If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. Joseph Wood Krutch

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mr. Green Jeans

I have discovered if I really wanted to be fully green, and self sufficient, it would take a pile of the other green....money. That is something I don't have a lot of right now.

I don't currently have 40 acres and a mule, I don't even have five acres and a riding lawnmower. I just have a condo I rent with a small backyard. I may be able to grow a little of my own food back there but, feed myself...forget it. I am reliant on the local grocer for that.

I have electricity, natural gas, water in the pipes, the drains run into the city sewer, and the landlord takes care of any problems I have. In other words, I am dependent on the community. That is the good part.

The bad part of that equation is that if the community chooses not to be so green, it is difficult for me to be fully green. Portland area is quite green but the manufacturers of the products I buy are not. This, I think is the entire premise behind the title of my blog, "Least Footprint". Could I make a lesser footprint than I do now? Absolutely! Should I? Of course. Then why don't I? The answer is simple. I don't yet know how but I am working on it plus it is also true that there are few products anymore that meet the fully green status. Being fully green is not easy.

I sometimes wonder if someone who reads my blog; I don't think there are too many right now actually; came to my house, would they expect I would be Mr. Green Jeans with solar cells charging batteries in the attic, tubes circling the roof to fill my hot water tank, a large greenhouse in the backyard full of tomatoes, peppers, radishes and zucchini and a couple of chickens running in the yard. To be honest I would welcome that life, but as I said, that takes money. Money I don't have. It is a goal though. However not eating chicken any longer those hens would have a pretty good life.

I pretty much began the whole green thing with eating better and that somehow led to starting recycling. I think it is because I started going to sustainability fairs and my eyes were opened to what my lifestyle was actually doing to the planet. It took a while to get really good at recycling but now my trash cans see very little waste. I'd estimate less than 10% of what we throw away now ends up in the landfill. (Unless the recycle station has dumped it there, which I hear does happen.) I am an avid recycler of everything I can now and when I can't recycle something now, and have to throw it in the trash can, it actually makes me sort of cringe. I have a stack of Styrofoam in the garage waiting for someone to start recycling it. I would think they could just grind it up and make something new out of it but I guess not.

My next step, after learning to recycle better, was to reduce the amount of stuff I actually buy. Less purchase, less waste. I have been partially effective at doing that and I still want, I just don't buy as much. I'm still working on that line between want and need.

I think my next step in this process is to learn to eat with the seasons and locally. That is not going to be easy in the winter. September, as it so happens, is "Eat Local" month and so now is a good time to get started on the local eating program I think. I'll report back how it goes.

Green Tip: It is no longer necessary to make a decision on cloth or disposable diapers. g diapers from Australia have just been introduced in the U.S. and they are made right here in Portland Oregon. Kind of makes me wish I had a baby just so I could see how well these things work.

g diapers can be flushed or even composted. Were you aware that 50 MILLION disposable diapers end up in the landfill EVERY DAY! Average time to decay...about 500 YEARS. g diapers completely ends that problem.

For only $26.99 you can try them out. After that you just buy refills and flush. A case of refills is $52.00 for 128 diapers. You can also use cloth inside the g Pants during the day and use then use the flushable at night.

Want to learn more? Visit the videos.

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers but as fountains of life." John Muir, 1898

I am taking John Muir's advice and will be communing with the birds, the bears and the trees in the Mount Adams wilderness for a long weekend. I call it "tree time" and it is a necessity for me to help maintain my sanity from living in the city. My heart lives in the hills and meadows of the backwoods, but my feet are still stuck in the city.

Note: My next post will be on Tuesday, September 4, 2007. Have a happy Labor Day. Get out in nature this weekend and show a tree a little love. You'll breathe better for it.

Oh yeah, check out my new "nature quotes" feed over there to the right. See, something new while I'm gone anyhow.

1 comment:

Theresa said...

In addition to cost, things that are hurdles for me to overcome are fear and inertia. Fear of change, and the comfort of my little cozy lifestyle rut. Things are changing but they are slow!