The Daunting List of Change
Don’t let the title discourage you, let it inspire you to be apart of the change. Regardless of your political preferences, I think it is time for the American people to wake up and realize the politics are not going to reverse the negative trends that face our environment. It will be us, the American people, who live and love to enjoy good health and the beautiful country in which we live. So don’t sit back, step up and start making the simple changes. Be a leader! If you recall in the first blog, I supplied a list of changes that we have made around our home and in our lives, all of these changes can be fairly simple and inexpensive. I broke the list up into 3 categories. The Home, Life Style Changes and The Trip to the Store. This will probably be the longest blog I will ever write. It’s kind of like school, it’s best to complete the basic education parts first and then have a blast with your special interest classes. So sorry about the length but it will be better to just get it all out there and on the table so if you are interested in making some changes you will have lots of simple solutions in front of you.
Lets start with Life Style Changes. I suggest starting with Life Style Changes because if you can understand and begin to live in this more responsible manner it will make the other 2 categories much more simple to accomplish. I found this to be crazy easy for me, but much more difficult to instill in my other half. I’m simply going to take control of what my family is eating, drinking, ingesting, etc. Just promise your self that you will think about the effects your actions make on your health and the environment. They go hand in hand, living a healthier life is often times better for the environment don’t be lazy, think about both aspects. It will take about a month, but if you ask your self what is the effect on my health and the environment when you are out there shopping it will become natural to you and it eventually wont be so daunting. Baby steps to a new better you is how I looked and continue to look at this life time project
Got it ????? Good, get started.
Has the light bulb gone off yet? Take just a few minuets and add up the number of incandescent light bulbs that you have in your home. We have 73 in our 1300 sq foot home. Out of those 73 light bulbs, I changed 23 of them to fluorescent bulbs. I chose these light fixtures or lamps because they are the lights or lamps that we use every day for a period of time. See how simple this is. Now, there are totally crap fluorescents bulbs on the market and then there are the nicer fluorescents. We prefer the ones that are round or globe shaped bulbs and have more or less a coating over the tubes. It diffuses that harshness of the fluorescents. I purchased 4 lights bulbs every pay day to spread out the cost. They are more expensive but from the looks of our energy bill we are saving about $25 per month with a yearly savings of $300. Not bad, it all adds up and the bulbs have been in for 2 years now and only had to change one of them.
Thermostat Heating & Cooling – Go out and spend $40 on a new programmable thermostat. If I can change it on my own, anyone can change one. For example we keep the house at 72 for the 2 hours we are up in the morning, it drops to 68 when we leave in the morning, heats up to 72 from 6pm – 11pm and then drops back down to 68 while we are sleeping at night. Huge SAVINGS. We are on one of those set payments with the gas company and our monthly payments dropped $30 per month with a $360 per year savings. So simple and combined savings for the heating/cooling and electrical gives us about $660 a year savings. We did not sacrifice anything for this. You can go as far as you want with this. Not jazzed about fluorescents, then just change out your incandescent to halogens when possible. I still have 32 low voltage landscape lights making our home a- glow at night and I have no intention of changing them to solar because I don’t want my house to look blue at night. So I just adjust for that in other ways. You can always do something to make a change.
Water – Install low flow showerheads. All I have to say is get over it. If it is not already a law in your state, it soon will be. Most showerheads
today on the market already come with this new feature. Again get over it. Water to drink is more important than a hour-long shower at full blast or wasteful dishwasher, washing machine or making your lawn the greenest on the block. Be smart. While brushing your teeth, turn the water off. Since we are cheap and don’t have the money to purchase duel flushing toilets we have one that we go #2 in and one that we go #1 in. This allows us to adjust the water capacity on the tank. No need to flush a full tank if it is not needed. As you can see this is really just thinking smarter not harder and don’t spend a fortune unless you can afford to.
The Great Outdoors – This, as those of you who know me, is my most favorite place to spend. It completely relaxes me to spend 12 + hours out in the yard on my days off and then enjoy a great dinner on the patio and a lazy evening in the hammock. It is my little retreat.
Landscape– Those of you who know me understand this fine line. I wont sacrifice a good looking landscape to be more green. They work hand in hand. I just use different plant materials. Im not the trash on the corner who don’t cut the grass and say they are doing it for nature. Not me at all. We have plants that are drought tolerant and we plant trees, shrubs and perennials that attract about 6 species of birds, bees, and squirrels. Last year I even added a bat house in hopes to attract some of Indiana’s great bats that our in terrible need of our help. They do miracles for you. Just bat proof your home prior to installing. NO THEY DON’T Attack YOU AND GET IN YOUR HAIR.
