Earth Day, every day

What kind of “green” blogger doesn’t post on Earth Day?  This one, apparently (though that has not been true every year: 2011, 2012, 2013).

While “Earth Day, every day” sounds cliché, it really is something that we need all people, corporations, governments, etc. to embrace, rather than simply creating hype for one day and then returning to familiar unsustainable practices.

For me, this year’s business-as-usual Earth Day involved biking to the library (sharing books instead of buying) and a yoga class, lunching on our potatoes and asparagus (plus some non-local beans and broccoli), and biking to a school tour (the school is now near the bottom of my list due to the pick-up time madness that results when every child is transported in a separate motor vehicle).

That said, Earth Day can be a good time to check-in and look for areas of improvement, whether that’s catching little lapses that have become habits, or looking for new ways to further lighten our footprints on this planet.

With the severe drought in California, it’s a good time to visit water conservation ideas.  One of our small, but regular, practices is capturing the water that runs while waiting for hot water.  In our second story apartment, we usually capture a gallon of [cold] water while waiting for the pipes to warm (a bit more in the winter) in the shower or in the kitchen for washing dishes.  We reuse plastic 1-gallon milk and apple cider jugs (of which we don’t generate a lot) for this purpose.

After sitting to dechlorinate, this captured water, which would otherwise just go down the drain, is perfect for our potted plants.  In the summer, when the plants are using a lot of water, we sometimes go through more than we can capture.

If you don’t have plants to water, you could use this captured water when doing laundry –just add it to the machine as it’s filling — or perhaps to wash the floors or some such.

While I’m not planning on participating in the local Earth Day festival activities (on Sunday 4/26 here in StL), I do want to make it to the recycling extravaganza.  Over the past couple of years, we’ve accumulated a broken toaster oven (we let G use it as a toy for a bit, but I’m ready to get it out of here), electric mixer, humidifier, grow light fixture, and a few dead AA and AAA batteries.  While I wish these items (particularly the humidifier and grow light) had had longer lifespans, at least we can keep some of this out of the landfill.  Being able to get all of this to the right place for recycling at one convenient drop-off point sounds pretty good!

So, let’s share inspiration — what’s one “Earth Day, every day” tip that you have, that others could adopt?


An Earth Day reminder

With most places having Earth Day celebrations over the weekend, I lost track of the fact that today, April 22, is officially Earth Day.

As perhaps a little reminder from the universe to not take natural resources for granted, I turned on the kitchen faucet this afternoon to just a tiny little trickle of water that quickly faded to nothing.

With dinnertime fast approaching, I grabbed some leftover bean cooking liquid to cook the lentils and set to chopping veggies.  Over the next hour, I probably attempted to use the sink no less than ten times — to wash hands, rinse off a dish — you name it, it felt like every time I turned around I needed water for something, and I just couldn’t get it through my head that turning the faucet was not going to yield water.

I’ve had this same experience when we’ve had power outages — go into a room and flip a light switch, just expecting the light to turn on as usual, but, nothing.

Clean, running water, power at the flip of a switch — so many things that I take for granted on a daily basis . . . .

Ironically enough, we ended up buying bottled water on Earth Day.  My MIL swung by the store and grabbed a few gallons for us on her way to drop off Gabriel.

With no warning on the outage or obvious cause, I was prepared to be without running water until morning at least.  Instead, it felt like no sooner had I popped the top on the gallon of water and poured glasses for dinner, whoosh, we had water from the tap again!

It’s hard when we live in a country that has seemingly plentiful resources, but every now and then, we are reminded to be grateful, and, perhaps, to renew our attempts to use those resources carefully, in a manner that sustains the planet we all share.

What’s goin’ on

It’s been a little quiet over here, which usually indicates that life has been a little crazy.  We’re all alive and well, or as well as can be with yet another cold virus, courtesy of Typhoid Gabriel.

In the spirit of getting the bad news out of the way first, I visited the dentist for a routine cleaning.  It was so much fun that I get to go back and see them in two weeks for “a bit of work.”  Unremarkable for many people, perhaps, but this is my First. Cavity. EVER.

The first cavity ever is the equivalent of the first A- or B+ ever, when you kiss your hopes of being the valedictorian of perfect teeth goodbye and start down the path to becoming a toothless old hag.

We met with a realtor and made [a low-ball] offer on a house (an offer that we felt was actually reasonable based on average price per square foot, days on market, etc.).

I spent Earth Day teaching my first ever Cycling Savvy course — despite my initial lack of enthusiasm toward working on the weekend, I had a blast.  It felt great to put everything that I learned in instructor training last year into use, and teaching others skills and helping build the confidence they need to ride their bicycles more seemed a fitting way to spend Earth Day.

Meanwhile, out at the garden, Matthew put in the tomato plants and then held his breath until Monday morning due to the somewhat unexpected frost advisory.  Fortunately the little plants escaped the evil Mr. Frost.

We also found out that the seller soundly rejected our offer on the house — according to his agent he “almost fainted” when he read it.  Ha!

To him we say, have fun continuing to sit on that property that you’ve been sitting on for over two years during which time the pipes burst due to lack of adequate heating one winter.

As for us, we now have our eyes on something that I ultimately think could work out even better (details to come once we have a bit more info, but I’m already putting the eggs WAY before the chicken).

Happy Earth Day!

Wondering what to do for Earth Day?  Here are a few ideas.

Check out green cleaning tips, including some from yours truly, in the “Green Cleaning” post from KERF.

Want to learn more about Earth Day?  Apparently there’s a documentary called Earth Days available for screening on Netflix.  I haven’t watched it, but Taryn at Mama Gone Green reviewed it here.

For a discussion on the green movement and avoiding “ecological snobbery,” see The Eco Cat Lady’s post “Greener Than Thou.”

Curious about having a party in your pants?  I’ve written about it (here and here).  In celebration of Earth Day, the folks at Party in My Pants are offering free shipping on all orders and 10% off orders of $35 or more through the end of April.  If you’ve never tried a PIMP product before, you can try one of their cloth panty liners for free.

Dinner and a movie

Happy Earth Day!

Last night we hopped on our bikes and pedaled over to Stellina Pasta for dinner.  Sadly, they only had one vegetarian entrée.  When we eat out, we like to order two different things and split them.  With only one option, we decided to just order one entrée and follow up with more food at home.  I must say, the dish was delicious: “Whole wheat walnut Tagliatelle with oyster mushrooms, asparagus and fresh mozzarella in oil butter garlic sauce.”  Mmmmm.  This made the trip well worth it!

With plenty of room for dessert, we ordered the “chocolate peanut butter bomb.”  Eh, rather disappointing.  It was not bad, but certainly not spectacular.  I left wishing we ended the meal after the entrée.  Oh well, live and learn.

I puttered around the apartment for a bit when we got home, then plopped on the couch with my book.  I completely forgot about Food, Inc. until Matthew asked, “When is that thing on?”  Oh, oops!  I fired up the t.v. and ended up catching all but the first few minutes.  I’m glad I watched it, although I have to admit I was wishing for commercials.  I wanted those breaks to get up and move around and do stuff, but I didn’t want to miss anything.  In the end, I remained in my seat for the entire 90 minutes, with one quick dash for water and lip balm.

Like Fresh, I found many parts of Food, Inc. difficult to watch, but that’s part of the point.  This is what’s going on in our food system, this is the food we put into our bodies, that’s how millions of cows and cute, fluffy chicks are treated, not to mention the workers in the meat processing plants.  I love the contrast with Joel Salatin’s Polyface farm.

Did you watch Food, Inc. last night (or at some other point)?  What did you think?

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