Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's the little things...

I've always been a very eco-conscious person. But I'm also kinda lazy. Drawn to the glamour of convenience. But all that's starting to change. In today's society it's getting harder and harder (and more expensive) to be as eco-friendly as I want to be. So while I can't do the big things on my list, (geo-thermal, >$25000!) I can do the little things to set an example on how to be easier on the earth. Just like in my Buddhist studies, where we are taught not to be preachy but to let "the way" emanate from you, I can't tell other people how to live, but I can be an example.
Over the last couple weeks I've started doing little things throughout my day with an environmental motivation. My plan is to do more and more things with this motivation and maybe someday, with a little karmic help, I can be the enviro-person I want to be.
Here's a few examples of things I (and/or my wife) have been doing:

We're switching over to natural based soaps, shampoos and personal hygeine products to put less chemicals on our bodies and into our water system.
We're using a natural, biodegradeable, bulk laundry soap that comes in a refillable container.
I'm getting much better at turning off lights when I don't absolutely need them on. Even if only for a few seconds.
I've started altering the way I drive to reduce fuel consumption.
I've started drying my hands on my shirt instead of using paper towels or blowers after washing my hands at work and in public restrooms to save paper and/or electricity.
(after some rationing by necessity) I've started using my (Rainforest Alliance Certified) tea bags twice.
Instead of putting my used tea bag on a napkin in the cafeteria because I'm too lazy to walk it to the garbage until I'm going that way anyway, I'm either putting it on a lid or something or getting up and walking it to the garbage.
I stopped drinking pop (and coffee) for this month to reduce my caffeine and sugar intake as an experiment. (I feel great btw) But I may continue as a way to use less packaged consumer products. The first "R" is REDUCE! and as a boycott of mega-corporations that threaten local ecosystems by using up valuable freshwater sources to make their products. (like water) I've been thinking about this one since I watched the documentary Tapped.

This is on top of all the stuff we usually do. Like not letting the water run while we brush our teeth or wash our hands, using cloth diapers, washing our clothes with cold water, not eating meat, etc

And then there is the stuff I plan to do. Such as, grow my own fruits, veggies and herbs, build/buy windmills/solar panels, possibly plant a bamboo stand to act as a carbon sink, replace my CFL bulbs with LEDs, get my ebike fixed, when the time comes, replace my hot water tank with a solar hot water tank, my gas riding mower with an electric one, and hopefully a Nissan Leaf or something like that. I love the idea of geo-thermal but I just can't afford that yet. I'm also going to try and burn more wood this winter to use less oil.

I guess the biggest thing is just to be more aware of the impact our choices make. Ask if there is a more eco-friendly option. Just think. Think, "What would that big hippie Matt do?"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

End of an Era

Our daughter Amelia has been going to an AMAZING pre-school since last October. Sadly, her time there will come to an end in a couple weeks. It has done great things for her. She has come out of her shell, her vocabulary has exploded, she can write her name, etc the list goes on and on. We really wanted her to keep going but it just wasn't making sense anymore. With Becky on Mat Leave and gas over $1.30/L it just wasn't adding up. On top of sending her to pre-school/daycare while someone is home everyday, there's the ~80km of driving for 2 round trips each day she goes. Despite the fact that it looks like an easy choice, it was not. Becky and I fought with ourselves (not each other) over when to take her out. If we still lived in town, no brainer, leave her in. It was 3 blocks away! So really it comes down to the driving. Stupid driving.  If I had a Nissan Leaf I wouldn't care! LOL
No matter when she had to leave, it's sad. She had all her little friends and stuff. She loved it and they loved her.
But to take the positive out of this, we will  now have 3 months to enjoy her all day every day before she goes off to Kindergarten, all day every day. AND, Ruby is already on the list for when she turns 2!!