Friday, April 22, 2016

Keepin' it Green

While the other 364 days a year are just as important, Earth Day is a good day to reflect on how we protect our planet.  I'm not perfect - far from it, in fact.  My husband and I have a saying "If we can stop pursuing perfection, we can enjoy what's really great." That balance is what I strive for in my life.  While part of me would love our home to be as 'green' as humanly possible, I have to balance that with the demands of my careers, my family, and still make time for me.

Politics aside (and I can't believe this is a political conversation), our earth is really important (duh), and we aren't exactly leaving things in a better shape than we found them.  I quickly admit our house uses paper towels in the kitchen, I run the sink while brushing sometimes, and a slew of other crimes against our planet.  But I want to share some of the easy ways we help reduce, reuse, and recycle, all while retaining our sanity.

  1. Personal Care products - December 2015, President Obama signed a law banning microbeads from our soaps, toothpastes, etc.  These tiny plastic beads might make your skin feel smooth, but they don't dissolve and end up finding their way into lakes and rivers.  But even before then, we had gotten rid of them after reading how they damage natural habitats. We also only use antibacterial soap in the kitchen, and use regular hand soap in the bathrooms after reading how overuse of antibacterial soap can contribute to resistant bacteria and the risks of triclosan.  In fact, we mostly rely on locally made Herbal Blis Soaps, instead of harsh soaps.  I've actually found my skin is softer and I use less lotion than when I was using other brands.  Same with deodorant, I switched from extra strength stuff to Tom's of Maine and find that I sweat less and don't expose myself to aluminium.  
  2. We compost - Okay, we aren't experts at this, but we keep a bowl in our kitchen for scraps (no animal protein, only veggies, fruits, egg shells, etc,) and dump in the compost bin as the bowl fills.  I've been lazy and haven't kept up with it this winter, but have a renewed energy to help turn more of our waste into plant food.
  3. Fuel efficiency - we drive our most efficient car any time we go somewhere as a family.  Sure, we'd have more leg room in the Jeep, but the Ford gets better mileage (not as good as my old Honda Insight...), and my husband takes his motorcycle to and from work when weather cooperates.  I'd love a Tesla, but I think that purchase is a few years off!
  4. Food choices - I know I don't always make the best choices for meals, but I feel like we do a good job with some specific choices.  Hyvee stores make it easy to shop local, whether it is produce, meat department, bakery or dairy, there are local options that required less shipping to get to the store and like knowing I'm supporting my local economy.  I prefer Chipotle over Qdoba because Chipotle's meat sources don't use antibiotics unnecessarily, which many say is contributing to antibiotic resistant bacteria strains.  Basically anytime we have to choice and one is more natural (like Zarbee's vitamins!), we try to choose natural.
  5. Recycling - this is another easy one for us.  Our city provides a large tote that we wheel to the curb every other Friday and the contents are hauled away to be sorted and recycled.  Plus our pop cans/bottles are recycled as part of Iowa's deposit program. 
I'm sure there's a few things I'm missing and our house is far from perfect.  But if each of us tries to do 10% better, I'm sure we can make a lasting impact for our kids and grandkids!