I started a green initiative at the last three companies I worked for. I bring in cotton towels for the kitchen, get metal cutlery from goodwill and hide the plastic knives/forks and I bring in a compost bucket that I take home to empty and clean once a week. Then I encourage my bosses to go green and replace candescent light, add auto off switches and we just got a nest to reduce heating/cooling usage. Next I have to tackle employees who are refusing to undestand the meaning of recycling and the ‘blue bin’.
I have been a vegetarian for a little over 2 years. My husband and I recycle. I have rid my home of harmful chemicals and now make my own hand soap, shampoo, face wash, face scrub, dish soap, bathroom and kitchen cleaner, perfume, bath salts and candles. All of this with natural, good for you and the environment products. I reuse old glass bottles (spaghetti sauce, pickles etc..) and use them to pour my candles in to. I walk to the local farmers market or local produce store sometimes. I use my own shopping bags. Ive rid my house of a microwave. I have a clothes line on my balcony for drying things such as underwear, socks, thin tshirts, and hand towels. I think I may start washing those things in my bathtub with some borax and castille soap a la the beavman family. I also have a solar desk lamp I bought from IKEA and love it, so Im going to get more and try to replace all my lighting in the house with candles and the solar lamps.
I feel like this is only a small step towards where I would like to be… but its a process
I did a TV reality show 10 years ago where I took my family back to live in 1900 for 3 months. 24/7 living like my great grandparents. It was an amazing experience and now in 2010 I am still living like my Nana’s. I make all my own household cleaning products, my beauty and body care products and organic garden sprays. I have an organic garden with compost bins and a worm farm. Next on the list is chickens.
I op shop for clothes and furniture and have the most wonderful collection and each has a story. I make all my jewelery from buttons and the pieces are stunning. I support a local charity by being the op-shop face in their marketing – in the newspapers and life size on the side of a truck.
This lifestyle is creative and satisfying and I manage to fit it around working a 9-5 job. Now I am teaching others to live the same way, taking classes through my local city council and a recycling center.
I think I have the best of both era’s now and I love my life.Every day I try to pass it forward by teaching others how to make their lives richer by having less impact.
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.