Mother Earth has taken a bit of a backseat to Wall Street in the press this year. I certainly have been spending a little bit less time reading about, thinking about and volunteering time/money for the sake of the planet. I want to kickstart myself back into more serious action on this front, though, so I thought I would list here ten of the big changes I've made in my daily life for the sake of the environment since starting this blog, and then list the ten changes I would like to make next. Here we go...
Changes I've Made.
1. I went vegan. Well, I actually did this a few months before starting this blog in 2007, but I'm still going strong. I'll admit that I previously loved, LOVED eating meat, cow and goat cheese, etc. but here I am, still tofu-y after all these years. I believe that the secret to my success was the fact that a bunch of things came together at once for me -- a lot of reading about animals and what they go through, reading about the positive impact that veganism has on the planet, and on our health, becoming a mother and feeling more acutely the old mammalian bond that animals used for food are almost always denied...the list goes on. No, even if I wanted to, I don't think I could turn away from veganism again (I was a vegan from 2000-2002, but only for health reasons back then, which were easier to push aside.) *side note, I DO purchase organic, locally produced honey/beeswax now -- I know this is controversial, and makes me a "Beegan" technically. I have been meaning to do a post on why I am doing this, and will get around to it, I sweeear. Do you still love me? :)
2. I only use reusable shopping bags at the store. You know, this seems like such a no-brainer, but the number of people I see in Langley walking around with armloads of half full white plastic bags is truly staggering. I have been known to stock up on reusable bags and offer them for free to people in line with me at the store -- I am ALWAYS turned down -- what's with that?
3. I (almost) only buy organic food, largely local produce-wise, with very few exceptions. Having to eat gluten free, sometimes I am between a rock and a hard place in terms of convenience food, but for the most part I make everything from scratch and use all organic. Ways I have saved money have included buying a share in a CSA and sourcing out food from other farmers or finding stores with a crapload of local produce. And oh yeah, I freeze stuff when it is in season. I'd say my grocery bill, rather than going up, has if anything gone down because making a vat of organic hummus at home, for instance, costs about the same as one of those rinky-dinky non-organic containers of hummus that you can get at the store. Yes, this means I spend more time in the kitchen, but there are worse things in life, like baby polar bears dying and monoculture, so WHATEVS.
4. I volunteer for Suzuki. They are great, and the perk of volunteering for DSF in Vancouver is that he's around humming and working, so it's inspiring. There are a million amazing, worthy environmental orgs out there, many that are looking for volunteers. It's fun and it feels like doing something bigger than just recycling. Try it! Since getting back to music, I haven't been in as much as I would like to, so this one is still a work in progress. My goal is to get in at least four hours a week.
5. I turn off the lights at every possible opportunity. Okay, I get that there's a recession and that there is a bit of a conservation backlash because people are like "well, before I felt like a rich person doing my part, but now...oh, I don't know...conservation feels so PO" -- well get over it! Just get the Louis Vuitton symbol tattooed on your face if you must and turn off the fucking lights, okay?
6. I grow food. Lots of it. You can, too. On your porch, in your yard, community garden, whatever. Don't forget to plant flowers to stimulate the bee community and encourage pollination.
7. I walk EVERYWHERE. In Langley. Where walking is illegal. I almost get run over by a suped-up pickup truck every single day. I get waved across streets when I have the walk signal by harried looking moms as if I am a goose trying to cross a freeway. Sorry that you paid so much for your car and that we are asking you not to drive it so much, but please don't drive it so much. Share it with someone if paying the full insurance and not driving it constantly bugs you.
8. I don't buy new mass produced clothing anymore. Ever. Period. Okay, except for socks. Well, who would buy second hand socks (ew)? And who sells locally made socks? Anyway, I buy second hand or I buy local. For the most part this means that I don't really have any clothes these days, because the Value Village here in Langley is all boxy church dress suits all the way, but when I move to Vancouver in the fall...Main Street, lock up your Victorian blouses and old Levis.
9. I bug people about stuff. Like my mom, I always bug her about leaving all her lights on at 2PM when she is not even home. And I bug Adam about not recycling recyclable things. Bugging people is fun and surprisingly productive.
10. I do not EVER buy CDs anymore. Until they can be made to be 100 percent recyclable, I think they suck. Digital music all the way. Audiophiles can buy in no-loss format and print off the artwork, too, if they want. There is really no excuse to fill up our landfills with CDs. I still will print them trusting that if people buy a CD, that they are true collecters and will not be just tossing it after uploading it to their ITunes, but I hope I sell a hell of a lot more digitally.
So that was a lot of me patting myself on the back! The next time I will get into the top ten things I want to change in 2009 to make myself more eco-friendly.
What changes have you made that are not listed here? What changes do you hope to make?