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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Going Green-for the Not-So-Right-Reasons

Jules here-

I've always considered myself a bit of a "hippie-conservative"; I support both people and the Earth. However, unlike a true environmentalist I definitively value human life over all else. I believe that we have to be good stewards to the Earth, but not at the cost of people's lives. That being said, I haphazardly became quite the conservationist-- mostly due to my cheapskate persona and my need for some outdoor-living.  So here are some ways that I am GREEN even for the non-altruistic reasons:

Enjoying nature!
  • Recycling- My town in New Hampshire went to "single-stream recycling"- which means I don't have to sort anything prior to recycling. The simplicity of the recycling appeals to my naturally lazy attitude towards trash sorting.  We have bins that have a mish-mash of paper, cans, bottles, etc.  It's easy, it saves the town thousands of dollars, it helps the environment- AND I use only 1-2 garbage bags a week!! With a family of five, it's quite impressive the amount of trash-avoidance we do by recycling. I love saving money on trash bags, PLUS I get to help the environment and my town.

  • Paper towel use- Paper towels ain't cheap, and they can't be recycled.  I use them sparingly while I use rags, dish towels and washcloths in their stead.  I cringe when I see house guests flippantly wash their hands and dispose of a paper towel instead of using my hand-towels.

    Grace Crafting
  • Re-using- With homeschool, my basement has become a treasure-trove of reusable items: empty jars, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, and even cereal boxes.  Pinterest has inspired so many to "up-cycle" items into new and fantastic crafts, storage, and more.  Grace loves to re-work some of our recyclables into creative crafts! (That I secretly, and ironically, recycle later...)

    Bounty of clothes
  • Hand-me-downs- I have alluded to the fact the my children are 90% outfitted with the fantastic generosity of friends and family.  The consignment shop I use declares itself as a "Green-Organic" dealer because clothes don't get wasted. I declare myself as cheap as I never buy my children "new" clothes-ever. Did you know that makes me green? It does.
  • Free-cycle- Have you ever heard of freecycle? Look it up for your area online.  It's an online sharing community with the base concept of "another man's junk is another man's treasure."  You can post what you need and what you have. I have picked up homeschooling books, a baby swing, four giant bins of boy baby clothes, and more. I have given away an excess of clothes, toys, and household items to appreciative members of my community. This appeals to my anti-disposable society rant....

    Cozy fire
  • Keeping energy costs low- Did you hear I live in New Hampshire? Winter is approximately 5-6 months up here, which means oil/propane costs can be crippling to a family. So, we freeze. Well, not really, but I do keep our heat at 60 at night and 64 during the day. We have two-zoned heat, so the upstairs zone doesn't get about 60. I have a space heater in James's room, but the girls became heartier this year and made it the whole winter without putting their heater on.  We also have a fireplace insert and we burn about 2 cords a winter.  I have become quite the pioneer woman with hauling in wood and starting fires.  My husband fells the trees, sections it, hauls it, and splits our wood. Living off the land saves us about $1000 a year and stops us from depleting oil reserves... win-win.  
    Chopping wood party
  • Eating well-When I have the money (which is rare), I choose grass-fed beef (I've seen Food, Inc.) and some organic food.  I try to avoid highly processed food and I tend to make everything from scratch.  I re-use my leftovers into new and fantastic recipes (well, sometimes they taste good), and try not to waste what I buy.  And I avoid hormones in my food or my body (isn't it ironic when organic food junkies say, "I won't eat chicken with hormones in it" and then take a birth control pill?--which is a straight-up hormone. I think the Catholic church is ahead of its time for it's all-natural approach to family planning. Boo to hormones).
 That being said, there are certain green initiatives that I will never personally partake in: cloth diapers (ew, imagine the fecal matter in your washing machine! How is using that much water/energy a savings to the environment?!?); dumpster diving (did you know some "green" people eat out dumpster to eliminate food waste?!? I'm not that cheap); limiting my family size (I will never prescribe to the over-population myth and every blessing is welcome) and getting an electric car (they don't make a minivan model).

In what ways are you accidentally GREEN? If you try to save money like me--you might be more green than you think!

Easy Rule #42514- Go out and appreciate nature in the spring; it'll make you want to pick up litter and plant a tree.

Easy Rule #5456- Being environmentally-friendly doesn't have to be too infringing on your lifestyle.

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