Two ideas. 1. By using a rocket stove one can burn scrap wood or sawdust to heat, cook and generate steam for many uses. It has won the creator many awards for the simple concept that doesn’t smoke. You can also use one of these in lieu of a barbie. 2. The methane tank produces a gas to cook or generate electricity. It can a small one for just a family or scaled up for larger uses.
I love to live small and recently moved into a loft with my boyfriend in downtown Portland. We’ve been really trying to reduce our impact and lead healthier lives. Some things we do:
-Live in a LEED certified building–all of our appliances are high efficiency
-Live within walking distance to work and only use our car about once a week
-Got rid of our cable (we have more time and money!)
-Make our own cleaning products using vinegar, borax and Dr. Bronners. (we put our soap in foaming bottles–it makes it go a long way!)
-Buy local produce when we can as we are in walking distance to farmers market
-Try not to buy packaged food and when we do–reuse the containers to store food or grow plants
-Reuse bags for bulk products
-Use cloth napkins and towels instead of paper towels
-Don’t use garbage bags–use small bins instead
-Growing herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries on our patio
-lots of natural light so we don’t need to turn on lights during the day
-rarely eat out at restaurants
-Buy a lot of our furniture and some clothes secondhand
-Carefully consider new purchases
-Do not have microwave
Some Things we want to do:
-make our own laundry detergent
-Grow more foods and see what we can grow indoors during the colder months
-Eat less meat
-Drink less or no coffee (that’s a tough one for me!)
-Cut down even more on buying packaged foods
-Find natural or make my own good hair products (haven’t had much luck yet :/ )
-Use fewer and ALL natural beauty products
-Use less water
-Buy more local foods like meat and eggs (it gets pricey though!)
-Not take the elevator
We got rid of so much of our stuff and are trying hard not to replace with new stuff. I love being able to clean in a short time so we have more time to do fun things! I love not worrying about a ton of belongings and realized I only use a fraction of what I own anyways. We feel healthier by not eating packaged foods. Eating what’s in season has allowed us to try new recipes and has been really fun. I love our simple and small way of life 🙂
Eager to help others because good people are what makes the world go around.
My daughter and husband never use up all of their cosmetics and I am using their left-overs for many other purposes. I bathed for a year with all of their left over shampoos and…hair conditioners–which often comes packaged “free” with shampoo. I also shave my legs with it. I am now cleaning my toilets with it. It is wonderful to use as a hand wash in the winter.
Most of us aren’t really dirty and only need to disinfect ourselves or our homes very infrequently!
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!
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.
after doing the one week cleanse in January…I did spend some money..I bought a clothesline, a wind up flashlight and a solar/wind-up lantern..I don’t need to use the dryer and I have saved on the electriciy bill by using my new “NO batteries required” lantern and flashlight instead of just flicking on the light all the time..It’s like camping inside the house.