You’ve reduced your energy and material consumption, you’ve been recycling now for years and your winter collection of compost is nearly ripe enough to be tilled into this year’s fledgling garden. Accordingly, as Earth Day’s 40th approaches, you’re feeling pretty okay about your good green behavior.
I had an interesting realization last month when I joined my sisters-in-laws on their annual pilgrimage to the mall for some Black Friday consumerism. We all left the mall pretty much empty-handed, and I realized that I just don’t really shop at malls and chain stores anymore, particularly for gifts. Instead, I am trolling the cute indie boutiques for the perfect, unique gift, and searching online for interesting options from fun online retailers. Luckily, when it comes to foodies on my list, there are plenty of options, so shopping’s a breeze. Here are some places to look online for some wonderful cooking-related gifts that have an environmentally friendly focus.
My friends used to laugh at me because, even as a fully grown adult, I’d take Flintstone’s vitamins instead of those giant horse pills they make for grown-ups. But I’d explain: “One Flintstone inside me does more good than a bottle full of horse pills I never touch.”
Have a hybrid? Enjoying riding solo in the carpool lane? Those days could be numbered.
Some in California’s legislature are proposing new rules that would either grant solo driving privileges only to vehicles powered by alternative fuels like electricity and natural gas or would require hybrids to get at least 65 miles per gallon, rather than the 45 miles per gallon combined city-highway mileage required today. Why the changes? Too many hybrids.
Perhaps stillness comes naturally to some people. I, however, am not one.
There’s something satisfying about filling up the recycling bin with soup cans, milk cartons, wads of aluminum foil and other materials that would otherwise take up space in our landfills. I feel particularly virtuous on the days when our recycling bin is fuller than our garbage bin.
Environmentalists have often acted as if getting people to become more eco-minded was simply a matter of providing more information: Tell someone that their car is contributing to climate change, for example, and the thinking is they’ll be more likely to switch to public transportation.
But some organizations are realizing that good old-fashioned peer pressure might work just as well—if not better.
My foray into the world of being crafty was much appreciated by our four-legged family member.
Having lived most of my life in metropolitan areas — with just about every mega chain store in easy reach — I had never made anything for myself and almost never bought anything used.
A couple of years ago, a friend invited me to join a citywide competition to try to reduce residents’ gas and electricity usage. We teamed up in groups of five households or more, and for a month, did whatever we could to cut back on our in-home energy consumption. At the end of the month, we submitted our utility bills both for that month and for the same month from the previous year. The teams that had the most year-to-year reductions won.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought about installing solar panels or a tankless water heater, and then balked because of the cost. If so, you’re not alone.
Berkeley, however, has come up with an innovative program to help homeowners afford solar systems—and it’s one that is starting to make it possible for homeowners around the country to finally afford renewable energy systems and other energy efficiency improvements.