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.
This post was submitted by Maggie .
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.
This post was submitted by Layla.
Went to a potluck tonight and brought my own non-disposable place setting.
This post was submitted by Alicia Kilstrom.
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!
This post was submitted by Carmen.
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.
This post was submitted by Barbara Weber.
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.
This post was submitted by Brian Fey.
Unfortunately, you gave hand washing a very bad name by doing it in the bathtub. Oh, my aching back!! I’ve been hand washing and line drying for two here in the frozen Tundra for almost 19 years and find it almost a spiritual experience. I have deep douhble-bowled kitchen sink where I place two 3-gallon white buckets trash picked from my neighor’s recycling bin. Works fabulously with no bending. In the winter I hang items to dry on a very large rack in the bathtub and a very narrow but tall rack in the shower stall. There are also removable tension rods near the tub area ceiling where I can look large items over until the drips stop and then transfer to racks in other rooms–all trash-picked and repaird. Shirts on hangers in doorways and I trash-picked a lovely hanging rack that holds about 18 pair of sox that can hang from a doorway also. Absolutely no big deal. For large items like bedding I use 18-gallon plastic bins that I trash picked on a sturdy bench outside the back door weather permitting. In the winter I change bedding just once a month because we take evening showers, but flip to the “clean sides” mid month. I have several sets (gotten cheap at garage sales) so I fold them up nicely and save them if the weather does not cooperate. I find this a joyous experience as I hate machinery that just breaks. Water is recyled to flush the toilet.
This post was submitted by Sandy.
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.
This post was submitted by allison burgueno.
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.
This post was submitted by Irene Spiegel.
I gave up regular shampoo for the year!(hopefully for life!) I started washing my hair with Dr Bronner’s once a week at the beginning of the year- the transition was a bit rocky (I wore a lot of ponytails and scarves the first 3-5 weeks hah) During lent used nothing but water to rinse my hair. This experiment when really, really well actually! I was so surprised! As long as I blow dried it it looked fine. Now I’m washing my hair once every two weeks with Dr Bronners and i don’t even have to blow it dry for it to look good (I’m glad because hair dryers can be unnecessary use of energy) I’m noticing some dandruff however, so starting in May I’m going to try out an apple vinegar rinse! This is supposed to be good for your scalp I love not using shampoo Now I smell like my homemade soap with out any fake chemical fruity smells in my hair! No shampoo is liberating and it makes the showers shorter!
This post was submitted by Margaret.