I recently did an interview with a local radio station. I’d been invited on to talk about Earth Month and what we can do in our homes to reduce our carbon footprint.
I offered up my usual advice — neither new nor glamorous, but nonetheless worth repeating. We must, I said, remember that the three Rs start with “reduce.” We absolutely must reduce our consumption of fossil-fuel-burning energy. And then I outlined how incredibly simple — as well as economically sound — this is. If you’re doing it right, I said, living green should, overall, save you money.
The radio interviewer interrupted. “Hasn’t Earth Day lost its appeal?” he asked. “Didn’t it used to be trendy? Don’t you worry now that no one cares?”
It’s back to school time for most families, which means it’s a great time to think about how your school is doing on the green front — especially when it comes to the basics, like recycling.
If your school doesn’t already have a recycling program in place, consider starting one. Experts say the general steps to follow are:
Our bodies are made of it (up to 70 percent) and we can’t survive without it for more than a few days. However, water, one of our most precious resources, is something most of us take for granted.
I count myself lucky on the “water front.” As a New Yorker, I was thrilled to learn that my city’s water supply is considered one of the best and that NYC is one of the five large cities not required to filter its drinking water. That’s pretty radical considering most of the world’s pure water supply is scarce.
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.
Right now, I am living with 4 plates, 1 mug, 7 spoons, 2 books, 1 sofa, 4 folding chairs and a folding table, a mattress on the floor and the rest of the basics to get me, my husband and our almost-3-year-old through January in our temporary apartment.
All the rest of our stuff is on a ship crossing the Atlantic from Sweden.
A friend recently confided in me that she, too, was increasingly alarmed by news of climate change, water shortages, chemicals in our kids’ toys — letting me know she was prepared to take action. From now on, she announced triumphantly, she planned to reuse gift bags. “And if people think that means I can’t afford new ones, well … that’s fine.”
In most parts of the country, March has moved in like a lamb rather than a lion, and spring has sprung! Although a snowstorm or two might still prolong our spring fever, people everywhere are throwing open their windows and welcoming the season’s warm, fresh air and light into their homes. And, while this yearly practice brings with it a sense of invigoration and clarity, it also causes us to take pause and literally see our homes in a new light. Months of sealed-up windows, low lighting and indoor play have left our homes, um, a little dusty, mildly cluttered and in need of a pretty thorough once-over (or a twice-over for those of us who live with little paws — both of the child and the four-legged sort).
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.
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.
If you’ve just done a big spring cleaning or you are about to, you’re probably thinking about (or kicking yourself for) how much clutter has built up since your last major clean. What is all this stuff and how does it get into your home? Are you hanging on to things to keep them out of landfill or because they enrich or serve your life in some way?