Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Happy (Belated) Earth Day!

To begin, a quote from Helen Keller:

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do."

Last Earth Day, I made three resolutions involving making my life a little more green; I thought I'd update you as to how I was doing on last year's resolutions, and make three more for this year!

Last year, I resolved to . . .

~ air-dry, as opposed to machine-dry, most of my laundry. I was not terribly successful at this resolution, as I have a very teensie apartment and grew tired of dodging partially dry laundry all of the time. So, this is a resolution for another year -- a year when I have more outdoor space available to me. For now, I will continue to machine dry most of the time, and air-dry occasionally. Alas.

~ sign up for WindSource, a program offered by my energy company that allows participants to pay a little extra each month towards research and development of clean, wind-based energy. I did this right away, and still continue to contribute each month -- it's only increased my power bill by about a dollar a month!

~ think more about and research possibly selling/getting rid of my car and being carless for a while. This has, in my opinion, been my area of hugest success -- although I hung onto my ancient, fuel inefficient, Chevy Blazer until the early fall, when it finally died, I donated it, and haven't looked back. I now walk and take the bus/light rail most of the time, (I occasionally carpool with friends,) and have not once missed having a car. I've saved a huge amount of money, and prevented a huge amount of pollution this past year!

So, all in all, last year's Earth Day resolutions felt successful, for me. When I thought about what little changes I could make this year, I came up with the following:

1. REDUCE PAPER/JUNK MAIL: Research and sign up for online bill-pay. About half of my monthly bills are paid electronically, but I still receive a few paper bills each month, and then have to turn around and write out a few checks each month (more paper! And more gas for the post office, delivering those bills and payments.) I only have three more to switch over, so that should be a piece of cake. :) I also plan on contacting several companies who religiously mail me catalogs that I do not look at and asking them to remove me from their mailing lists.

2. SAVE ELECTRICITY: Buy and install compact fluorescent bulbs in every light fixture in my home. I have them in a few . . . but those bulbs are so darn expensive, I've been dragging my feet on replacing all of them. Slowly, over the course of the year, I hope to replace them all! I also need to purchase an air conditioner again this spring, (I got rid of my old, inefficient air conditioner last spring, and suffered greatly last summer,) and hope to buy a small, efficient, EnergyStar appliance. Anyone have window units that they really like/recommend?

3. GREEN TRANSPORT: Since I no longer have a car and walk or bus almost everywhere, I transport myself in a pretty green manner already, but I'd like to pull my bike back out, tune it up, and hop on this summer -- it can't hurt to have a third green transport option!

Let me know (leave me a comment or shoot me an email,) if you decide to make one, or several, Earth Day Resolutions this year, and I'll make a post linking all of our blogs, so people can check out what we are all doing to be a little bit greener!

Happy Belated Earth Day!


Anonymous said...

I'm in Northern CA, and it's been a dryer than usual winter, so I'm being especially conscious of my water use before they even announce retrictions.

I also realize that as important as my individual contributions are, we need changes on a corporate and governmental level, too. Here are four quick ways to make your voice heard for the environment, courtesy of the Sierra Club:

1) If water quality is a concern for you, send a message to your Member of Congress to urge co-sponsorship of the Clean Water Authority Restoration Action of 2007. http://action.sierraclub.org/a_cleanwater

2) Out, out, dam spots! It’s time to find out whether removing four dams from the Snake River could save the Columbia Basin and threatened salmon populations. Ask your Representative to support the Salmon Economic Analysis and Planning Act http://action.sierraclub.org/a_salmon

3) Who doesn’t like clean energy, right? Contact your Senators and ask them to fund new investment in clean energy by rolling back subsidies for Big Oil.

4) Think you have what it takes to fight global warming? Be part of the 2% Solution. Find out if you’re up for the challenge. http://action.sierraclub.org/a_2percent

Whatever you're doing to protect the environment, it's good!

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Awesome post, and awesome comment above. Wow, it's already been a year since your last E-Day resolutions - I remember that post and how inspired I was by it, and find myself re-inspired this year, Catherine!

We only buy compact bulbs now, and are slowing replacing the dinosaurs one by one.

I vow to begin composting this summer. There have been a couple practical road-blocks, but the time has come.

We are going to sell our too-big, gas guzzling car asap --- and get a smaller, more fuel-efficient car. I Can't wait.

and, I really like your idea of drying clothes outside, and may put a clothesline on honey's honey-do list...

Happy Earth Day!!! :o)

Anonymous said...

well i already drying clothes outside!

i already change the energy bulbs !

next resolutions!
learn to reuse and recycle more around the house.

talk to other people abut the importance of taking good care fo the earth!

i want to buy cleaning products and self care products that not impact the earth. is just that here is not easy find them. i dont even find one for washing the clothes. so i must looks for them in the internet and save lots for the shipping!

Anonymous said...

Those are great resolutions! I don't have any suggestions for an AC unit, but if/when you find one that is efficient, let us know--I know what you mean about suffering last summer. I don't have AC either, and it was horrible last year!

I like your idea about the fluorescent bulbs. I will have to start saving up to purchase those for my apt too.

I hope you had a nice weekend with Dan in town!


KleoPatra said...

Catherine, i love this post... nice resolutions, all of them...

i'm very into air drying clothes and other laundry whenever possible!!

And UGH, the paper junk mail. i take it to recycling w/out even looking at it. Such waste!!

bazu said...

I haven't posted these on my blog, but I'll make my resolutions official here:

-get the last of the toxic cleaning supplies out of my house and only buy green personal care/cleaning supplies

-switch kitty litter from clay to something natural- pine?

-start composting, at least in the summer

-buy a bike, use car less and less

Michelle said...

excellent resolutions! we have been slowly switching to compact fluorescent bulbs too.. i would buy 1 package of 2 bulbs on every second grocery trip (they are sold at my grocery store), and it only increased my bill by a little bit.. and i've been replacing the most used bulbs first (kitchen, bathroom, the lamp in my bedroom).. it's really been worth it!

i will make some resolutions myself, but i'll need a week or two to hammer out exactly what i want to do ;)

Anonymous said...

Some junk mail you just can't stop but if you want to charge them for sending you their flyers here is a fun thing to do. Most companies send a pre paid envolope with there crap so all you have to do is remove anything that has your name and address on it and then mail it back to them. I like to insert other junk mail I get to so they can pay to dispose of that for me too. Good Times.......