Friday, April 15, 2011

Ecosattva ::: Egosattva

Ecosattva - Be kind to the earth
Egosattva - Be kind to yourself

I'll turn 45 this summer.  That's sort of horrifying, although I don't feel 45.  The number sounds big...  But I digress.

When I turned 40 I threw out all the chemicals in my house and began my journey of "going green" in earnest.  Coming up on the 5 year anniversary of that seems like a good time to review where I am, and the areas in my life where I could be greener.  When I say "green," I also include items such as how I reduce my carbon footprint, ways that I give back to the earth/environment, and habits that I have which I consider healthy or eco-conscious.

How am I doing?
I don't use any chemical lawn fertilizers or pesticides.
I clean my house with natural cleaners:  vinegar, Bon Ami, etc.*
I live within 5 miles of where I work.
I buy from the bulk bins at the grocery store when possible.
I have a "no shoes" home.
My body products are paraben free (no petroleum ingredients).
I either compost or worm-farm my vegetable peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.
I recycle, and I shred most paper & use it for worm food.
I try not to buy products that are over-packaged.
When getting doggy bags in restaurants, if they use styrofoam, I try to remember to ask for a piece of foil instead.
I use re-usable shopping bags at the grocery store.
I'll pay a little extra to support a local independent business vs. a chain or mass producer.
I use a broom instead of my garden hose to tidy my sidewalks and driveway.
I cook for my dog.  When I do buy commerical dry food, it's natural and human grade.
I rake and compost leaves, etc. -- I despise leaf blowers...
I use biodegradeable dog poop bags on walks (and do not individually bag from the yard.)
I installed gutters and rain barrels for rain water conservation.
I mostly buy organic produce and food items.
I got rid of all rubber-backed rugs in my home.
I got rid of some concrete surfaces at my home and planted plants instead.
I am vegetarian, and on many days, vegan.
When I do eat fish, I try my best to be sure it's wild caught.
I frequently hand-carry store items, declining a bag.
I grow my own herbs and some vegetables.
I provide a butterfly/hummingbird friendly environment.
I put up an owl shack!
I got rid of my microwave and use a toaster oven.
When I buy interior paint, I buy low or no VOC.
I feed the birds and keep a bird bath full of water.
I support animal rescue.
I drink out of the tap e.g. I do not buy bottled water.
I store used batteries and burned out light bulbs, and do a twice a year trip to a disposal center.
I buy CFL lightbulbs when available for my fixture.
I wait as long as I can to use my central air conditioning.
In the winter, I reduce furnace bills by using an electric blanket.
I very rarely drink sodas.
I'm a label reader: generally if I cannot pronounce and identify ingredients on a label, I likely won't eat the product.
I try to buy clothes made from natural fibers.
I drive a tiny car and its paid for.
My electric service at my home is 100% wind energy.
I opt out of junk mail, and call to cancel catalogs.
I re-purpose and re-use whenever I can and rarely buy furniture new.
I try not to buy leather products (shoes are my only downfall)

What can I do better?
Some of my make up is still not organic -- eye shadow, mascara, etc. -- although I rarely wear it...
I wash my car in the driveway - but I do use biodegradable soap
I still use traditional toothpaste/mouthwash as opposed to a natural brand.
Eat.  Less.  Butter.
I accept plastic bags at Target - I should bring my own bags in.
I could use more attic insulation.
Stop buying Burger King Big Fish sandwiches!  LOL  Probably aren't even real...
I'd like to swap out my hot water tank for a tankless system
My house needs new windows.
I'm addicted to my iPhone.
I still use ChapStick (contains petroleum)
I buy Beggin' Strips for my dog!

So those are the things that I do that I can think of off the top of my head.  Over all I make these choices because they make me feel better.  I feel better physically and mentally, and I feel better that I am being responsible in my corner of the world for the environment, the world around me and being good to myself.  I try not to preach my ways to others -- I just do what works for me.  I do happily observe though, that sometimes the way I live raises the awareness of friends and neighbors -- and at least provokes thought and sometimes lively discussion -- and that's fun.  I have had a lot of people in my life who have raised my awareness, and I'm grateful for that.  I learn new things all the time about ways I can change - I like the challenge of finding new ways.  Do you have new any suggestions for me?

*  I'll admit to the occassional small use of bleach...sometimes I just gotta have it.

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