Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How we are getting a little greener, day by day.

We're doing more little thing to try and green up our household.

We are situated on 2 acres just outside of our town of 30,000 people. Not exactly urban sprawl, but 2 acres still requires lot of mowing. I've surrendered the lower 1/4 acre back to nature. Actually, the conversion to nature started at the beginning of summer when the river flooded. A nice meadow is growing, and I appreciate the savings in time and gas.

We've replaced nearly every incandescent light bulb with compact florescents.

I'm going a little bit longer between lawn mowings, trying not to be so obsessive about the grass.

I'm riding bike to work as often as my schedule lets me. I'm really enjoying this, and getting a workout as well. Also fixed up an old moped and am enjoying riding it on days when I'm too lazy to bike or its too windy.

We've cancelled delivery of the local newspaper, opting instead to read it online. We're lucky that our paper has a good online component. I enjoy not having a ton of paper to recycle each month. In addition, we're saving $30 a month ($35/mo subscription delivery vs $5 online subscription).

Earlier this summer, I installed a shade garden over a chunk of the lawn. It helps to return rainwater from the roof back to the ground, as well as water that we remove from the ground with our sump pump (we had been pumping the sump well water directly into the sewer system).

We continue to recycle, and we're trying to be more aware of buying local foods, and bulk foods that reduce packaging.

We signed up with our utility to purchase wind energy for much of our household electricity.

I paid a little bit of money to neutralize the carbon emitted from my Mercury Mountaineer. It was fairly cheap. Learn more about buying carbon credits here. Also am trying to drive more efficiently, consolidate trips, and am experimenting with a fuel additive that supposedly raises my gas mileage.

We hung a clothes line in the backyard. On days when conditions are right, we hang the laundry out to dry.

These things are all small. None of them has required any significant sacrifice in any way (time, effort or finance). Most of these items have been fun, easy to implement and hopefully will make a small difference. The goal is to sustain these changes, and continue to look at our lives and see where else we can make a difference. Its been a fun learning experience that continues to open our eyes.

For a more radical approach, check out the blog of No Impact Man.

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