I am writing on behalf of my mom, who does not own or know how to use a computer. While reading “No Impact Man” I would sometimes read portions out loud to my mom, Angela. As a result, before she even began reading the book on her own (which she just finished), she decided to start by separating her trash.She NEVER recycled anything before. Just by separating her trash she reduced the number of 13 gallon garbage bags in her trash from 7 per week (for 1-2 people mind you) to 3 and sometimes 2! She started reading the book and now she does not line her smaller plastic garbage cans with plastic bags anymore, and she has cut down on her paper towel usage, which was unbelievably high, by using reusable cloths instead.She’s probably saving about 500 paper towels a month from going into the landfill. The best part for her was knowing there is something she actually CAN do to make a difference. And she has only just begun.
Eat only organic
Increasing plant based meals
Eating local from farmer’s markets
No take out- bring food with us.
Wash laundry in cold water
Chemical free household (cleaning with baking soda and vinegar, chemical free/ organic body care products)
Setting the thermostat low in the winter and high in the summer
Reuse all cardboard – art trading cards, kids projects
Wearing preowned clothes
Enjoying nature on weekends instead of shopping
Adopting an animal from a shelter- then donating toys make from old clothes back to the shelter.
Hosting green bday parties with near zero waste
Bring cloth produce bags and bags for shopping
We live in a neighborhood that doesn’t allow cloths lines in the yard. We started drying our laundry on indoor wooden laundry racks(we have 4). We can do 2 loads a day if needed. It is just as nice as outdoors but without the bugs & bird poo.
I’ve always reused my shower water in order to flush the toilet. I have a shower/bath combo, so I simply plug the drain when I get in the shower and keep the water in there after I’m done. Throughout the day, whenever the toilet needs a flush (I still try to conserve my flushes), dip a large bucket in the bathtub and pour it in the toilet. Voila! Other uses for the leftover bath water include: rinsing my running clothes out in between washes.
By keeping an environmental blog that chronicles all my greening successess and failiures, I am inspired to meet my own goals of CO2 reduction. Seeing it all on “paper” is inspiring not only to me, but to others. Please see www.debgoesgreen.com for specifics
With a changing climate, water is becoming more and more of an issue. Our modern water systems also require vast amounts of energy to pump, process, distribute water and waste water, as well as heating water. We have created a new website that shows simple ways to markedly reduce your water usage. My household went from using a typical 2,000 gallons a month down to ten or so gallons a day! Please go to www.tengallonsaday.org and begin to reduce your IMPACT! Share with others, too. Simple, nearly free ways to help our planet!
I have always been a closet environmentalist. As time passes, that part of my life becomes more and more important to me. We do many things to be more environmentally friendly, like having a garden, recycling, shopping at farmer’s markets, as well as others. One thing has been bothering me, however, and I feel the need to speak out on it.
Like everyone else who cares about the environment, the idea that saving paper saves trees has been engrained in my conciousness. But I have been giving this a lot of thought recently, and I wonder how much good saving paper really does. I live in a relatively rural area, and I frequently drive by land that is owned by the local paper mill, and here is what I see. Yes, there have been days when I have driven by what used to be a pine forest which is now a barren field. And yes, I have mourned for the loss of those trees. But, a few months later when I drive past that very same land, what I see is new trees. The paper companies own the land, they cut down the trees, and then they plant new ones. And yes, those new ones will one day be cut down themselves, but think about what would happen if there were no demand for paper.
Since the paper companies own the land that the trees come from, if they do not have enough demand, they won’t need as much land. And what will happen to the land? They will sell it. Who will they sell it to? Probably a developer who wants to build a shopping mall or subdivision. So if we all reduce our consumption of paper, instead of cutting down trees and then planting new ones, the paper companies will cut down trees and then sell the land to someone who has no need or desire to plant new trees. And chances are where there was once a pine forest, we will find a parking lot.
Just something to think about. Yes I still cringe when I see large amounts of paper being thrown away. And no, I do not work for a paper company. I’m just saying this issue is not as black and white as many people think.
Since we had our daughter we view the world in a new light. We want to help make it the kind of world she deserves to grow up in. Here’s some of the stuff we’re doing:
*All used baby gear
*Making our own baby food – super easy and healthier
*Only organic food for baby
*Cloth diapers – love it and it’s easier than I thought
*Cloth wipes with homemade liquid solution – look this up, there are plenty of websites on how to do this.
*Glass bottles instead of plastic
*Lots of walks (for example, we walk to the grocery store instead of driving)
The next thing I am going to do is start drying her diapers outside instead of using the dryer. Eventually I would like to wash them in the sink instead of using the washing machine but I’m not there yet.
I want to be confident and proud when I explain to her the decisions and path we took as my husband and I grew together as parents.
Inspired by the documentary, we brainstormed how we will reduce our impact. We really liked the phased approach that was presented in the documentary, and have decided to change one habit a month. Every six months, we’ll brainstorm a new list. Here’s our most current list:
May: sell Scott’s 1999 Civic and get a scooter. (We didn’t expect this to be so much fun! Even though we still have one car, we usually choose to take the Vespa because it’s a nicer ride.)
June: consume only drinks that have not been stored in a plastic or aluminum container (this is proving tough for Scott, as he would go through a LOT of Dr. Pepper)
July: media – sell the TV, XBox, surround sound, and other related components. Consume content through kindle, online, or e-book (no more printed magazines or books)
August: start making and using home-made cleaning products
September: consume all local food (250 miles or less)
October: Bike or walk if the trip is less than 5 miles
November: Be conscious of how our appliances drain energy when we’re not using them. Unplug.
December: Expand local purchases to clothing, furniture, etc.
Thanks for being such an inspiration.
Last summer I worked at a local produce market here in Charlotte called Providence Produce. Basically there are three outdoor produce stands that sell ONLY locally-grown produce. I absolutely loved working there because I got the chance to be outdoors and I felt good about myself because I knew it was good for the environment. I never knew there were many foreign people where I live, but when I started working there I got to meet customers from around the world that never shopped in grocery stores in their home countries, and it made me realize that the United States really needs to get a move on. So if anyone is looking for a part-time job, look for local produce markets in your area because working there will greatly improve your conscience.
Other things i’ve been doing to reduce impact:
I never use paper plates and cups anymore, only ones that can be washed and used again.
I use rags for removing makeup, applying astringent and other things that i used to use toilet paper for, and it has greatly reduced the amount of “bathroom trash” i’ve produced.
I turn off my computer or laptop when i’m not using it, whereas before i would leave it on all day.
I NEVER leave lights on in a room, even when i’m just going to step out of the room for a second i still turn the light off. At night i’ve even started brushing my teeth in the dark because i don’t really need a light.
I’ve also been pressuring my mom to read No Impact Man, because i know she’ll start doing many of these things too.
When i get to college, whenever i go into one of the dining halls i’m going to bring my own plate, cup, and silverware instead of using the paper and plastic ones that i would be throwing away three times a day.