We are currently participating in daily challenges and have completed our second week (they began on Wednesday, March 9th, and will continue through April 24th). You'll find additional information by clicking HERE (information is located towards the bottom of the article).
Week #2 was another amazing, interesting week. We took on a variety of challenges ... everything from reducing packaging waste to thinking about green burials to saving water. Once again, the discussions that took place were brilliant. I hope that you've been enjoying these daily exercises as much as I have!
Let's check in with the Honor Society and see how they did this week:
Day 8 asked us to save energy in the kitchen.
- EcoGrrl loves her microwave ... it even has a toaster feature.
- Nicole B. was surprised at how much more efficient a microwave is versus a conventional oven. She had questions about microwaves vs. gas oven ... and about composting. You can find my "2 cents" HERE. Marcy also left a comment with some interesting information HERE (ever notice that stoves/ovens don't have energy star ratings?). By the way, Nicole, check out the challenge for Day 9 ... it speaks directly to composting and includes a link to a "how-to" site.
- Mrs. Green wrote this POST which includes some great suggestions for energy-efficient cooking.
- Marcy took the challenge. Thanks, Marcy!
- Frenchy plans to look into cooking with lids and using the microwave.
- Did you know that Argentum Vulgaris is a Chef? Yes indeedy! In this POST he gives us his opinions on microwaves, defrosting and cooking with the lid on.
- In this POST, Mrs. Green reminds us that reducing is the most important part of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) and suggests that a good start to the process is to determine the difference between "wants" and "needs".
- EcoGrrl keeps a bowl on her kitchen counter for food scraps ... then the contents are taken out to her compost bin. While this POST wasn't necessarily intended for our challenges, it really speaks to taking action and what one can expect when getting started. Thanks, EcoGrrl!!
- The Coffee Table Poetry Musings Daily gave this challenge a spot on the front page. Yay!
- Rewinn has a great idea which involves his neighborhood ... want a hint? Think community potlucks, meetings, etc. Can you guess? Read his idea HERE.
- Brian gave us some wonderful information about what's happening in landfills ... it's not all bad as you'll read HERE. Thanks, Brian!
- EcoGrrl points out that no packaging is the best and shares that it's not just natural/health food stores that offer bulk products these days ... many mainstream grocery stores now have a bulk foods section. She's challenging herself to go without foods that can't be found in anything other than plastic (like cottage cheese and yogurt) ... or, at the very least, viewing those foods in the same way that she views tropical fruits, like bananas ... a "once in awhile" treat. By the way, EcoGrrl, Kris has a suggestion for you regarding yogurt (read it HERE).
- Brian buys in bulk and has another great suggestion ... for things like cleaning products, dish detergents, soaps, etc., buy the largest container possible and then refill a smaller, more handy container. Wonderful idea, Brian!
- Which product had the motto "Nothing is better for thee than me"? If you know, then you've guessed the identity of one of Rewinn's favorite bulk purchases. If you don't know, you'll find out HERE. Rewinn also gives us a great idea ... if your local grocery store doesn't have a bulk foods isle, suggest that they get one. Stores typically like to hear what customers want and will often try to accommodate them. Thanks, Rewinn!
- Mrs. Green is getting naked for the environment. With a lead in like that ... you just have to go read the article (and can do so HERE).
- In this POST, Kris gives us a ton of ideas and tips. For example, she buys nuts in the bulk isle and makes her own trail mix. She also uses a battery operated toothbrush to cut down on waste. In her post, she asks a question about dish detergent and which, of two options, is better. Head over there and give your opinion.
- After living in a third floor apartment, Linda became very conscious of packaging ... after all, that packaging had to be carried up and then back down. For those times when packaging is unavoidable, she suggests smashing cans and plastic milk jugs, etc., to make them easier to haul off to the recycling center.
- Alyson and her husband have worked hard to reduce packaging waste, especially plastic packaging. They shop the bulk isles and Alyson even makes her own bulk/produce bags. Check out her "DIY" tutorial HERE. Thanks, Alyson!
- Annette joined our challenge. She and her friends have joined together to split the cost of buying bulk ... they buy large, bulk quantities and then share it, splitting the cost and significantly reducing package waste. Brilliant, Annette!
I have to take a moment here ... the people who visit this blog on a regular basis become a family of sorts. Sometimes very personal things are shared. Such is the case with our friend Ann. Ann left a comment on this challenge saying that she was going to write a post about green burials but is currently writing a book about the loss of her child. Dear Ann, please accept my deepest sympathy. I hope that writing the book will bring you peace.
