I will also tell you honestly, I don't know how I feel about global warming. I know, I know, Al Gore would be so saddened to read that, but it's the truth. I think there are so many unknowns out there and so many sides to the story and I think there is a lot about how our planet works that we don't understand. I know some of you are gasping and thinking look at the science! the research! it's all there! And I have. And I've looked at other research that isn't so compelling.
And after looking at all - my conclusion is: global warming or not, I LOVE the earth. I want to take care of the Earth. I do not want to treat the planet like garbage, and I believe I can do things to love the Earth, the planet, and I can do things that will benefit the health of my family. Global warming aside - we are learning more and more that some of the chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis are hurting us! They are dangerous. They are destroying our soil, our water supply, and making some people sick. And, truly, even if global warming is not happening, well, what if it is? And in this case, I'm going with the better safe than sorry side of things, and still going to try to take care of my planet!
Anyway, we've really been trying to make small changes and we've been doing them ever so slowly, but we've kind of reached a point where we feel like it's time to maybe step it up a notch.
Here is where we are at right now:
- unplugging things when not in use (toaster, cell phone charger, laptop plug, etc)
- using reusable bags about 95% of the time (I admit sometimes I forget them or forget to pull them out until a bag or two is full. However, I can say I have already NOT used a LOT of plastic bags!)
- last fall I line dried my clothes and will begin to do that again when it gets warm enough outside (and I will also try to create a way to line dry indoors next winter)
- we have learned to waste a lot less food (I think before we were wasting more than we realized because it was so easy to just let the food go bad in the fridge, or forget about those last 2 apples, or the leftovers, etc and now we are much more conscience of the food we have and what needs to be eaten before it goes bad)
- I talk to the kids much more about environmental issues (at their level) and wasting water, wasting energy, etc.
- We stopped buying bottled water. So we have no plastic waste from those. Although we have the reusable plastic containers we carry around now, and I know eventually we will have to switch those out because the plastic in those is supposed to leach at high temperatures.
- My shaklee cleaners arrived in the mail the other day and I am SO excited to start switching over our cleaners. I was of the opinion that we should just give the cleaners to someone who would like to use them, but dh is of the opinion that we should use up what we own (being the frugal guy he is, he thinks it's wasteful to get rid of things). I admit though, I'm thinking of ways to secretly sneak the bottles out one by one and slowly so that he won't notice LOL
Things we will start doing:
- We have decided to buy our meat locally from farmers who, you know, treat their animals pretty nicely. Of course, now we are saving up money because you tend to have to buy in bulk that way (although admittedly I haven't looked into yet and I need to figure out where around us we can even do that). And truthfully I can't see us getting to the point to buy several hundred dollars worth of meat for a few months
- Shopping at farmers markets for a lot this summer. And also doing some u-pick it fruits to bring home and turn into jam and other items we can freeze and/or can to last us a while.
- Gardening - this year we will have a garden. In fact we just planted some of the seeds today and they are sitting in our laundry room with a nice (small) light shining on them!
Things we are still thinking about
- Switching our lightbulbs over. I keep reading conflicting things about the mercury in them and so honestly I am not ready to put them in my house. I have heard they are working on making them without mercury which would be fabulous I think!
- Possibly investing in an apple tree and a pear tree
- I would like to buy more organic products and I hate to say the price is the hindrance, but truthfully, it is. Because I am working on a limited budget and I have to pick and chose what I can invest in. I feel like if we switch our meat over to locally and from better farms, and I am buying local fruits and veggies this summer, well, I might have to skip the organic items from the store for now.
- Buy organic milk. Again, the price is a factor. I bought a gallon of milk today for 2.89. The half gallon organic milk was 3.50. That's not just a small difference, it's a big difference. We go through 4-5 gallons of milk a week (and one of my children can't even drink regular milk!) It's at least a 16 dollar difference per week - that's 832 extra dollars a year. Now, I know what you're thinking - 16 dollars. Let me tell you, I have been spending exactly what we budget every week on groceries. Today, I came home with 82 cents after hitting both stores (today I went to the health food store where I bought my brown rice flour, white rice flour, amaranth, and other items safe for my gluten, wheat, dairy, soy dd and that stuff is quite pricey as well. One of her flours was 5 for a pound). We are on a strict budget. We can't do it all. I have to pick and choose how to spend our money. But if I can cut the bill, I will start to buy organic milk for sure.
- Change over to chemical free shampoos, toothpaste, other similar items
- Starting a compost pile up in a corner of the garden we will be planting this year