Monday, December 31, 2007

The Final Countdown

Well, I would think that if one is going to start something big - it should feel like there is a life altering moment before them. I’m not feeling it - I’m about to change the way I do things, but I don’t think of it as such a momentous thing. Maybe it’s because there are just so many changes to be made that I can’t think of it as just one big thing, or maybe it’s because hindsight will be what defines what I do.

I do know that I’ve made one choice already. I think it’s a good one. I’ve used the same hairspray for years (think 1980’s big hair) - I don’t use it all the time, but it’s aerosol. I’m thinking it should be the first thing to go. So I’m switching to a non-aerosol version. This will take care of both the emissions and the need of safe disposal for the cans. I read that non-aerosol hairspray doesn’t add VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) to the atmosphere and that’s a good thing. Did you know that in 1999 in Oregon, in one day 2.5 tonnes of VOC’s a day come from hairspray? Compare that to 70 tonnes a day for cars and I think that’s pretty significant for something from a teeny can. Now I can’t say how much one can puts out, but if I use 4 or 5 cans a year, then this will add up a little. If everyone who uses aerosol hairspray switched one can - just one can - to non-aerosol it would make a big difference. Now this won't start until I buy some hairspray - but I already have a little pump bottle of it and the other can is nearly empty, so it will be soon.

I've been thinking about all the changes to come. If I make one change a week, that's 52 changes. If I make one change each day, that's 366. I think I'll fall somewhere in between the two. As I said before - baby steps, a little done over a long time will be better than a lot over the short term. It's too easy to go full bore into something, and then burn out.

Tonight is New Year's Eve - the cusp of all things possible. While we will enjoy our evening with family this year, we will also be looking to the future and all the great and wonderful things that await us.

Happy New Year to All!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

One Big Footprint!

OK - It's true. I have big feet - both figuratively and literally. Looking around my home I find the idea of a Year of Living Greener a little bit overwhelming. I have so much stuff - and I can't just toss it to make it go away. Now, even more than before, I have to make sure to do the right thing and dispose of items properly. I wish we could compost - that would ease the guilt I have about cleaning out my fridge. With Christmas just past it is full to the brim, but so many things didn't get used up in time and will have to be tossed. And that's just one little spot in our home.

I have a lot of decisions to make, that's for sure. We need a serious declutter around here and I will pack away everything we don't need for a garage sale this summer. I'll also consign some things, donate some things, freecycle some things - the list goes on. When I think about clearing out, I know I can recycle a lot, reuse some, and I've had success with putting some things on craigslist and freecycle so that they get one more use (at least) before being recycled. But still, all this takes time - a very precious commodity around here.

What about cleaning? I know I should replace all my cleaners with more environmentally friendly ones - but the frugal woman in me says I have to use up what I have first (and that the 'good' stuff is expensive!)

What about food? Do I need to go all organic, do the 100 mile diet, eat no meat? I have a child with allergies, so good food for him is important. And how do I get all this good stuff? I have so little time as it is, going to the produce market, organic grocer, etc. is time consuming (and did I mention expensive?)

I want to do the right thing - but the big box stores have the right price and usually what I need. I can get it all in one place and save money. Of course then I'm also not using so much gas - driving around for stuff isn't green either. But shopping there isn't green... Oh - too many things to think about.

As for transportation - I use both car and transit (a necessary thing if you have a small child to go to daycare and terrible transit service where you live) I go one way and my husband goes the other - it takes us each 1.5 hours to get to work. Crazy! So we will think about a house and a better location - yet how will that work with our current home in the middle of our commutes already? Work at home? Work sometimes at home? Change job location?

The more I think about it, the more questions there are, the more the choices abound - it really is quite overwhelming all the possibilities you have to consider. And now that 'being green' is the buzzword, more choices are thrown at us everyday.

This journey should be an interesting one. Seeing the difference in our lives from now to the end of 2008 will be exciting. I think I'll take pictures of our home now, too. After all, being more conscious of what I do will also mean living more simply - buying less 'stuff', being more organized, and in the end, probably being less messy!

I'll sleep on all these ideas in my head. Choosing what to start with is important. I know it can't all be done at once, but rather as a succession of baby steps.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Getting Ready

I've been thinking for quite some time about how to make changes that make a difference to the world I live in. As a busy Mom, working full-time, it's not easy to change the way I do things - after all there are only so many hours in the day! But I'm willing to try. I want to be a good example for my son - to do something to build a better future for him.

I want to practice the 3 -R's - reduce, reuse, recycle. I want use what still works and replace things in a more environmentally friendly way. I have lots of ideas and have picked up a few books to help me out.

I guess the big question is Can someone like me change enough to make a difference?

And so the journey begins.