Became a one car family – my husband now commutes year round by bike.
Any journey under 4 miles, my daughter and I bike.
We traded our 2 cars in for a low-sulphur emissions diesel.
We use cloth diapers, cloth wipes and cloth sanitary products.
We compost and recycle all that we can.
Reduced our large, rotten lawn by adding some raised beds for veggies in our suburban garden and have made some beds for our friends and neighbors who do not have a garden.
Members of a local CSA and shop at the farmer’s market whenever we can.
Second hand first and then if not possible, buy new.
Line dry all clothes – we don’t own a dryer.
After seeing Colin’s film yesterday, our aim for April is to reduce our trash by looking at the packaged products we buy and purchase/make an alternative. Our aim…how low can you go?
One pack of organic seeds 1.99
yields at least 20lb of veggies
grow with stacking planters on your balcony, fire escape, in boxes out your sunny window or in your tiny yard – vertically.
We are urban farmers. Our friends always tell us – oh, I don’t have enough space, I live in a flat, condo etc. When I suggest I come over and help them start a veggie garden and we can do it all under $10 – they freak out a little.
Either I give them seeds or we get some, I help them build growing places out of reusable materials, we get free compost and mulch from the city.
I teach them how to soak, score, and plant their seeds. I teach them how to use “cloches” to make the most out of light and constant temperature – also conserving moisture.
Their seeds sprout, they use conservative watering methods like simple drip, reservoir, and semi-hydroponics.
They all of a sudden don’t have to buy herbs, tomatoes, strawberries, squash, watermelon, green beans, snap peas, artichokes, etc anymore.
With the money they save they can buy hardy fruit trees for the patio.
You can grow your own, no matter where you are – if you have some sunshine.
My family has been practicing some of the things Colin did for a while.
We have had no tv in our house for the last 4 years. That was really hard for my husband. Now we read books every night to the kids.
We have been using cloth napkins for the last 7 years. My mom in law got a kick out of that.
We have never used paper towels. We use microfiber cloths for cleaning and there is no need to use chemicals with them. They work best when cleaning just with water.
Although we do use electricity we never turn on the a/c or the heater. We have heavy curtains and shutters.
We bought half a grass feed cow, locally. We dont by any meat (chicken, etc.. that is processed in a USDA plant). We also never eat out, but our TREAT, when we occasionally go out to eat is for sushi, but we bring along our organic soy sauce bottle along with us. (GMO soy sauce in every japanese restaurant in LA). This is when I feel we are a little coo-koo.
We bring lunch to work in stainless steel containers.
And now more recently, we bought a water distiller for the house, have sworn off plastic water bottles and use refillable water canteens for school and work.
I am eating a lot less than I have ever… I am mostly on living foods… however do have the occasional brown rice, or stir fry. All vegetarian, no wheat, no dairy, only natural sugars.
Have a green smoothie everyday, and have come to the place where I want to learn how much it would take to grow enough greens to support my consumption of green smoothies… so I have began a garden inside, started a variety of greens and will see if I can’t support my smoothie habit.
When I gave birth to my son two years ago, I knew that I didn’t want to use disposable diapers on him for a variety of reasons. But the idea of using those old fashioned cloth diapers that our parents and grand-parents used didn’t appeal to me either, since I am a working mom. That’s when I met a young woman in my local community who makes the so-called modern cloth diapers with PUL waterproof covers. There is nothing better then a rash-free baby’s bum and a clean dustbin outside.
This tip is so universal and so important both for the child, mother and nature. It is a win-win situation on all frontiers. Mothers’ milk does not pollute, it changes with the baby, always ready and the right temperature, you will be on-the-go with your baby without any fuss over carrying heaters, baby bottles,sterilizers etc. You’ll save money, time and your child will grow into a healthy individual, both physically and emotionally.
FOR PEOPLE WHO STILL HAVE SOME TRASH: I got some waterproof material (think broken umbrella tarp, shower curtain, or a plastic table cloths) and cut it into fabric I can use to line my trash bags. Since I went plastic=shopping-bagless, I needed something to carry my trash down to the dumpster in my apartment’s trash area. I carry the trash down, then dump it into the dumpster bins they have, saving the plastic material to be thrown into the laundry. It’s so easy!
