I deleted my Facebook account, so I suspect no one is going to read this anyway (without the notice and my lag in posting, I think momentum is lost). So I’ll post what I’ve been thinking about for some time now for my own posterity, if nothing else.
10 Ways to Be Nicer to the World that Sustains Us:
1) Reuse aluminum foil
For real, that stuff never breaks down – ever – and if you are gentle with it, you can totally reuse it for the next thing (e.g., cooking potatoes in the oven)
2) Pure castille soap instead of regular shampoo or body wash
The commercially produced stuff is full of sodium laurel sulfate and parabens (not to mention a bunch of other crap that is totally toxic and pollutes the body’s well balanced systems). Dr. Bronner makes a really good line (http://www.drbronner.com/) but you may have to just ignore the crazy “All One” faith rants that are posted all over the labels.
3) No plastic
This has been especially hard with little kids in the house, but I use the metal lunch containers now to send food to school or on trips (instead of the baggies or Ziploc containers) and for the baby, there are these really sweet silicone food containers that we love called Kinderville Little Bites.
4) No factory farmed meat
It’s too cruel. Even Hitler himself has got to feel bad about eating animals that were raised in those kinds horrific conditions. Pay a little bit more and support the farmers who are treat their animals with respect and fairness.
5) Reusable gift bags
As the holidays approach, we turn our minds to the seemingly endless wrapping that’s needed to turn all that loot into a mess of festive surprises. My solution was to buy some Christmas-themed fabric and sew up different sized bags. We use them every year for our gifts under the tree.
This is a car sharing program that works really well in an urban centre. We made the decision to live close to downtown so that we wouldn’t be dependent on a vehicle to get everywhere (the suburbs are hell for this). We can jump on the streetcar or walk just about everywhere we need to go, but there are times when a car is useful (e.g., bringing home a grocery haul). In those times, we turn to AutoShare. It allows you to rent a car for a couple of hours at a time and the price (8 or 9 dollars an hour) includes gas, insurance and maintenance. Way cheaper than buying our own car, and 10 or so people sharing the car means that 9 or so cars are kept off the road.
7) Less Packaging
I buy loose mushrooms and put them in my cloth bag to bring them home. Good for two reasons: packaged mushrooms are massively wasteful; and the plastic produce bags are avoided (see earlier rant re: plastic produce bags from hell)
8) Bulk Laundry and Dish Soap
More on this “less packaging” idea… if you buy your soaps in bulk, you save money and you can reuse the bottles they come in. At Grassroots, if you take in your empty laundry or dish soap bottle, you can refill it over and over. It’s way cheaper than buying a new bottle every time.
9) Wooden Toys
The cheap plastic toys we buy from Toys R Us are made in China, with almost no environmental regulations or standards. That means tonnes of crap pumped into the air and water, and people working with toxic materials, that are shaped into colourful representations of vehicles, babies and other miniature goods, which are then shipped across continents back to us, so we can give them to our children (who will then put them in their mouths). This is crazy, but we don’t think about it because it’s so commonplace. Wooden toys are way lovelier (handmade ones especially) and they don’t leech chemicals that cause tumours.
10) Turn out the lights
This is really obvious, but it’s amazing how often we leave the lights on unnecessarily. We leave a room, but the lights stay burning away. Cut down on your energy bill, and save some energy from being wasted. This past summer, we went to the Exhibition where we saw a display on how much energy things use. To keep a 5 watt lightbulb shining, we had to turn a lever around and around spastically. Unbelievable. It really opened my eyes to how much energy we use in a day – and we’ve been on a mission to reduce that (our bank accounts will also be grateful).
Anyone else have any good ideas to share?