Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Earth Day 2010


I started doing Earth Day posts two years ago so I'm going to reiterate some points I've made before. (Oh, and I'm posting this well before Earth Day on behalf of Yahoo! Mother Board.)

First off, let me just say that my 9-yr-old Riley is the fiercest advocate in our family when it comes to being green. I think that might come from the play she did in 2nd grade that was in honor of Earth Day. (Yet another example of how the arts can enrich our children. 'Nuff said.) I'm much encouraged by this future generation's second nature when it comes to protecting Mother Nature.

Wherever we are, they ask if there's a recycling bin for their papers or plastic bottles. Riley makes sure the lights are off before we leave the house. Clothes that they've outgrown go in bags to give to Goodwill. (Actually, it can be annoying sometimes: they don't seem to think anything's trash!) They even put their unfinished drinks into the fridge to be enjoyed later.

Two years ago, we made the switch to cloth napkins and compact fluorescent bulbs. In my trunk, I always carry the reusable shopping bags I've accumulated for my grocery shopping. Last year, I switched from Instead to a DivaCup. Even with my prior experience with alternative methods, it still took a little while to adjust to the DivaCup and being confident that it's inserted correctly. When it is, it works amazingly well! There is no leakage, I can't feel it at all, and it's saved me about $40/year, compared to Instead. Still, this method can take a little while to get used to. I'd recommend starting with the Instead product if you're on the fence about it. At $10.50 a box, you can try it out before you invest in the DivaCup.

(*This seems like a good time for a disclosure. No one has compensated me or even approached me about talking about these products. This is all stuff I want to say for no other reason than, well, to say it.)


Ironically enough, while I was writing this, I received an email about a campaign known as Pennies for the Planet. The general idea is to get kids to collect their pennies and change and, once their jar is full, convert it into a National Audobon Society contribution. In addition, the site has lots of project ideas for families on greener living.

My goal for this year involves the girls' school lunches. I bought them Laptop Lunchboxes at the beginning of the school year, and my heart almost stopped when I found out that Riley had lost hers. At $50, that's not something I can easily replace. I did replace it eventually with another reusable lunchbox that I won't name because poor Riley has a heck of a time opening and closing it. (Sometimes, I do, too.) So I'm still on the look-out for a lunchbox/bag that is not only green-friendly, but wallet-friendly.

I am by no means the greenest mom ever. I confess, I leave the computer on most of the time. At the same time, some things we do in honor of our planet, I don't even think about. I had to remind myself to write about using reusable shopping bags because it's such a given for us. It took a while to get there. I'd forget to put the bags back in my trunk, or leave them in the car once I got to the store, but now, it's as natural as locking the doors.

This is why it's important to me to remember Earth Day every year. I reflect on how we're doing, and what we still need to do. I wouldn't recommend trying to do every single tip every single day from the start. Start with one idea that seems easiest for you and your family. Once that becomes habitual, move on to another small change. We can all do better, but we don't need to beat ourselves up about it. We do what we can do. And then we do a little more.

Visit Yahoo!Green for much more info. Visit Yahoo!Mother Board for more Earth Day posts.

9 comments:

Tara R. said...

I really need to be 'greener,' there a a lot of things I can do, but keep forgetting. I have at least 6 reusable grocery bags, but even if I remember to put them in the car, I forget to take them in the store.

I think it's great that Riley is the leader on your fam's green projects.

The Mama said...

I loved the diva cup! I have a copper IUD now though and I'm not sure I can use it. I miss it.

Danielle said...

Are you familiar with this site?

http://www.kaufda.de/umwelt/carbon-neutral/how-you-can-join/

It is a great idea and I need to write a post.

Audrey said...

I also made the switch to fluorescent bulbs and they really do make a difference in your energy consumption and costs! Love your ideas for Earth Day. This year I'm celebrating it by getting outside more. Like you I'm always on the computer :}. One book that inspired me to do this is called, "Straight Down the Middle." It's a golfer's memoir of finding inner peace through the game. You should check it out!

onely.org said...

Wow, good for you for using the DivaCup. I haven't made that leap yet. Maybe I will, since you said you can't feel it. . .

I bought a hybrid car, which is great and everything, but I've noticed that I have the *terrible* habit of thinking, "Oh, I won't bring this water bottle home to recycle, because I have a hybrid," or "hmmm I'll just leave that light upstairs on, because I have a hybrid. . . " Which is ridiculous!

Christina

Cat said...

We're trying to be greener... CFLs, shopping bags, etc... but honestly the greenest thing my family probably does is that so many of us live in one house. It reduces financial and environmental overhead...

Jeanne @ yodelingmamas.com said...

How wonderful that your kids are so mindful of the environment and helping to implement change at home! Thanks for sharing the great post.

Donna said...

Wow, April! You really walk the walk... you and your kids are an inspiration!

jenn said...

I just got the DivaCup last month. It took me like three times to get it right, but once it is, I totally can't feel it. Love it!