What is so neat about watching this movie is that I had read the No Impact Man blog during the time he was embarking on this "experiment". If you aren't familiar with the blog or the movie, Colin embarked on a year-long trial with his wife and child to see how little they could impact the earth. This means they tried to only eat locally, cut out trash, stopped using chemical cleaners, phased out electricty and got around using their own two feet, bicycles or scooter.
The documentary had an inspirational influence on me. We do our best here to lighten our load on the environment. We're vegan for starters, which does create a huge reduction but we also try to be good about the recycling, reusable bags, making stuff from scratch a lot and only one of us commutes to work. We have a high efficiency washer & dryer and only do about 6 loads a month. We haven't used a dishwasher in 10 years. So all that isn't bad to start. But after watching the documentary, we're inspired to try and push ourselves to do a bit more.
So, what are we going to put into place? Well...
- Eliminate eating out, especially take out, unless we're going out for a social occassion with friends or family
- Reduce/Eliminate food packaging by buying in bulk, making stuff on our own (granola for cereal, bread, tomato sauce, almond milk, veggie/bean burgers, etc.) and freezing or storing it in reusable containers. Bring our own reusable bags for shopping and bulk and produce buying.
- Remove our names from all catalogs and ask our banks and bills to go paperless.
- Stop buying commercial cleansers and make ours from natural options including borax, castile soap, baking soda and vinegar
- Use up all of our current stock of food items and personal care items before buying more
- Stop using paper towels (except for pet messes) and swiffer cloths. Instead use sponges and cloth towels, cloth napkins and broom, dust pan and steam mop
- Cut down our overall consuption (HUGE issue!)
- Borrow or barter before buying
- Attempt to reuse/refill packaging before recycling
- Sell or donate items that are just taking up physical and mental space. If they are not getting actively used they need to go.
- Low energy evenings. This means turing out the lights and turning off the TV/games at dusk. We will relax, read, etc. We don't need or want so much sensory input all the time.
- Hold out on turning on the AC or heaters. It's cool in the house now with the windows open, the fans on and the attic fan on. It was above 80 degrees today and we still felt okay in the house. Our goal is to see how long we can go into May before it gets too warm inside.
- Create and maintain our garden. Keep composting but do more such as using our bean soaking water to water the plants.
- Buy most of our produce from the farmer's market. We pretty much do this any ways but we want to be better about eating seasonally.
- Install a clothes line to dry some of our laundry
- Work on house projects we have the stuff for but have been putting off.
It seems like a lot but I don't think it will be that difficult. These are all things we like and want to do but we just have not sat down and decided to to do them. We have a few things we need to put into place, like the clothing line and some window fans, but these are all doable.
We'll keep you informed with what's working and what isn't. What are something you would like to do or suggest to us?