Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Five: Earth Day

In lieu of yesterday being Earth Day, today's 5 will be what I am doing, or am trying to do, to make living less toxic for the Earth.

I haven't always been very earth friendly with the way I live. Up until recently I haven't really thought much about it. I hear about everything needing to be "greener" or "organic", and the cynical side in me thinks about how much money everyone is making by putting a "green" or "organic" label on products. However, with a toddler under my care and learning from my actions I began to think about what "going green" might really mean.

I certainly don't call what I do "going green". I like to think of it as helping the Earth. Whether you know it or not, everything you do effects the Earth and as inhabitants of this planet we have a responsibility to cultivate, maintain and protect it. Once I discovered how my actions, or lack thereof, would make an impact, I began to rethink my cynical ways.

5 easy somethings I can do to help the Earth

  • Recycle- This seems like it should be easy, right? But, oh boy... Last summer I located the closest recycling center and made weekly/bi-weekly trips. After about a month or two things began to get more complicated. It seemed like such an inconvenience. Plus, the plastic bins I kept the recyclables in began to get stinky which proved to be the last straw. I didn't want to wash out all of the cans/bottles, sort through and shred papers, break down boxes or deal with stinky, gross plastic bins all while chasing a toddler. (Way to make a case for recycling, right?) BUT, I should. I chose to turn my back on something I feel is right. It's such a small thing that can make such a big difference. I persevere this year and find a way to make recycling work for my family.

  • Buy Local- Support your local farmers and buy their produce. In return, you'll get fresher, better tasting food that hasn't traveled hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles away. 10 Reasons to Eat Local Food

  • Plant a Garden- I suppose growing my own food has been instilled in my by my father. I remember in my early elementary school years watching my dad till up the garden and a few weeks later weeding that same garden. I always pulled up the cucumbers because I thought they were weeds. Now that I have a yard of my own, growing my own food has always been on the "to do" list. This year's 4X4 garden is fairly small (smaller than what I would like, anyway). Each year I plan on increasing it's size. And I must say how exciting it is to see my nearly 2 year old learning about seeds, dirt, plants, worms and gardening. I am so happy to share this with her. Square Foot Gardening is a great way to use the what space you have to its' fullest potential. And if you don't have a yard, use old plastic containers to grow herbs or tomato plants.

  • Composting- If you do decide to garden, composting your trash is an excellent way to feed it. And if you don't decide to garden, composting is an excellent way to feed my garden! (haha) I have had my compost trash can for a long time and finally decided to make the plunge and go for it. I am using a large rubbermaid trashcan that we bought when we first moved. I poked holes all over it to help with ventilation and, because it's round, I can mix everything together by rolling it. It takes awhile to see the results but it will be worth it. Plus, I get to look for worms with my daughter to put in the compost bin. Can you tell we love dirt? 30 Unusual Items You Can Compost

  • Homemade Cleaners- This is something very new to me. I had heard of people making their own cleaning supplies but I guess it just seemed "weird". Lo and behold, here I am wanting to make the switch. I like the idea of knowing EXACTLY what is in whatever I am using. Most cleaning products are packed with chemicals and additives that are bad for our bodies (ever checked the warning labels??) and horrible for our waters. Using lemons, vinegar, baking soda, borax and a few choice essential oils will help the environment, my health AND my wallet.

  • I've used the Christian HomeKeeper Network to find the bulk of my homemade cleaner recipes. Once my laundry detergent runs out, I plan on using this recipe to make my own laundry detergent. I am also in the research stage of making toothpaste, deodorant, facial cleanser and shampoo. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Whatever gets put on your skin gets absorbed into your body, into your bloodstream and into your organs, as has been proven by many studies. Essentially, whatever is toxic to put in your mouth is toxic on your skin as well. Kind of a selling point for me.

The point is now that I know, I can't just do nothing. Doing one small something is better than nothing. A friend told me once that it's baby steps. Be mindful of what you buy and how that in turn will effect the planet.

Making a cleaner, healthier world has to start somewhere. A way to start is by becoming informed. There are countless websites with oodles of information. That's where I started: There are also documentaries that are truly eye opening. No Impact Man and Food Inc. will make you think.

What are some ways that you're helping the Earth?

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