Start Small

Monday, August 30, 2010

If you watched either of the movies I recommended over the weekend, you might be totally depressed about the state of the world.

Or at least a little disturbed and perhaps wondering, "What can I do?"

My first piece of advice: Don't quit your job and trek to Patagonia. A third copycat surely won't sell as well.

Take a moment to mourn the loss of that dream, and now - focus. Here is what you can do. You can start making little changes, every day. Yes you, the carpool mom with dirty hair. (By the way, kudos for not showering today. You are saving water! Hold that greasy head just a little higher.) YOU can change the world.

How? Start small:

(1) Choose "No Receipt" at the ATM and gas pump. Do you really need it? Probably not. And lookie there - you just saved paper!
(2) Turn off the lights when you leave a room, and teach your children to do the same. My 3 year old can reach the switches and this is a great job for him.
(3) Don't rinse your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Your machine can usually handle the gunk, and no rinsing makes cleaning up that much faster.
(4) Switch to cloth napkins. I thought, "No way! I've got small boys!" But guess what? Big cloth napkins are easier for them to keep in their laps, and they can handle a messy spaghetti dinner. I do enough laundry that it is easy to toss the dirty napkins in with whatever is getting washed next. And we feel so civilized.
(5) Measure your laundry detergent. Read the label and see how much is required for a regular load. Often, you only need to fill the cap to the halfway mark. Bonus: Your deterent lasts twice as long!
(6) Bring reusable bags to the grocery store and everywhere else. No one is going to look at you funny, I promise. Unless you still haven't washed your hair. Be sure and wash the bags periodically, too.
(7) Talk to your children about the beauty around them. Point out funny shaped clouds, and birds flying by. Notice flowers and bugs. Talk about how we are so fortunate that God gave us a beautiful world, and that we must take care of it.
(8) Use more dish towels in your kitchen and fewer paper towels. When you must use paper towels (still a daily must for me), buy recycled.
(9) Air dry your clothes. Or at least turn the dryer on for half your normal time, and then hang them up to finish drying.
(10) Recycle!

Got more ideas? Please share. . .

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3 Responses to “Start Small”

  1. I try to plan our weekly errands to combine trips so we don't waste gas sitting in traffic. And we have one "at-home" day a week where we do not drive. Instead we normally walk to the park so we don't go too stir-crazy.
    Andrea (your random reader)

  2. I have 2! 1) Use plastic containers with lids instead of ziplocs. (Yes, you must wash them, but at least there's nothing going in the trash.) 2) I live in the ATL, where we must bag yard waste. For years I used the brown paper yard waste bags, but I finally bought a few yard waste trash cans. (Yes, the paper bags compost, but I was having to buy a lot of bags.)
    Jennifer (a friend of a couple of your friends)

  3. Great list!
    Hmm...other things...
    shorter showers; walking more; avoid plastic, paper, and styrofoam; buy a water filter instead of bottled water; grow your own vegetables (I love your garden!), use as much natural light as possible...
    And some people are totally grossed out by this this, so this isn't for everyone, but some people advocate not flushing every single time when you go number 1. Evidently each flush uses a substantial amount of water. If the sources I have read are correct, each flush uses an amount of water that is greater than the amount of safe drinking water that the average person in Africa has access to for the entire day. Food for thought!