So this morning we took our son to school using a bike and trailer. The kids had a blast and I got my workout in easier and quicker than waiting until after getting home from dropping him off and hitting the exercise bike. My husband updated his Facebook status with that and other things we do, composting, recycling, turning off lights that aren't needed, etc. Some people commented either how they were or were not helping the environment. But it hit me that we do most of those things everyday. I figured I would post some easy ways to be earth friendly, so YOU (yes, you) can get started TODAY!!
* Reuse a water cup. Either use a plastic (if you must) or stainless steel cup to get your daily water in. Those individual water bottles are bad for the environment and can leech yucky chemicals into your water when exposed to heat and light (so keep them OUT of your cars in the summer if you live here in Arizona!!!!). Bring your cup with you so you always have water and aren't going through a bunch of bottles.
* Compost. The Town of Gilbert gives you one for FREE. It is a much better way to dispose of fruit and veggie scraps and you are giving back to the soil by doing so.
* RECYCLE!! Know what goes in those blue bins and DO IT!! It kills me to see neighbors with TWO CANS overflowing and cardboard and recycle ables making up a good chunk of that. We requested a 2nd recycle bin from the Town of Gilbert (again, FREE of charge) and we only have about 2 bags of trash for the landfill each week.
* Get a reusable shopping bag. I stash mine in the car so I always have it, no matter whether I have a planned trip or pop in to a store on my way home. Many stores now even deduct 5 cents per bag you bring in to use.
* Walk or bike for a quick trip to the store. With summer fast approaching that may not be as likely for us in AZ but if you can, it adds up!
* Open up your house first thing in the morning to get the cool air in, around 9 or 10 when it starts to heat up start closing those windows and slightly closing those blinds. It will help keep your house cooler and you won't have to run that AC as much. That saves the environment AND your wallet!!! Run fans which are much easier on electricity than you AC.
* Plant trees to shade you home - see above.
* More fresh breeze and less Febreze!! We spray too many "things" into our air. I know here in AZ we have awful pollution. A large chunk of that is traffic but we need to be aware of the other junk we are putting into the air and our lungs. Do away with the air fresheners (which are toxins that also lead to health and skin problems) and go more natural. Getting a nice airing out will not only clean the air but remove the toxins from our furniture, carpets, flooring, and other VOC's that we produce in our homes. Use essential oils like lavender, lemon, eucalyptus or Cinnamon in a spray bottle with water. It is safe for your kids and animals and so much more earth friendly.
* Plant a garden!! You are doing the world a ton of good by planting your own garden. You know where the food comes from, it tastes great, you aren't making a trip to a store for it and you can use your own compost!!
* Buy locally when you can, i.e. farmer's markets. It takes a WHOLE LOT of energy to get bananas from Ecuador!! Think of all the resources that go into shipping food all over the world. That can mean giving up some things but to eat locally not only brings more resources to your own neighbors it also saves the oil it takes to ship/truck/fly this stuff all over. If you grow some of your own food you make an immediate impact in this as well.
* Pass things on....hand me downs are a great way to reuse! Kids (especially little ones) don't care one iota about a brand or style. By giving and receiving hand me downs you consume less and reuse more.
* Look for "antiques" before buying new. Did you know that most "furniture" these days is simply particle board and that it releases formaldehyde? This toxin can cause all sorts of health problems (including skin problems like eczema) and should be avoided. Shopping at 2nd hand stores for solid wood furniture and refinishing them using eco and health friendly materials is a better bet, not only for the environment but your health. It is a sad day when our furniture consists of wood ships glued together with a picture of wood on the front.
* Look for more sustainable products when remodeling your home. Bamboo is an excellent choice these days for flooring and cabinetry. It is a very fast growing product and it is very safe for people with allergies. It will release less VOC's than other hard floor alternatives.
If you have a child with Autism, some of these things are probably on your mind daily. I know I worry alot about environmental toxins with my children and especially my son who is more reactive. But, these things are also just good for our mother Earth too! Deforestation, a reliance on oil and a mindset that is on consume, consume, consume will only get us into more trouble economically, environmentally and physically. Lets all be gentler with the Earth and we can all breathe a little easier, literally!