In our continued quest to educate ourselves and our kids about environmental responsibility, we recently undertook another experiment or “project” if you will. Indoor worm composting! Doesn’t that sound like fun? Well it sure did to our 2 young children. “We get to keep worms in the house? Cool!”
Well its true, we filled a rubbermaid tub with dirt from bags of potting soil left in the backyard shed and a kilo of red wiggler worms we bought from Earth’s General Store on Whyte Avenue (Edmonton). From here, over the last 8 weeks we have been keeping some of our kitchen scraps in a small plastic container after each meal and feeding it to the worms every 2-3 days.
1. Reduce trash/garbage output and burden on the city’s waste system
2. Generate a nutrient rich soil compost for our backyard garden this summer
3. Teach the kids about environmental responsibilty and that alternatives exist for many things we take for granted today
I have been able to estimate that each time we dig a hole in the worm bin and fill it with food scraps stored in our ice cream pale we keep 2 lbs of waste from going to the curb. In the 8 weeks our kids have been enjoying this it would work out to be about 25-50 lbs of garbage (or 2 good sized full bags of garbage). Taking this one step forward, it would 300 lbs annually.
Its not expensive, its educational, it creates a great gardening compost, and its fun!
The greener my lifestyle gets, the more glaring the “un-green” practices around me seem. So lately, I’ve taken to writing emails whenever I notice something green that should be commended or something “brown” that could easily be made greener.
To my utter surprise, I’ve been able to actually have some effect with remarkably little effort!
First… I was participating in a pilot compost program for the city of Denver, but due to funding concerns they were going to discontinue it. This was really heart breaking to me as the program, small as it was, had succeeded hugely in both raising awareness and keeping tons of organic materials out of landfills.
So, I sent an email out to all of my gardening buddies, and then somebody started a petition, and we all emailed our city council representatives and explained how the compost program would really save the city money in the long run. Lo and behold… they’ve miraculously found a way to keep it going! Woo Hoo!
Then, I noticed a bag of locally grown organic whole wheat flour in my local chain grocery store, so I wrote them an email to thank them for carrying it, and told them that I’d shop there more often if they carried more products that were organic and local. Holy Moly! The store manager called me and I’m now putting together a list of suggested items that I’d like them to carry!
Just think how much could change if everybody did these things!
I believe that in order to make a serious and sustainable change in our lifestyles, we have to take things one step at a time. “Going green” overnight is simply not practical for most people…we have jobs, families, and homes to take care of. We can’t just drop everything and move off-the-grid (I wish!)
I realized there are probably many other city-dwellers like myself who want to live greener, but don’t know where to start. This was how the Itty Bitty Impact blog was born. About once a week I post a practical tutorial on how to go about living your normal life, but with less impact.
I have greatly reduced my daily impact on the planet since I started the blog, because now I am constantly looking for new/better ways to do everyday things so that I can share the ideas with my readers.
After watching No Impact Man, I realized how much energy and waste I create and I felt, like Colin, like a guilty Liberal. So I decided to adopt many of the things Colin and his family did in the film:
I live in Southern California, so cars are a must here. But I promised myself that I will only drive to work and to school (since they are in entirely different cities from my home). If i need to go get coffee or go to the supermarket, I will only walk. I’m going to buy a bike soon so I can go even further without my car.
I’ve begun my own vegetable garden and have started a blog about it: http://veggiesveggies.blogspot.com/
I’ve unplugged everything in my bedroom when I’m not using it including lights, TV, computer and clock.
I’ve been a vegetarian for over 8 months now and have never felt more healthier.
I’ve stopped using plastic bags, plastic cups and have cancelled my magazine subscriptions. I’m addicted to my newspaper, but I’ll get off of that eventually and switch to online reading.
I read with a battery powered light at night so I don’t have to have my lights on.
I’ve started watching less and less TV and opt for books instead.
I just joined a local environmental group to volunteer for and can’t wait to begin!
I’m going to my first ever Farmers Market on Sunday and am so excited to buy some local produce!
I’ve never felt better in my whole life. Knowing that I’m making less of an impact on my planet is the best feeling in the world. I hope to spread the word to others and help create a better planet for all of us to live in.
My boyfriend and I recently acquired Alice Water’s “The Art of Simple Cooking”. Her message is simple – good food comes from good ingredients and the best ingredients come from local farmers who you can get to know on a first name basis at your farmers’ market. We are starting a Sunday night dinner ritual with a few friends that will include food made with local, sustainably grown ingredients purchased from our neighborhood farmers’ market. I’m excited to learn from Alice Waters and see how this exercise changes the way I think about food, community, and time (since it will take time to go to the farmers market and cook the food). I trust that making changes to the way I buy and eat food will lead to other changes in the future around the way I buy so many things – clothes, beauty products, etc.
I only buy second hand clothes. After watching Food Inc I have become Vegetarian. After watching Corn King I avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup in it and soy (this in itself is a huge challenge). I refill my gallon plastic water containers. I shop at the farmers market and eat organic whenever I can including all dairy products. I refuse plastic bags when they are offered. These are my early changes, I am making new ones every day as I become more informed. I spread the word whenever I can. I am planning on doing no impact for a month to make more changes.
Went to a potluck tonight and brought my own non-disposable place setting.
I gave up all foods derived from animal products, almost 30 days ago, to lessen the environmental impact of my life! I started as a thirty day experiment, but now I know it’s going to become part of my lifestyle, because I’ve never been happier. The more I learn about the environment, and ways I can help, the more I’ve been doing, reducing garbage (virtually eliminating paper products (minus toilet paper)) starting a veggie garden, taking my car off the road, un plugging things, not watching t.v, etc. I really believe in the benefits of becoming more environmentally aware, and think that everyone would benefit from trying to live with a lower impact!
Ok the best bet is probably a thermos, BUT…You know how you get that early morning city dweller coffee craving when you’ve been pulling an all nighter and have to be chipper at work anyway? Or you’re stuck in a hospital emergency room waiting for a looong time? And they don’t have a coffee maker, all they have are those machines? Although cutting down on and even cutting out coffee is probably one of the better choices to make to lower your impact, I found a cheater’s way to not use the plastic cup that is thrust upon you if you do really really want that little pick me up: most offices have porcelain or glass cups lying around, even cafeterias have glasses that can do the trick- I bring my own.
I open the little door and snatch the plastic cup out and replace it with my own- then, I and several other collegues stack up the unused cups on top of the machine with the stacks of refills. They will probably get used eventually, unfortunately, but when 25 or 30 people are not using those cups, it’s that many less in landfill, and savings for the companies who have to buy them for their machines. Just a thought.
We moved out the the woods in Mexico to try to develop a human culture which won’t destroy itself and the planet.
Here are a few tips for living happily with less:
Water: We get our water from the rain and store it in large cisterns. Using simple composting toilets allows us to save the huge amount of water wasted in a “normal” household. We also take saunas prior to showering so even a very short shower makes us much cleaner.
Energy: We only use power from a small solar panel system. It is what they would normally sell for a vacation cottage. We use about 3% of the electricity a US family of four would use; even when we have 20 people here sometimes. We use a solar hot water heater, and a solar oven for baking.
Food: We grow more of our food each year. Our best plants require no fertilizer and and irrigation. The rest of the food is produced within the state. We are designing a root cellar now. We don’t buy foods with chemicals or sugar. We don’t eat any meat here.
We plant thousands of trees of all kinds to diversify the ecosystem and use the permaculture concept of the “Food Forest”.
Transportation: We normally drive into town just once a week to get supplies.
Results: We get to live closer to nature in a healthier way and know that every day we get a little closer to living in a way which will not destroy the planet.