Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I want to ... but (Part do ... I mean deux)

Yesterday we talked about green living road blocks ... those things that seem to prevent us from living a greener life. If you didn't get a chance to read that post, you can do so HERE. A few people wrote in with their "I want to ... buts", so today we're going to try to come up with solutions. Here we go:

ROAD BLOCK:

Mary said, "I do all these things except the short shower, and that is my own fault, since I ADORE long showers."

SOLUTION:

Sober White Woman said, "I love my tub! I have a huge garden tub and I love to soak in it. So on those days I try to cut back on using water else where. Just take baby steps and they WILL help trust me!"

How about this ... rather than take long showers every day, make them a special treat. Bargain with yourself ... for example ... tell yourself that if you take short showers for a week, you're allowed one indulgent shower. Another thing that will make showers (of any length) greener is to turn down the temperature of the water ... you'll save a lot of energy.

ROAD BLOCK:

I want to begin living greener ... but don't know where to start.

SOLUTION:

Brian said, "I would suggest doing little things first like changing light bulbs to the more energy efficient bulbs. Locate your nearest recycling location and plan your trips to town so that you drive past it on a regular basis. This will remind you to recycle and it will change from out of your way to "we can stop on the way to town."

ROAD BLOCK:

I want to live green ... but need a good reason.

SOLUTION:

Ilhami Uyar said, "We have to take care to environment, we must prevent our old world, if we shouldn't prevent some damages, what will leave our children. We haven't another different world to live, so we have to guard our world."

ROAD BLOCK:

Nina E J said, "... how about cutting down meat? doesn't that pollute the earth a lot?!"

Kathryn Magendie said, "I want to always eat vegetarian, but it's more difficult than it seems at times- when you visit people, it's hard to say "I can't eat your food..." so I just eat it (so far I've avoided eating the stuff I NEVER want to eat: pork, veal, lamb...). Unless the host asks ahead of time if anyone doesn't eat meat, meat is usually served, and unless it is a "serve yourself" buffet kind of dinner, then the meat is placed on the plate! I consider myself a "flexitarian' - since I do sometimes eat meat...."

SOLUTION:

Meatless meals are good for the earth (if you'd like to read a previous post on the subject, click HERE). Since any effort is good, perhaps incorporate a few meatless meals into the week's menu. Even the most devout carnivore probably wouldn't object to a delicious spaghetti made with marinara sauce or a hearty bowl of vegetarian chili with corn bread.

If you're goal is to become vegetarian/vegan full time, there are basically two ways to get there ... one is to just do it and the other is to gradually reduce the meat in your diet until it's gone. My choice was to just do it ... after watching a program on the health issues attributed to animal products, I decided to go vegan ... for a month. I need an "out" so I told myself that if, after a month, I really wanted some meat ... I could do it. But ... after a month I was hooked on vegetarian food. I felt better and enjoyed the food. Some people find it easier to slowly ease into a vegetarian life style. That works, too. There are marvelous resources on the Internet for ways to go veggie. I suggest checking them out and experimenting a little to see what works best for you.

As for dining out with friends ... when I became vegan, I told everyone ... my friends and family. They have all been wonderful and have taken on the challenge of cooking "veg" for us when we visit. When our hosts don't know that we're vegan, we call ahead to tell them and offer to bring some food ... helps them and helps us. We've even attended wedding receptions where the couple kindly arranged, ahead of time, for our meals to be vegan ... and everyone at our table was jealous. I believe the key is letting people know. Most of the time, they want to accommodate vegetarians. The one thing that, I believe, is a big mistake is not saying anything ... it's awkward once you're there ... you either have to compromise your diet and eat foods you'd rather not eat or say "no thanks" to the meat items and risk hurting the chef's feelings. Full disclosure, ahead of time, is always best.

ROAD BLOCK:

Cesia said, "My biggest issue is remembering the grocery bags."

