Through word of mouth, or, er, blog,* some wonderful people out there in the 'sphere are making 2009 a year of being more gentle to the earth. The idea comes from It's Not All Mary Poppins, and her goal for this year is to start one "permanent, planet-healthy change each month". MaryP, and others that choose to join in, will be posting their change on the first Monday of each month.
I love, love, love, love this idea, and I am hopping immediately on the bandwagon. I can't promise you perfection (yes, I know, that's hard to imagine), and I have an unfortunate habit of getting all excited about things and then losing interest, forgetting about them, or just getting plain too busy. But I figure, hey, even if I only manage to implement a few changes this next year, it's better than nothing, right?
I already take my own bags to the grocery store (most of the time), I reuse my plastic bags and ziplocks as many times as possible, I save my glass jars to reuse as storage containers, M2 and I started a garden last year and will do it again this year, and we also carpool as much as we can for the kids' lessons in town and for grocery shopping. I also donate to Goodwill, reuse gift bags, and wrap presents in paper bags or in cloth I buy from the scrap bin. I reuse the big plastic cups my hubby gets from fast food places. I rarely eat meat and am trying to quit eating it completely. I feed my family meat free dishes when I can (which is pretty hard, since I'm married to a steak and potatoes kinda man). I use baking soda and/or vinegar for everything - washing my hair, exfoliating, brushing my teeth, heartburn medicine, cleaning, laundry, etc. Baking soda and vinegar are my Windex. We use cloth napkins and cotton rags, and I rarely (if ever) buy paper napkins or paper towels.
We don't have mandatory recycling out here, and last year I did pretty well with doing it myself and hauling it into town, but I quit when we put our house on the market. I also always forget to bring a coffee mug with me into town, but M2 has been kind enough to purchase one for me and bring it along when we're together. I won't count those as things I do, as I'm not really currently doing them.
My goal for January is to begin recycling again. It's easy enough to do, I just got lazy about it when we got the house on the market. Which is a horrible excuse, I know. To help me remember to work on it, I took a blue highlighter and wrote "RECYCLE" in huge letters across the entire month of January on my kitchen calendar. I can still write over/through it, but I will see it every day.
I'm by no means perfect (again, I know, it's shocking). I do a lot of things that are probably pretty horrible for the environment, but I'm trying much harder to be careful. If I can institute more changes and keep them up, I'll be pretty happy. It amazes me how easy a lot of the changes I have made were to make. So I resolve to try my best. How's that?
*Thanks to Zayna's Garden for posting on this and including MaryP's link. For some reason my links don't change text color all the time, so please float your pointer around to see what lights up. There may be more links than you think! :)