Getting to Green

I know I’m being a little trendy these days, with my thinking about the environment and all, but I’ve been inspired by Teh Portly Dyke’s Angst-Loss Challenge and Fixer’s post over at Alternate Brain.

I’m always on the quest for getting a little bit greener, and I think we’re doing a pretty good job around Casa BrIsaacson. But we could be doing more.

Here’s what we already do:

We only own one car (thus we must car pool to work), we bought it used and it’s fuel efficient*
We’re replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs
We use recycled paper products for the paper towels, toilet paper, and printing paper
We use dishtowels for most kitchen cleaning
We print on both sides of the page. Unfortunately, I’m dissertating, so that means a lot of paper waste, but …
When I have printed on both sides, and I no longer need the page, I shred it and use it to pack boxes. Everyone gets gifts cushioned with my dissertation
We recycle the plastic bags from the store
We recycle any damn thing we possibly can
We unplug things like crazy
We buy selectively, looking for things that come in recyclable containers (i.e. I buy spices in the glass containers rather than in the plastic containers – they’re number 5, which we cannot recycle where we are)
We try to buy organic food when it’s available
We’ve made the switch to a lot of products that are more earth-friendly (i.e. Seventh Generation dish washer detergent, method hand soaps and laundry detergent, beauty products by companies like Aveda, alba and Burt’s Bees)
We both signed the pledge with Live Earth.

And, lord knows, we’ve been recycling the same hangover for years.

Wow, as I write this, I realize that we’re actually doing really well. But, we can do even more (there’s always more to do!!)

Things I want to start doing more of
Buying local produce, not just organic
Eating more vegetarian meals
Use rechargeable batteries
Hang clothes out to dry, rather than use the dryer
Stop the junk mail
Switch to an online bill-pay system to slow the amount of paper that shows up in our mailbox even further
Get involved in the conservation of the Everglades (it’s the big ticket environmental issue in our area, and we should do more than just complain to our parents and friends about the developers and the destruction of the eco-system)

So, that’s what I can think of. If you’ve got suggestions of something we’re forgetting about, let me know! I want to hear it!

*Okay, that one’s not so much about fuel efficiency as about having to replace a car rear-ended by a guy in a two ton Dodge Dickhead Mobile in the rain. It was in the budget to think about getting a second car, but then we were forced to replace a car entirely. The Corolla that we now have is far more fuel-efficient than my old Saturn, and needs very little maintenance beyond the routine. Or when I blow out a tire. Florida has not made us feel good about cars.
On the other hand, the decision to own one car is no longer just one of economic necessity. Since we work in the same place, there’s really no reason to have two cars. Sometimes it’s a little inconvenient, but that doesn’t at all offset our preference for the current situation. We’re even talking about getting ourselves on a waiting list for a hybrid and trading our current car in.

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