Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cut That Impact!

I have just finished reading a parenting magazine. You know the kind - the ones with all the articles that seem to repeat in every edition, and glossy ads and reviews of yet more must-have stuff or the latest packaged food concoction. Excuse me while I rant a little. No child should grow up thinking that consumption is a worthy goal. How about stewardship, resourcefulness and thrift? These values have been cast aside as outdated, last resorts for the poor and uneducated. Enlightened people go instead for the new and shiny! Yay. The Story of Stuff is a frightening reminder of what exactly we are doing to our planet as we forge ahead in our fast-paced, throw-away society. So along with my quest to simplify our family's life, I am taking baby steps to reduce our impact on the earth. I want my children to know that there is not only an alternative to mindless consumption, but that it is becoming more and more urgent to preserve our beautiful earth. Here's what we're doing. Some of these need a little more work on consistency, and there's certainly a whole lot more we could do, but it's a start:

- Hanging washing on the line instead of using the dryer
- Washing laundry with cold or warm water instead of hot
- Unplugging appliances when not in use
- Reducing and combining car trips
- Buying locally grown produce

- Using cloth nappies instead of disposables
- Learning natural infant hygiene to further reduce need for nappies
- Composting kitchen waste
- Recycling all plastic, metal, glass and paper
- Bulk buying and purchasing items with least packaging
- Using containers for food storage instead of zip bags
- Washing and reusing zip bags
- Using own bags for food shopping, not supermarket plastic bags
- Printing as little as possible and using both sides of paper

- Washing up and washing vegetables in a bowl instead of directly in the sink (less water)
- Flushing less
- Using water we would usually pour down the sink to water plants
- Shorter showers

- Shopping at charity shops and garage sales
- Fixing broken things
- Freecycling
- Using every part of food (vegetable leaves as greens, stock from chicken carcass etc.)
- Making gifts

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