Still, I believe it is really important to live every day as if it is Earth Day. It is my opinion that Americans are extremely consumer crazy, using and abusing the Earth no matter the cost just for the sake of convenience. I've been SO guilty of this my whole life but didn't realize it until I spent almost two years living with less in Africa. Now that I am back, it has been a challenge learning to live with less in a place where more is more. Beyond that, it's been good for me to think about what small things our family can do to bring about change. I don't think that one recycling family will end global warming, but I do believe that God made the Earth-I should care about the fact that in many places, it looks like the image below!
We can't always buy organic (come on people...there is a reason why we all call it "Whole Pay Check" instead of Whole Foods), and I'm not to the point where I am willing to take cold showers every day, but there are other ways to be green. You all know my top favorite ways-second hand shopping and cloth diapering!!! Those are easy because it's fun, but there are lots of other easy things we can do to cut back on overuse of water, electricity and just plain trash. Here is a quick article pointing out 10 Easy Ways to go green while at home. A personal pet peeve is when lights are not turned off when leaving a room (thanks dad!)! Dan is still getting used to this, but I think it's an important thing for us to teach Eli. We are also teaching him to keep the water off while brushing his teeth. We use a cup of water, and that's all you get. If you can do it while camping, why not at home?
When it comes to cleaning products, there's a lot we can do. Even if you recycle, many of the so called "recyclable" plastics are not re-usable. Here are some great resources for non-toxic house cleaners you can make yourself. A major plus (besides them being non-toxic) is being able to re-use those plastic spray bottles. Plus, it's much cheaper to make cleaners at home. It's a win-win situation!
Before Earth Month is over, I highly recommend you celebrate by watching No Impact Man. It's a great (and funny) documentary about one small family giving up all modern conveniences for 1 year while living in New York City. The goal is for them to see what they can actually live without, realistically. I loved this movie, not only because of the shop-aholic gossip magazine reading wife, but because it was a real picture of what real families can do to make small changes. These people are not freaky granola types who yell at everyone with a car. They simply tried out this project and their lives were forever changed. (If you have Netflix, it's on instant play)
My favorite quote from this movie:
"What if we called it the year I lost 20 lbs without going to the gym once, or the year we didn't watch tv and we became much better parents as a result, or the year we ate locally and seasonally and it ended up reversing my wife's pre-diabetic condition.."
This small charming real life family was changed over the course of that "No Impact" year. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me!