Last year was the first year I had planted a food garden. I’ll be honest when the bottom of the economy fell out and popped all of our balloons I was worried about money. Really because my better half and I are both retail managers, both working for high end companies where all our goods or more of a want and not a need. Slowly but surely, sales for both of our companies, where plummeting and I was thinking and planning for the worst. What could I do that would help us incase things got bad. You got it. Grow what you can in the back yard. Now I cant have chickens, etc because we are in city limits. I’m crazy and would if I could, no joke. So I looked at our very pretty back yard and said what was I going to give up to make room for a veggie garden. With a plan in my head I headed out one early morning and started digging. By nightfall I had a veggie garden completed. Blended into the existing curvy landscape, the only thing that stood out was the little fence to keep out 3 very nosy little pugs. They would eat all the veggies if I let them. Really they love their veggies. So this garden is about 6’ x 15’. Not really big at all but it produced a ton of vegetables. If I purchased everything that came out of my garden last year I’m sure it would have been $500 – $600. And most importantly it is here in my back yard. We were eating the best we had ever eaten. Huge savings and I know exactly what chemicals I used. Oh yeah… NO Chemicals where used and I watered the garden a total of 5 times the entire growing season. Thanks Mother Nature for the help. We also recycle or compost every thing from cans and bottles to all of the food scraps excluding meat and seafood. We went from 4 bags of trash for 2 people every week down to just 1 bag of trash.
This is HUGE. First off, buy local. Second of all, be sure and take your re-usable shopping bags with you. Most stores will give you a credit when you come back in with one and even if they don’t, think about how much plastic you wont be throwing away. And the fewer bags you get at the store, the less bags the store will buy and so on and so on. Buy everything local, perishable, non-perishable, etc. If you need it and someone local sells it you should buy it from them. Make it a habit to go to your farmers market every week or weekend. We have a local produce stand that I go to and pick up things if I don’t happen to grow them. Look for things that say local when you’re out and about shopping. If you look you will start to see things popping up everywhere that are local. It is the new trend. I have an entire section in my store for products grown or made in Indiana. Now, that does not mean they are all organic. Buying local and buying ORGANIC are two very different things.
If you have to go to the store to purchase produce, dairy or meat, you’re in luck. Most big grocery stores now have Organics in all of these departments. Now I hear you crying about price already. Get over it. I can assure you that in 20 years when America has a cancer rate 10 times what it is today someone will put the pieces together and realize all the chemicals that are dumped on our food crops is slowly killing us. They don’t care now because we are getting twice the amount of corn out of the same acreage. There is a price for everything, pay now and keep your health or pay later in medical bills. It’s simple, its proven the government just does not want you to know about it. Again get the move FOOD, Inc. It is such a powerful and very eye opening film.
Regardless of what your looking for, counter top cleaner, laundry detergent, body soap, shampoo, etc there is a natural version for all of this. Check out a Whole Foods store if you have one in the area. It is amazing, and what’s even more amazing is that you can actually read and say all of the ingredients on the label. Our thought process is, if you can’t say it, you should not eat it or spread it all over your body. Would you rub cocamidopropyl betaine or Tetrasodium EDTA or Blue #2 on your skin? Are you crazy? Everything you put on your hair or skin is absorbed into your body and many of them can be toxic to people. That is what happens when you try a new soap or shampoo and your skin breaks out into a rash or burn. Don’t be crazy. NATURAL is the way to go. We use all of the natural products. For skin products we us a line called Tom’s natural Care of Main and for cleaning, etc we use Seventh Generation products. Seventh Generation has everything you could possibly need form a chemical perspective. Seventh Generation has a little thing on their labels that says “ If every household un the US replaced just one bottle of their 100 oz 2x concentrate petroleum-based laundry liquid with the same size and concentrate plant-derived product, we would save 466,000 BARRELS of oil a year and that would be enough to heat and cool 26,800 US homes a year. “
To me that is amazing and we paid only $3.00 more for it. To me, that is a small price to pay for such a huge impact. To me this is just another easy way to make a big change.
Ok, there it is! Those are the simple changes we have made over the past couple of years. Some of the simplest changes can make such a big difference. If every home in America did some of these simple things the impact would be tremendous and would begin to return our planet back to a better place that it once was.
Until we meet again.