Babysteps to green

I warned you in my one-word post that I’m going to have a hard time with the environmental part of my green focus. It’s going to take a lot to turn this slovenly carbon yeti into a somewhat better consumer of stuff. I think it’s important, first of all, to say WHY I want to minimize my impact.

Some of you have already stopped reading. I can sense it. The reason is, being careful about the environment is linked to an Agenda for you. You think it’s about saving trees over people – as if it’s a zero sum game.

You read Genesis 1:28,

And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.

 

 and take hold of those words subdue and dominion, but don’t read on to

Leviticus 18:28

And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

 

I see the Earth as a gift. God gave it to humankind with the caveat that we are to subdue (bring it under our direction) and have dominion over it (be the leader). He did not give us the right to use it up like a tissue and throw it away. If we’re good to the land, the land will be good to us, and if we abuse the land, we will suffer the consequences, because we have not accepted the responsibility that comes with dominion.

I’m terrible about this. I don’t usually give much thought to what I’m throwing away, buying, consuming and wasting. It is my goal, though, to give it a good shot this year, and form healthy habits that, let’s face it, won’t save the world, but will attempt to do my part to take care of that gift.

So far, here’s what I’ve done – they are babysteps. I’m trying.

1) I’ve replaced as many lights as I can afford right now with the energy efficient, environmentally friendly ones. And, because they get much brighter than the old incandescents, I now have only one light bulb in my bedroom, and two in the living room, and I can still read. Also – am saving money. check.

2) Recycling electronics – Target and others stores have recycling bins for used electronics, cell phones, printer cartridges, etc. If you’d rather give them to a good cause, plenty of churches sell their electronic recycling to earn extra cash for their soup kitchens or youth events.

3) I’ve turned down the heat. We are using more clothes and throws during the day and I have an electric blanket that I turn on right before I get in bed. This saves on gas, which also saves on money. double-check.

I’m working on a few more things, but doing it all at once is time and money-consuming. So, I am asking for your help – what is your best, easiest or most energy-efficient advice for going green?

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19 responses to “Babysteps to green

  1. Turn the heat down during the winter and wear sweats & blankets

  2. The most important step you can take to save the planet is to reduce meat consumption. Raising animals for food damages the environment more than just about anything else that we do. Whether it’s the overuse of resources, global warming, massive water or air pollution, or soil erosion, raising animals for food is wreaking havoc on the Earth. And makes sure that the meat you do consume is coming from local producers and not factory farms.

    The most important step you can take to save the planet is to go vegetarian.

    • I dont think I could ever give it up completely, but I’m taking iron so that I don’t feel quite so low and don’t need to eat meat as often. I’m pretty severely anemic and don’t have insurance or money to see a doctor, so, this is the compromise I have left.

      Do you know where I can find affordable locally grown meat products?

      • Farmer’s Market! Meet your local farmers/ranchers. Talk to them. Tell them your story. Ask them if you can do a work exchange. Be persistent! Most farmer’s markets accept SNAP. Also, the cheapest way is probably to buy directly from the farmer (cirumvent the farmer’s market). You could also seek out local food co-ops. Do you have any friends who are hunters? Talk with them.

        On the subject of iron and anemia, consuming foods rich in vitamin C, such as orange juice, with iron-rich foods enhances the absorption of iron. Some foods are naturally rich in both iron and vitamin C, such as broccoli, Swiss chard, and other dark green leafy vegetables.
        Calorie for calorie, many plant sources are much higher in iron than even the bloodiest red meat. For example, it takes well over 1000 calories of steak to get as much iron as you would by eating just 100 calories of dried beans or dark green leafy vegetables.
        Also, it is important to know what hurts iron absorption and avoid it. Tea and coffee contain tannins, which reduce iron absorption. Calcium reduces iron absorption as well. Dairy products are extremely low in iron and may interfere with iron balance. If you consume foods containing tannins or calcium, do so several hours before or after eating iron-rich foods.

        I would highly recommend reading this article about how to cure anemia:
        http://www.suite101.com/content/cure-anaemia-by-increasing-iron-levels-with-vegan-foods-a224515

        You also might want to check out this info from the Livestrong Foundation: http://www.livestrong.com/article/11045-eat-anemia-as-vegetarian/

        I also recommend doing some research online about the benefits of green smoothies in treating anemia. Plants have a thick cell wall. Blending greens helps to break down that cell wall much better than we can by just chewing and can greatly increase your body’s absorbtion of iron. Try making a smoothie with some bananas (freeze them if you like, just make sure to remove peels before freezing), and maybe some frozen peaches, pineapple, or mango, and then throw in a couple handfuls of fresh (preferably organic) spinach. Spinach has a very mild, almost sweet flavor; it won’t make the smoothie taste bad. But start with a little and add more greens as you get used to it. Try drinking a green smoothie every morning if possible.
        Hope that helps and hope you feel better soon. Let me know how it goes and if there is anything else I can do to help 🙂

      • Wow! Thanks. I’ll check it out. I appreciate your help.

  3. I agree with Vikki about the vegetarianism, even though I haven’t done so myself. I do try to eat less meat.

    Eat and buy local where possible. Buy ethically when you can (fair trade coffees and teas are a good way to start).

    i love the post and the way you’ve used Scripture to advocate an environment care position. and how you’re seeing the steps as babysteps. to paraphrase Lao Tzu: A journey of a 1,000,000 miles begins with babysteps

  4. sunshinefreedomandalittleflower

    One of the thinks that is important is water usage- try and find different ways of using less, one is a low flow toilet/putting a brick in the toilet tank! Less meat is a huge issue and buying locally is good too, driving less is a big one. Also- particularly because it is the International Year of the Forrest- plant a tree if you can!
    Also I like how you use Scripture- I feel for Christians caring for this wonderful planet ought to be twice as important- but sadly this isn’t the usual thought.

    • Thanks for the tips – it’s my intention to work on water consumption – especially as summer in Texas draws near. I appreciate you stopping by!

    • Good point about the toilet. I had forgotten about that (our toilet uses no water at all). In the past I had taken a water bottle, filled it with water, closed it, and then put it in the tank (not the bowl) to make it use less water per flush and I never really noticed any difference in how well the toilet worked.

  5. Only run the dishwasher when it is full.

    The university recently put on a fashion show using only used clothing from one of the local thrift shops and some recycled clothing. The models looked great! It goes to show that you can be less of a consumer and still look stylin.’

    Last year I set a goal to eat less meat as a family. It was surprisingly easy and we barely even notice. I was worried because my husband loves, loves, loves meat. Basically we just took the focus off the meat as the center of the meal. We use it as a flavorful ingredient or as a side. And I make meatless meals a few times per week. My husband didn’t really notice either, because I make sure to keep it hearty and delicious. Cheaper, healthier and better for the planet.

  6. Also – electronics suck power if they’re plugged in even if they’re turned off. I obviously don’t unplug everything in our home, but I’ve tried to make it a habit to unplug certain things – the toaster and coffee maker for example, as soon as I’m done using them.
    Baby steps!

  7. I turn the heat down…but it’s 75* here right now. Does that still count?

  8. Fantastic to hear you’re taking steps towards saving this beautiful earth. It saddens me when Christians take the line of “oh well Jesus will come back anyway so it doesn’t matter what we do to the earth”. God gave us a beautiful gift, we should try to keep it that way.

  9. I put those energy efficient light bulbs up about 2 years ago. Replaced everything with them. I don’t know how much money they are saving me but I haven’t had one burn out yet.

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