- This is a tough subject to consider for many people, but not for EcoGrrl. Here's her thoughtful take on the subject: "... green burial (especially in a shroud, with no coffin) is something so lovely and respectful both to complete, and continue, the cycle of life." She shares that both traditional burial in a coffin and cremation are not environmentally sound.
- A tree as a headstone ... ashes turned into sketch pencils. Hmmm ... this could only be a post by our very own Rewinn. Go read it HERE.
- Kathryn Magendie says that if they did green burials in her area, she wouldn't have to be cremated. But she absolutely doesn't want to be "pickled" and placed in a box.
- Mrs. Green wrote this POST about green burials. In it she brings up an interesting problem ... having a truly green burial (simply being buried in the ground or laid to rest on top of the ground) isn't legal in many places. She offers several alternatives and ideas.
- Cinella found this challenge to be interesting.
- Melanie shares that she and her husband are in the habit of unplugging things such as the toaster, coffee maker, etc. And, more and more, she turns off her cell phone. She shares that there is a "great feeling about being able to disconnect from technology". I love that! By the way, be sure to check out Melanie's blog (you'll find it HERE). It's all about giving back and making a difference.
- EcoGrrl tries to disconnect from technology when she gets home from work ... well, for the most part (she says she can't turn off the phone). And, as the weather gets nicer, she turns off her furnace.
- In this POST, Rewinn talks about gardening, technology that helps the environment and how the disaster in Japan reminds us that electricity has to come from somewhere.
- No baths for our EcoGrrl, who uses a water saving showerhead and only showers twice a week. Great job saving water, EcoGrrl!!
- Project Savior had a great suggestion for us: "... use soap without moisturizer. You spend twice as long trying to wash the moisturizer off your body as you would if you used a pure soap." Excellent tip, PS!
- Brian's son has mastered the 2-minute shower but ... Brian says he needs to work on using soap. LOL! Thanks, Brian!
- I knew that someone would come up with this particular water-saving shower technique and sure enough, our own Rewinn wrote about it HERE. Want a hint? In addition to saving water and saving money, this technique can be considered vital to one's health. Thanks, Rewinn!
- Cinella says that this will, indeed, be a challenge and will save water. She could relate to Brian's comment (she has a short-shower-no-soap child, too) and, like EcoGrrl, she takes fewer showers ... but her hubby is an "every night" kinda shower person.
- EcoGrrl brought up an interesting point. She said that when she lowered her thermostat and got used to the new setting, the higher temperature felt way too warm. I've noticed that, too, EcoGrrl ... perhaps adjusting the thermostat to make ourselves too comfortable prevents our bodies from regulating themselves. Interesting thought!
- Cinella lives in south Texas (think ... WARM) so she keeps her A/C set to 78 during the day and 75 at night. Cinella wrote about our challenges in this POST. In it she shares her favorite challenge so far. Can you guess which one it is?
- This POST, from Mrs. Green, supports Day 7's challenge about reusable bags ... be sure to watch the video ... you'll see Mrs. Green herself and learn a clever way to never forget your reusable bags and containers. In this POST, she gives us the first of 4 reviews she'll be doing on her energy monitor. It's good stuff! Thanks, Mrs. Green!
- Smiling Green Mom took our Day 6 challenge. She and her family eat leftovers but she admits that sometimes they have too many leftovers. So, she's working to find a solution to that.
- Kris wrote this POST in which she talks about many of the challenges and her progress on them. She shares something new she's doing ... here's a hint: it has to do with a suggestion that Nicole B. had for us. Kris also talks about what motivated her to live without a light in one room. Thanks, Kris!
Fabulous job everyone! Throughout the week, as I received your posts, I Stumbled, Tweeted and Facebooked them.
If you've ever wondered whether or not we make a difference, just read back through this post ... thanks to all of you, I believe we're making a huge difference.
Okay ... are you ready for another week of challenges? I know that you are. Here's today's:
Your hot water heater represents about 20-30% of the carbon emissions of your home, the biggest user of energy in your house. Consider setting your hot water thermostat to 120 degrees F. Insulate your hot water tank with an insulation jacket if available for your system. Arrange for your boiler to be serviced so it runs more efficiently. When you next replace your boiler, get a condensing boiler - they use less fuel than conventional boilers to produce the same amount of heat and can save 32% on fuel bills.
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!