Friday, July 06, 2007

Going Green

I've always tried to help the environment. I was on litter pick-up duty as a Girl Scout. I made a nice wage from aluminum recycling as a kid. I used to cut apart the six-pack rings so no critters would get caught in them. Living in glorious, smoggy Southern California, the need to live green is very real to me. We carpool, turn off lights when we leave a room, separate our garbage and rarely water our yellowed lawn. Of course, we can always do more.

I think that radically changing our lifestyle overnight to live as green as Ed Begley Jr. is unlikely. I've been trying to make one change every month (or so) to be more environmentally friendly. I've found that it's easier to make these changes into routines so I've got one down before I add the next one. I bring cardboard boxes home from work since we have recycle bins at home. I reuse my water bottles and jugs before I pass them to Felicity, who makes games with them before we throw them into the recycling bin. A month ago I made a point of crushing every box or tube before dropping it into the garbage can. The goal there was to have my trash take up less space and thus send fewer bags to the landfill.

This month I'm washing my dishes with less water. I realized that once the water gets funky, we wind up draining the sink and refilling with more water. Instead of filling the sink, I fill it less than halfway and do a handful of dishes at a time. I rinse them with cold water (consuming less fossil fuels) and drop more dishes into my two gallons of soapy water. I've noticed that the sink doesn't have to be full for the dishes to get clean. I've also noticed that I save two to three gallons of water each time.

If you want to go green, I recommend doing one thing at a time until you're so used to that thing that it's habit. If we all did one new thing a month to help the planet, we'd definitely see the results within this lifetime.

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