The other day my youngest son made a special point of asking me if I knew what happened at Washington Mutual. I assured him that unless he had more than $100,000 in that one bank he didn’t have to worry because of the FDIC. Then he commented on the economy and how hard it was going to be for people. I told him that people will just have to not spend every penny they get, save for emergencies and live with spending less. Then he made the comment, “Yeah, but you get used to certain luxuries.”
I had an epiphany, not necessarily about the economy, but about the ecology and the way we live. I realized that over this past year my fundamental belief system about my personal impact on and responsibility to our environment has been altered, and it all began with compost. There’s something about the circle of growing the seed that makes the plant that makes the fruit/vegetable that makes the scrap that goes into the compost pile that makes the compost that’s used as the fertilizer that goes back into the ground to grow the seed to make the plant and so on, and so on, and so on. It gives you an appreciation for the circle of life.Â I don’t ever want to go without the “luxury” of shelter, running water, electricity or gas, but some luxuries equal wastefulness which equals negative impact on the environment.
I’ve slowly made changes in the way I live to help lessen my carbon footprint on the world. While reading about composting I was better able to understand and assimilate the information about what pesticides and chemicals do to our environment , which is something that can be avoided by using organic pesticides and fertilizers. I’m very proud of the fact that except for the two applications in March, I ditched my Miracle Grow, which I have sworn by for years and used only compost and bone meal to fertilize my plants this year. I am now more cognizant of the fact that the vegetables I buy from the store come to me with a layer of poison on them if they weren’t grown organically. And that makes you think more about the animals and the hormones and antibiotics that they are fed that make their way through the food chain to us mere humans. Everything I consume now I think about the potential toxins I’m exposing myself to.
I found compact fluorescent bulbs at the dollar store and bought $50 worth (split them with my mother-in-law) and swapped out every light that I could. Now, to be honest, if I hadn’t found them for $1 I’m not sure I would have bought so many, but I feel like I’m doing my part. I can’t say I’ve actually seen a big drop in my electric bill, but that could also be due to older appliances running the bill up.
I did splurge when the washer went out and got a front loader which is supposed to use less water than top loaders and it is Energy Star compliant.
I wash dishes the old fashioned way, but I’m more aware of the wasted water. Now I don’t let the water run the entire time I’m washing the dishes so that I don’t waste so much water.Â
I make a special effort to turn off lights when I leave the room to not only lower my bill, but to lower the overall power demand. If the power demand is lower, the pollutants caused to generate the power at the power company goes down.
When you grow a few of your own vegetables or buy locally grown vegetables you help lessen the carbon footprint associated with importing vegetables, such as the cost of fuel and the vehicle emissions.
Living green is a cost effective way to live. When you reuse and recycle you save dollars and cents. When you walk instead of ride you exercise your body. When you ride public transportation you stop emissions from polluting the air. If everybody did their little part the world would be a better place.
One of my future green projects is to get rid of the front lawn and plant edibles and perennials, which will lessen water usage. I just have to plan it where it’s aesthetically pleasing.