Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Birth Into More Serious Environmental Consciousness

Even though I've been making urban-kitchen compost for some years, from my own kitchen and a multi-user kitchen nearby, and I've been worm-herding (vermiculture/worm castings/worm compost), and using all the compost and all the castings from the worms, I've been hanging back on my own personal vow for environmental right action (my personal commitment to do anything/everything in my power to do "the right thing" to help our ailing environment).

Here's how I've changed recently. It's been a fun trip to change my life this way.way. I get to give back to the environment that has supported me all these years. I've loved doing it. It might help you to know what I've done to date, 'cause if I Here's how I've changed recently. It's been a fun trip to change my life this can do it, you certainly can too!

I was upset when someone told me they were saving all their plastic bags from shopping and from the produce section. I didn't want to save all of those annoying bags, and they make a big mess trying to save them, too. BUT, I saw the Plastic Bag Folding Technique #1 on Ecokvetch under the label Plastics, and I made my storage space under the sink an environmental dream come true: 1 bag now holds all my little triangularly folded plastic bags and I wrote "Please Take With You For No-New-Plastic-Bag-Shopping" on the outside, for my roommates to consider.

Those little muslin bags at the coop are great for a lot of dry goods by the pound, and some produce, too. And my canning jars of all different sizes are helpful for everything which needs careful, more air-tight storage. I've been using alternative shopping bags for a long time. I always use re-freezable cold packs for getting my groceries home in good shape. Does anyone use ice any more?

I consulted with various experts on environmental consciousness and was referred to all the latest on how to separate our recyclables so everything that can be recycled right now, is. I've come to understand what the city takes, what our compost can turn into rich loam soil, what plastic items PSFC takes and when to bring them to the coop, and finally what absolutely has to be trashed. Whew. And I'm still learning. I'm so grateful that PSFC is already taking #5 plastic bottle tops for recycling.
I understand that even (the billions) of plastic bottle tops people throw out are an environmental nightmare for the ocean and landfills. I hope we can collect more and different number bottle tops soon.

Considering the impact that our cleaning techniques in the apartment have, I decided that the world (and my apartment) is full of rags, and I've started using them instead of swiffers. I'm reusing the swiffer mop and just stuffing my rags into the holes formerly used for the environmentally NOT sound NOT-reusable cleaning cloths (and they were an expensive habit to keep paying for. I use water and a bit of cleaning liquid I buy at the coop and even if the rags don't stay stuffed into the holes on the swiffer mop all the time, I can still clean just as well (I think better) by using that mop to push the cleaning rag back and forth on the kitchen/bathroom floors. HA !

Long ago I started using the compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent, but I'm going to have to look up how to recycle the used ones (they have mercury content). I have a feeling the answer to that question will be readily available from someone even as this is being read. And, latest addition to this posting: http://earth911.com is the place to tap into for finding out where to recycle in my zipcode. Thank you, readers ! I use nightlights that are darkness activated instead of turning on lights. A romantic twinkle in a dark apartment, right? I'm now recharging my batteries. Yay!

Unplugging all my appliances is the norm (so many use a current all the time to "start" them up quicker), including my cellphone charger. The computer goes OFF instead of SLEEP. Off is good.

What else? Is it over the top in addition to having a low water flush for the toilet, to only flush after a couple of liquid uses? I just put the top down. Hmmm. Too hard core? I don't mind. I don't leave the toilet unflushed when I'm going out. Does it help to know that most people in the world do not have flush toilets; only highly unsanitary privies?

And when I'm using water, well, I have to say, especially when I shower, I actually think of all the people in the world who have never had a hot running water shower. Wow. So, I'm careful about my water use. It's NOT necessarily a renewable resource the way that we are used to thinking about it.

There'll be more; I know I'll learn more. But meanwhile, can you stand hearing that I'm thankful to be stable enough financially to actually have the time and energy and resources to consider all of the above? It may seem pollyanna, but does my privilege to consider these things mean that I can't be aware that there are so many people in the world who don't have this same stability in their lives to be able to work on the environment the way I can?

I've changed so much since I've started considering recycling and reusing. And it feels good. Thanks never hurt anyone; I thank myself for doing all this and I think of all the other folks who are trying really hard as well; our efforts are thanking Mom Earth. I love to make the effort; it gives me more energy to do more, and I hope this effort is contagious !

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