Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Going Green, week one

*Disclaimer: “Going Green” has become rather a pop phrase over the past couple years. We don’t hold to all the beliefs wrapped up in this, and, like any new “craze” I think there’s a lot in the trend that’s missing the mark. Marketers are really enjoying it, and lots of things are now labeled “green”, “environmentally friendly”, etc. Which may or may not be true…but buying more stuff you don’t really need (because it’s labeled “green” after all!) isn’t green at all. That said, here’s what we do believe, and what I mean when I use the phrase: we believe it’s wise to be good stewards of what we have. We believe God created a beautiful world and that we should do our best to preserve and enjoy its beauty. Health is also very important to me, and this typically goes hand-in-hand with a “green” lifestyle. I want to protect, preserve, and build up my family’s health as much as possible. I also want to contribute (in the small ways I can) to healthier air for the sake of my in-utero babies, children, grandchildren, and future generations. We’re also major savers and hate waste….which motivates this lifestyle, too.*

I think my biggest motivators for making greener choices were health and saving money. I’m very passionate about finding what’s healthiest for my family- not just in food, but in our general living. I’m also a major saver and non-waster. So naturally, those first perked my interest in cloth diapering. I’ve always been a fan of not wasting and doing what we can for the environment, but it wasn’t a passion. Ben, on the other hand, was much more into the environmental aspects of the green choices we’ve made. And, through his passion and through the research I’ve done the passion’s caught me. I’m way more passionate about living a greener lifestyle than I ever thought I would be just a few years ago.

We both grew up in families that did a few things….recycling, for instance. Ben’s family also composts religiously. My mom has since started making greener choices, like cloth diapering. They also buy in bulk and cook a lot from scratch- mostly for the health/financial benefits. When Ben and I got married, we decided to take things a few steps beyond our families. And over the past (almost) two years, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds, gradually accumulating lots of new ideas. Currently, I have about a dozen ideas we’re working on implementing…and probably several dozen already firmly established.

Going green can seem like an overwhelming decision to some people, but it doesn’t have to be, especially with baby steps. You might choose one small area to start working on- like cloth napkins- and once it’s a completely implemented area of your life, add one more small area. You don’t have to instantly toss every convenience item you use. Even the small things make a difference. And like all of those that have started implementing a greener lifestyle, I think you’ll find once you’ve been in it for a while, that you wouldn’t go back even if you could. While it might seem like extra work at first to wash/fold cloth napkins, it can quickly become a one-minute part of your weekly routine. Cloth diapers are that way, too. If I have disposables on hand, as I did during a busy season this past December right before a trip I’d bought them for, it’s easy to settle for that. But if I don’t have them around, and am in the habit of using cloth, it doesn’t feel like a problem at all- just a part of the daily routine, like grinding my own flour. (I’ve since decided to commit to never [barring any unforeseen emergency that would cause us to turn our whole lives upside down, such as a hospitalized child] buying diapers again- but we’ll get to that later.)

I thought I’d start a series of weekly posts sharing some of the things we’ve done to become a greener family. This series will last indefinitely- currently I have enough info for a few months worth of posts, and who knows what new ideas I’ll accumulate by then! The plan is to post every Wednesday- but I won’t promise perfection. :-)

I would like to do this as a weekly link-up so you can share your ideas, too. Spread the word so we can gather a large pool of great ideas! Please kick off with a “background” post- sharing how you got into a greener lifestyle, what motivates you to continue to move in that direction, etc. Anyone is welcome to join at any time, and is not obligated to contribute weekly. Hop on over when you can, but don’t avoid it just because you can’t participate weekly!

Some topics you’ll see from me over the next few months: cloth napkins, diapers, wipes, pads, tissue/Kleenex, freezing seasonal foods, cooking from scratch and eliminating convenience foods, recycling, compost, reusable grocery bags, homemade cleaners, eliminating disposables (paper towels, saran wrap, aluminum foil, Ziplocs, paper plates, etc.), reducing plastic, hang drying laundry, canning, reducing plastic, living a minimalist lifestyle and lots more!



6 comments:

  1. Oooh...what a fun series! I'm excited to see all that you have to share! :)

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  2. And I'm hoping you'll join and share sometimes, too, since you have many great ideas. :-D

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  3. I'm excited about this series too!

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  4. I'm excited to see what you have to share!

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  5. Brianna, I can relate to when you said that your family conserved mostly for financial purposes but now you are expanding on that. I feel the same way, my mom has always taught us to conserve and we reuse Ziplocs etc, but "going green" is definitely more of my passion that it is my parents. I call myself "Christian Granola." I live in Colorado so it is very common to be of the "green" mind set but most of these people are more on the new age thought or "left over hippies," so I have a little different mindset than most of those around me. It is wonderful to live in a place where eating healthy is a way of life for most people and organic products are readily available. As Missfiit Mom mentioned in her blog, I wish all of the healthy stuff wasn't so expensive. My favorite two reusable items are reusable sandwhich bags which I got for Christmas! I saw them on Etsy from a place called WrapCycle. Then bags from a place called OlovesM, these bags are made from recycled yoga mats. They are on the expensive side but you can find them on sale for 50% off on REI.com sometimes!

    I can't wait to read more. I cannot tell you how much you encourage people Brianna!! I am not a wife or a mother but I agree and have some of the same passions as you have so it is so much fun to read someone who is like minded.

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  6. Jessica, Thanks for stopping in and sharing! It's always really encouraging to hear from someone who's enjoying the read around here! :-)

    Yeah, I want to do reusable sandwich bags....just got fabric to try experimenting. :-D

    I love Memphis Misfit! :-) And yes....it's frustrating that it's so expensive to live different, sometimes. :-D

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