Sunday, March 29, 2009

Off with the lights and on with conserving.

Last night, in the midst of fun discussions and a good card game at my friends John and Sue's, we turned off all the lights in honor of Earth Hour. We kept playing and talking by candlelight and just slightly touched on the topic of energy conservation.

But it really got me thinking this morning. We all know about energy efficient light bulbs. We all know about water reducing shower heads. But I question whether I am doing enough...I want to leave the smallest footprint possible on this glorious Earth. I wonder if I am even doing my share.
I admit that I run the dishwasher probably too often. I certainly could wash by hand each day (It's just me, after all!) And I keep lots of stuff plugged in when it's not is use: televisions, cell phone chargers, coffee makers...I'm going to try to remember to pull the plugs all the time.

How about trip consolidation to save gas? Now that the weather is better, I can walk to the post office, library and office from my home. I need to be more disciplined with that. I think I do a good job of running errands on the fly: if I'm driving by the hardware store, that is when I'll stop; I combine many stops into one trip. I think I'll give myself an A for that.

How about consumerism and the packaging of what I buy? I get an A here too. I really am aware of plastic containers and always try to buy glass (it can be recycled easier and at a greater return for our town) I reuse jars and plastic bags (fruit and veggie ones) I use cloth bags when I shop. And I won't buy a product that has plastic, wrapped in plastic, wrapped in plastic over cardboard. So wasteful.

I am an avid recycler. I am really REALLY careful and I am so lucky to live in a town that not only allows recycling of ALL kinds of plastic, glass, all cardboards, newspaper, office paper, used oil, metals, wood, and tin cans. I also toss out some of my waste to the birds in the park: lettuce scraps, veggie peels, etc.

The one area that I can't seem to get away from is paper. I seem to get a lot of mail - press releases, etc. - that can be done through email. I get probably 15 to 20 individual pieces of paper mail each day (just for the office) and two newspapers or more. I am going to make an effort to contact each of these organizations and suggest email and may cancel my subscription to some of the marginal papers and read them online.

Any other ideas out there?


Lili said...

Does paper recycling include using them for my parrot? Thanks for posting this and getting us to think though. Good post!

Gladys said...

Good for you! Even if everyone just does a little bit it helps tons.

Kahuna and I are actively researching building a green bungelow village. Everything would be either recyled materials or "green" and there would be cisterns to recycle rainwater for irrigation as well as using 'grey' water. Tankless waterheater etc. It really is an exciting proposition.

Tatersmama said...

I turned my lights off last night, but because I don't have a candle in the house, I just decided to sit out on the porch and enjoy looking at the dark neighborhood. ;-)
It seems most of the neighbors turned off their lights too... so it was lovely and peaceful!

Libby's Library said...

If you only run the dishwasher when it's full, you are probably saving saving more water and electricity, than when washing dishes by hand.

I really do try to recycle but what I really want, is to start composting.

Hope you have a great week Queenie!

Carrie - Pink Crow said...

I read that too...running the dishwasher (full) uses less water and energy than washing by hand (thank goodness), so you're already doing your part there without even trying.

I found a great book that helps me out when I'm questioning which option is best for the environment, because sometimes it just isn't so apparent. The book is called "Green Greener Greenest", by Lori Bongiorno. I've found it very useful for reference.