SOLUTION:

s engelmohr said, "I, like you had trouble with the re-usable bags for awhile. Seems like we have about 6-8 for each vehicle now and if some get left in the house there are still some left in the car. Funny thing I leave them there on occasion too and walk out with a cart full of loose groceries. "

Annie said, "I'm going to get those reusable shopping bags this week!"


ROAD BLOCK:

Frisky Librarian said, "I need to frequent farmers markets, but as I don't have a car, it's an "I want to...but" scenario."

SOLUTION:

One solution might be to organize a farmer's market "car pool" with others (hopefully with someone who has a car). This could be a fun outing with friends and perhaps, after the shopping trip, everyone could contribute to a fabulous, farm fresh meal. If no one has a car, perhaps the bus will work. This could be a weekly trip or even bi-weekly.

Does your area have Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)? Some CSAs will actually deliver shares to members who can't drive to the pick up location.

Another idea ... check on community gardens in your area. They are cropping up all over the place and are great ways to get some fresh fruits and veggies. Some gardens offer small plots of land so that you can grow your own ... others sell to the surrounding community and still others, like one in my area, offer free fruits and veggies to anyone who cares to pick their own (they only ask that you only pick enough for your immediate use).

Here's a great, brand new, resource. It's called Veggie Trader (http://www.veggietrader.com/index.php) and it's a brilliant concept. Basically, it's a site where people can buy/trade/sell their extra produce. A quick search by zip code will tell you what's available in your area. It's a new site, and it's early in the season, so there aren't many entries yet ... but as more people hear about it, it'll grow and should become a wonderful resource for those who want local, fresh produce.

Want one more idea? How about exchanging a little of your time, volunteering on an organic farm, in exchange for food, etc.? There is a very cool website called World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (http://www.wwoof.org/index.asp) which acts as a meeting place for those who own organic farms and those who would like to volunteer in exchange for food, accommodation, etc.

ROAD BLOCK:

Ron said, "I live in an apartment building, which has no composting facility. I was thinking of starting one up in the area beside the parking lot, but sadly, I haven't had the time, nor any idea on how I can get others to participate--except for the few that I actually talk to while going up and down the elevator every day. Any thoughts?"

SOLUTION:

I would contact the apartment management to see if they are willing to participate in composting. If they are, perhaps a flier could be handed out to all residents informing them of the bin and giving them some pointers on how to use it. Composting bins do require a "stir" once in awhile and, as mentioned in my article, a layer of dirt on top keeps the odor down ... so someone would need to step up and manage the bin. I, personally, haven't found apartment managers to be overly receptive to green ideas but ... I'm a firm believer that we should keep asking. That being said, if they aren't willing, I'd try composting on a small scale. There are commercial bins which work nicely on patios or, as I do, one can use any available container.

ROAD BLOCK

I want to recycle ... but don't know how to get started.

SOLUTION

SweetPeaSurry said, "When I lived in NYC we had recycling bins for the 'house' apartments that we lived it, they were shared. So in the kitchen we used one of those three drawer plastic towers that you can pick up at any store, Target or Kmart or Walmart. It worked great ... and as it filled up ... we'd just toss stuff into the recycle 'house' bins. Worked great! "


Thanks to everyone who shared their "I want to ... buts" as well as to those who offered solutions and encouragement. See ... I told you this was a great group!

As always ... I'd love to hear from you!

5 comments :

  1. It's interesting that to make any of these changes requires such a small amount of imagination and work. Once I get one system down, I try to think of something else. I am queen of recycling supermarket bags.

    What I just don't get is our lack of using solar panels. I lived in Israel for many years and every home and apartment building had solar panels heating up the water. I understand that people resisted it here (in the warm and sunny states) for years because of the "eye sore." What could possibly be an eyesore about a reflective panel on a roof?

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  3. Wow--you really had some great answers to the questions! I feel led to try harder!

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  4. I love this post! And I love the simple but effective format for the post!

    Thanks for the inspiration.

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  5. short shower, check. Changed to new enery saving light bulbs, check. Meat......I need work on that one, A
    LOT

    I'm stumbling this if I could f in figure out why they aren't letting me. I'm losing it with them over here, I tell you

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