's a great way to get rid of stuff you don't need—but that someone else might. And if you need to buy something new, consider a recycled option. I just ran across some recycled Tevas via another blog, Tiny Choices. Way cool.
Bring your own bag when you go shopping. It's really easy—it just takes a little getting used to. I have been using the same bags for almost 10 years. They still work just as well—they're just not all that pretty any more. I recently found some bags I really like—Baggu—and gave them to friends/family last Christmas (are any of you using them?). Check 'em out.
I have definitely written enough, and don't expect you to have to wade through much more just to get to cute pictures of Ella. But she's why I'm doing it. I want Ella to be able to enjoy clean water, clear(ish) air, and reasonable temperatures. If we can make any difference with very little effort, then why not? Next time you're shopping, spend an extra buck or two. Consider the true cost of what you are buying—not because it's the trendy thing to do, but because it's the RIGHT thing to do.
And consider yourself lucky that I didn't give the vegetarian speech :-)