Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!!!

I'm not what you would call a "crazy environmentalist" or a "tree hugger" (although my wonderfully conservative husband would tell you that I absolutely AM; lol), but I do think today is an important day. It's a day we can all stop and think about what we can do better to conserve our energy, better our future, and make the world around us a more beautiful place to live in.

You might remember that a month or so ago I posted "39 things to do before I turn 40" and one of the things on the list was to "Be More Green." I really want to be more environmentally- conscious on a day-to-day basis... but in ways that are really practical for our family.

So, on this Earth Day, I thought I'd share some of the really easy things I do. I know that there's so much more that I want and need to be doing, but this is where I'm at right now.

* I use a canvas bag to go grocery, "Walmart," and other shopping. I'm still having to remind myself to take my bag with me--it really is just a habit you have to get into, but I'm getting better and better at it.

I went and bought a canvas bag for less than a dollar (they sell them just about everywhere) and I use it instead of paper or plastic bags. You'd be amazed at how many items you can fit into one of these bags. (As an additional tip: if you forget to take your canvas bag--which I do still on occasion--or don't want to start using one, still try and cut back on the number of bags you bring home. I can usually tell the cashier to double up the items in my bag, or sometimes can just carry a few items out on my own without even using a bag.)

(Remember...it takes a thousand years for plastic to disintegrate!)

* I recycle aluminum cans. We aren't lucky enough to be in an area that has curbside recycling, so the only recycling I do right now is with aluminum cans because my church has recycle bins that I can use (an added benefit is that our youth group earns the money from the aluminum). But if you are lucky enough to have a community recycling plant or curbside services, use it!

* I give away, pass along, donate, and pay it forward... instead of throwing away! Whenever a new season rolls around, I clean out all of our closets and make sure I don't throw away a thing. I donate it all to either our church's clothes closet or our local thrift store. (And...I frequent thrift stores as much possible. It saves money, and promotes the waste-not theme we've got going!) Think of all the things you can recycle by letting other people use them. (Clothes, but also... old magazines to doctor's offices, kids books to hospitals, the ideas go on and on!)

* I say "no thank you" when an ATM machine (or other credit or debit card machine) asks if I want a receipt. I actually read this somewhere and was struck immediately by what a great, and easy, idea this was. Imagine all the paper that comes spewing out of the ATM and gas station pay-at-the-pump machines. So now, instead of taking a receipt, I just write my amount down.

* I turn off the lights! This is actually something that my non-tree-hugging husband greatly appreciates, because you would not believe how much money we have been saving since we started consciously turning off the lights in our house. I guess I'm turning into my Dad, who used to follow us around turning off lights (and making us sleep in the summertime without the air conditioning on! lol), but I am trying to be better about saving energy at home.

* I stop and "smell the roses." This isn't a "tangible" thing that will save trees or energy...but when we stop and appreciate nature, spend time outside, teach our children that playing in the yard is better than playing video games, listen to the birds, smell the roses...we really are celebrating Earth Day in its purest form.

We enjoyed a beautiful day this Sunday when we went to the Zoo for its celebration of Earth Day.

I handed the camera to McKenna and let her take the pics of the day...

So...Happy Earth Day!! Celebrate it in some sort of meaningful way...plant some flowers, go to the park with your children, clean out your closets, eat your veggies, tell the cashier to put it all in one bag.

And since it's Random Tuesday (as well as Earth Day, ha!!), why don't you let me know any ways that you or your family tries to recycle, reduce, or otherwise help the earth? I'm always looking for EASY things to do that I can incorporate into our daily lives.

Peace Out (as McKenna would say...which seems sort of an appropriate closing on this day)!!!!


Jeff said...

Yay! I assume that's the Birmingham Zoo. So nice to see pics from there!

Gin said...

Theseare really good ideas. I've never thought about the ATM receipts before now.

Patti said...

Happy Earth Day! I don't get receipts either and I had to laugh, my Dad was follow-you-around-light-policeman too!
Very good post Cheryl and VERY good ideas you have shared!

P.S. Now I REALLY want to go to the zoo again soon!

Cheryl Wray said...

Jeff--I thought of you and your Mom when I saw the giraffes! :-) We love to go to the Zoo, just don't do it enough.

Gin--I know, Isn't that a good idea?

Patti--Yay, Happy Earth Day!!! A lot of us must have had Dads like that. lol

Ms Dragonfly said...

happy earth day!

Honest to Ya~Ya said...

Walmart gave me a green tote bag the other day and I forgot it today...I'm going to have to get better at taking it with me!
I did buy some flowers and I'm going out to plant them in just a bit.

I saw where you left a comment on my blog and I just wanted to say HI! I wish I could email you because you know me as I've blogged before but now I'm back!

Happy Earth Day!♥

Renee said...

Happy Earth Day. Bad green mama that I am, I didn't even realize that was today.

Anonymous said...

I love those pictures. I need to go to the zoo again!


aimee said...

Great ideas! Little things make so much more difference than people think!

Cheryl Wray said...

Ms. D--Back at ya! :-)

Ya ya--Glad to see you back! Yep, sometimes it's hard to remember the canvas bag.But I'm getting better and better at it!

Renee--Bad Green Mama. LOL

Marj--We love the zoo!!

Aimee--Thanks!! And I loved your ideas on your post today!!

Lynilu said...

Good moves! I do most of those myself. I'm having trouble training myself to remember the canvas bags when I leave the house, but, like you, I'm getting better. If we all do something and add something each month, just think how green the difference would be!

Auburn Kat said...

I always recycle pop cans. NY makes you pay five cents deposit for every pop or beer can you buy and when you turn it for recycling you get your money back. It's amazing how many people recycle cans just for this reason!

I am also following what I found on the Biggest Loser...instead of drinking bottled water at home, I use a Brita and a water bottle that I reuse.

Babydoll said...

Happy Earth Day to you too!! Thanks for the reminder about doing things to make the Earth a better place to live!!

Maria said...

Happy Earth Day Cheryl! I am loving your post! Such great simple things we can ALL do to be more green and help OUR planet! :D

Edleen said...

Happy Earth Day! we try to recycle around here too :)

those pictures are great! what a fun time @ the zoo :)

Kimberly said...

Oh I love going to the zoo...it is so much fun. We are lucky and we have a recycle bin..so we recycle our newspapers, plastic bottles and we take our coke cans also. Why wouldn't u...when u can get $$$ for doing it!

Mississippi Songbird said...

Great pictures at the zoo. We celebrated Earth day too. We planted some flowers and sacked up some aluminum cans for recycling. Hope you have a great week..

Dawn Bibbs said...

Wow, your zoo looks so nice. Our is AWFUL!!! Well, at least it was 10 years ago when I went, LOL. I think all of the animals were at a lunch meeting or something...because NONE of them were around to be seen. I almost asked for our money back. But we did get to see a few flies, some bees and a stray cat....:).