I hate using the air conditioner, but my windows face east, and we get a lot of light. I tried a month without A/C, and I had horrible migraines. Here’s what I did: 1. I got one of those emergency blankets that come in camping kits ($1)–it has a reflective material that bounces heat off. 2. I cut to size and taped the top of one end to the top of my window under my window shade. 3. Then I taped the bottom end to the bottom of my window shade. Now, when I pull my window shade string, the reflector gets carried up so the light comes in. When I want to close it, the reflector rolls right down with the shade and blocks the light, reducing my need to use A/C.
You could also try aluminum foil if you have it around; although I haven’t tried it, it should reflect the sun.
Diapers are a huge problem for the environment, cloth are a great alternative.. But did you know there´s an even better way, using way less diapers?
It´s called Elimination Communication, and it´s all about listening to your baby´s signals. A baby signal´s hunger and the need for love right? Well, they also signal the need to use the potty! Listen closely to your baby or even use routin pottying, and you will find out that your baby is a lot more capable than given credit for. EC-babies use less diapers and are pottytrained years earlier than their friends.
My 16-month old is pretty much dry know, with a backup cloth diaper for longer outings or at night. Since he was 1 year old he has used the potty on his own, no need for diapers until they are 2-3 years old!
I just watched your movie and it really was encouraging to see. I believe we are a no impact family as well, so it was nice to see all the stuff we went through. It all started when we got pregnant for my daughter and realized we wanted to eat healthier. After 7 years I am now finishing an associates in Alternative Energy Engineering, Shane my husband is finishing certificates in Organic farming, watershed, and horse management. With this and lifestyle we have the ever changing goal in our life that we want to live self sustainable. I do notice that after looking at all the problems and solutions, not only in our life in a micro level, but from what we learned in our education on a macro level, the most impact is: the change within us and rejoining ourselves in community. The beautiful thing about human survival is that our bodies down to our souls know what’s best for us, basically we are our own best healers, and once the awareness seed is planted it just keeps on blooming. I think what your doing is great because the impact that you are making is planting those seeds. For some it may not grow now, but will, they may just find a different way to nurture it. But the ones that are ready, the work is done, now they will feed that need inside of them, because it is so rewarding. Keep up the great work, and just to let you know you are not alone, we and many others are doing our part to be as informative as possible, that a no impact life style can work. We cant fix an energy problem without changing our energy. In sequence these are some of the things we did.
Did wilderness survival classes
Started to eat Organic and local food and stopped eating out
Had a home birth
Only shopped at thrift stores
Stopped going to the doctor and only used herbal remedies, this has been our biggest change and most work because it made diet changes
We did a short lived news paper on networking organic and CSA farmers, midwives, co-ops, and heath based businesses.
Took up blacksmithing
Drove a grease car
Went without deodorant (many complained)
Sewed our own clothes
Made our own shoes out of recycled tires
Did our own laundry, now we have resorted to just the drying part
Got rid of our TV
We Lived off the grid for a few months on just a wind turbine, and solar panel on a CSA farm.
Bathed out of buckets, and took solar showers
Make our own soap
where natural fibers
Do limited water dishes
Got involved with local government
Traveling working on farms for food and life style, at that time we moved alot
Took up playing instruments
Grey water system with our toilet
Made a composting toilet
Took up gardening, and raising livestock
Immersed ourselves in community
Got involved with education that involves sustainability
Do research on corporate buy outs of products
Surrounded ourselves with support
We haven’t gotten to the place where we want to be yet and sustainability and no impact has fluctuated to work with our life changes, But our goal is to have a low net energy community farm. We love this lifestyle and want to see how far we can take ourselves while still being a part of society. We are now just starting business called “Potential Energy” where we do a life cycle analysis on peoples lifestyles and give them resources, ideas, to improve change with their lifestyle, themselves and with their community, as much as they can and our willing to do.
We just really want to see the change in people, with out them feeling uncomfortable, and representing that in what we do.
Lots of love, Beth, Shane and Leda Celeste