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When my daughter held her first lemonade stand this past week, I was so caught up in the “milestone” aspect of it all that I totally missed out on an opportunity to add an environmental lesson to the mathematical/economical one.
When I told my husband I picked up some green beer, he assumed I meant a brew reserved for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day (which is strange since I usually don’t even wear green that day).
No, I bought the other kind of green beer: eco-beer — extra refreshing whether it’s March 17 or any other day. I don’t remember ever seeing ecological beer in the States, so I was intrigued when I saw the label while living in Sweden last year.
That’s because, for the first time in 18 months, I strapped my 11-month-old son into the double stroller and walked there.
I’m not alone. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, nearly 80 percent of respondents look for homes in pedestrian-friendly areas and 59 percent would choose a smaller home if it meant less driving.
Still, I find that once I’ve gotten into the habit of driving someplace — my daughter’s preschool, the Trader Joe’s on the other side of the highway, the garden store — I tend to keep on driving there, deeming it too far to reach on foot. The funny thing is, once I decide to test walking to a destination once, I realize not only how doable it is but also how satisfying running that errand becomes.
So now I’m on a quest of sorts: to debunk the myth that certain places in my everyday life are too far to reach on foot.
December turned into one costly month budget-wise. And what about Earth-wise? You’d think that fixing something old would be automatically better than buying something new. But, actually, when it comes to the life cycle analysis of most appliances — or their cradle-to-grave environmental impact — it turns out it’s the use of an appliance that has the biggest impact. Which means if your refrigerator is a shade of ‘70s avocado, you’ll step lighter on the planet if you embrace the energy efficiency of the 21st Century.
While there are a lot of variables to consider, here are some tips to help you decide whether to repair a broken appliance or replace it:
Nice … half-frozen veggie scraps molded together in a solid mass. Not exactly what I want to see in my compost bin. With at least five more months of cold weather before warmth and sunshine reappear, why do I even bother keeping the pile going?
Well, I guess I do know why. Diverting even a handful of potato skins from the trash gives me an unexplainable sense of satisfaction. (If you aren’t yet a composter, you just can’t relate to this strange obsession with vegetable scraps.)
So after filling my compost bin with a big batch of freshly raked leaves this weekend, I did a little online research to see what I could do to make it a wee bit more productive this winter.
And that’s exactly why I wanted to give Gaiam’s new video subscription service, GaiamTV.com, a try.
After one month of using the service (OK, to be honest, my workout routine was pretty sporadic), I trimmed my waistline by 1.5 inches and my hips by 3 inches, and I lost 1 lb. of stubborn baby weight. I can only imagine what the results would have been if I had been more consistent.
I was skeptical that this sort of thing wouldn’t appeal to me for the reasons mentioned above. But after giving it a go, I think new moms like me are ideal subscribers. Here’s why:
I’ve lost a pound in four days, and we’ve eaten healthy, organic meals the past three nights.
New diet? Nope. I just signed us up for organic produce home delivery.
I received my first delivery this week, and it’s already delivering much more than I had hoped for: a reason to try new recipes, eating fruits and vegetables I’ve never ventured to buy in the grocery store (hello, kale!), and losing weight in the process.
Also, I swear, the carrots just taste better.
We had everything we needed in that space, including a spare bedroom for guests and enough “party space” for gatherings with friends. But it didn’t take long before the lure of our first house — an 1800s Victorian — made us feel as if we needed to double our living area to 925 square feet per person. (Sound familiar?)
With the creation of Small Business Saturday this year (and its huge following!), there’s another movement taking shape this holiday season: Buy Handmade. At www.buyhandmade.org, people around the world are pledging to buy handmade gifts for loved ones this holiday season and ask that others do the same for them.
I’ve always been a huge recycler, even fishing through other people’s trashcans at work as a kind of self-proclaimed recycling police.
But you won’t find me digging in the trash anymore. Instead, I am bin-diving into the recyclables on an almost-daily basis — hunting for a new toy, utensil holder, coloring book, snack dispenser or anything else my little family and I might need.