Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day – Climate Change

Today I’m talking about climate change. It’s the topic for Blog Action Day ‘09. (I first read about this on Reduce Footprints).

What the blazes is Blog Action Day and why would you care?

“Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.” -blogactionday.org

“This December, world leaders are meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark to draft a new global climate treaty -- one that has the potential to turn the tide on global warming and get our planet back on a brighter path. The problem is, most world leaders and their negotiators aren't getting it. They're not planning to do enough to to avert the climate crisis. But we can change that -- with one number, and one day. Sound implausible? Take a minute to hear us out. The number is 350, and it's now the most important number on the planet. 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, measured in parts per million. Since we're at 390 ppm now, it's a tough number, and getting back to it will require remarkable efforts. The good news is that people all around the world are mobilizing around 350 in a unique and beautiful movement to solve the climate crisis.” -an email from Bill McKibben, Co-Founder of 350.org

So. Let’s talk about the weather. Things are heating up? Not so you’d notice. But the science is clear. Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are being released into the atmosphere causing our globe to warm up. Small changes in temperature cause huge changes in the fragile balance all of life depends on.

I’m not a hippy. I don’t live in a grass hut and wear a leaf over my privates. I don’t have hairy arm pits. I don’t use an old t-shirt instead of toilet paper and then wash it so I can reuse it.

But you know what? Hairy arm pits are not a prerequisite to caring passionately about the environment.

So instead, I just buy toilet paper that hasn’t been bleached. (And by the way, it’s still white, so I’m confused by the practice of bleaching it in the first place…) It’s a simple little change. No one will notice, right? AH! That’s where you’re wrong! To say “my small changes won’t make a difference anyway, no one else is doing it, what does it matter anyway” is a victim’s statement. A whiner’s statement. I won’t make that statement any longer. I choose to say “I have committed to doing the best I can, when I can, however large or small of an impact it will make. I am proud of the green choices I make for my health, the health of my family and the health of this planet”. I know better, so I do better. No more procrastinating, no more hiding behind ignorance. The planet is in crisis. We are on a path to runaway climate change. I can do something about it.

In fact, I believe it’s the little things that are going to help make the turn around—that are going to pull us back from the 390 ppm of carbon dioxide our atmosphere is currently harboring and return us to a safer 350 ppm. Oh sure, the vast majority of change will probably come from corporations scaling back emissions and car companies creating cars that run on alternative fuels or something. But what about you & I? You are I count as one and two of the 6 billion people on earth. 6 billion people? That’s a lot of sway. That’s a lot of influence. And because people get jaded by the thought of full-scale, whopping changes in their everyday lives, we can instead focus on small, practical changes. Change out one traditional light bulb to a CFL? I can do that. YOU can do that. Heck, let’s just go all nutty and change every light bulb in the whole house! You’d be surprised at how pleased with yourself you’ll be. Ride your bike to the store to pick up a head of lettuce? (And take along a reusable grocery bag?) We can all do that. What if all 6 billion of us did that?

I am very well-read in some subjects and not so much in others. What can I write about climate change? What do I know? I’m not privy to the cutting edge science that leads us to the number 350.

But I can show you some things we do here at Kitchen With Kids. I can tell you that we are a normal, middle class family who loves Disneyland, backyard barbecues and individual servings of applesauce. We’re not perfect. But we also love this breathtakingly beautiful earth. So we’re implementing the changes that make sense for our family. Some of the changes are mindless. Some of the changes require a little sacrifice. But all are do-able. All are helpful.

Here’s the twins gettin’ jiggy with it in their chlorine free Seventh Generation diapers. (Which I’ve found to be just as effective as Huggies). Seventh Generation has online coupons and promotions in Babies R Us mailers. Earth’s Best and Full Circle diapers are great alternatives. Or, just one up me and use cloth diapers.

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Chlorine free baby wipes. Again, just one up me and make your own “green” baby wipes, using chlorine free paper towels.

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Here’s a few organic items we keep in our pantry. Organic options aren’t just at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s anymore. A lot of these items are from Save Mart and Costco.

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And just in case you were wondering how buying organic foods can reduce climate change, you can read this and/or this.

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A tour of my fridge:

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Look at the price on those grapes--$1.99 a pound—the same price as the non-organic grapes.

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Think organic cheese is too costly? This cream cheese was 50 cents more than the traditional brand. 50 cents really adds up in a grocery bill. Believe me, I know. But so does a Starbucks coffee once a day. Or eating lunch out. So we don’t do that and instead we do this.

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Organic chocolate syrup??? They’ve got organic everything!

Vinegar is a great cleaning product—a great alternative to harsh chemicals.

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Seventh Generation has wonderful dish- and dishwasher soap. Again, I use coupons. Even Save Mart now carries this brand and I’ve seen it on sale there a couple of times.

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This is by far my favorite laundry detergent. The eucalyptus and lavender fragrance leaves my clothes smelling so good.

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But if that doesn’t float your boat, even Costco carries an environmentally friendly laundry detergent. And guess what? It costs less than their traditional equivalent!

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The joeys have organic body wash. These brands lather up beautifully.

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On any given day this is on my island countertop. Gross? Well, yeah, a little. But whatever.

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It all gets taken out to our compost bin.

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What else? The joeys and I wear tons of hand me downs. We like to buy produce locally at the farmer’s market. I like to combine a walk with a trip to the grocery store. I save gas, emissions, money and I get my work out in. We all have our own reusable water bottle or sippy cup, so there’s no need for bottled water.

Well. That’s that. We are far from perfect. I’m guilty of a few pretty un-green habits. But these are just some of the things we do that we believe can make a big impact in the long run. These things fit easily into our lifestyle and we’re proud of them.

Be a champion for the only home we have. Let me know in comments what sort of things you do.

18 comments:

Yelena R. said...

Wow! I think that's great! I'm also guilty of a lot of non-green activities, but hey, none of us are perfect!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

It's great that you make that extra effort for the planet and the future!

curegirl0421 said...

Well-written, Elle! I will just link to your blog today as a fine list of things you can do differently...I really do like the links to how organic foods help the environment as well.

Me, I try to do what I can... I recycle as much as possible, I use CFCs as much as possible, I have been trying to use natural cleaning products, I do the dishes at night to save energy, I turn off lights...

We all do those little things, and it seems like our little things don't count until, as you said, you remember that if all 6m of us did one little thing, it would add up to a LOT.

Buckeroomama said...

Every little bit helps. A friend and I were just talking about this the other day... about how our choices today would affect the world our children will inherit years from now.

Flat Creek Farm said...

Not perfect here either, but one thing I consistently do: hang laundry on the clothesline to dry (at least 95% of the time).

Great post and nice job on all of your efforts! -Tammy

AJ said...

Awesome! I am inspired! Check out today's blog post for my green ways!

Marisa @ Getting Back To Basics said...

Every little bit helps. Glad to be back in the blogging circle after being out of it the past month...busy with other things...although I feel like I missed a lot I will move forward instead of looking back.

Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

Oh I love this post, because I can go a little bit nuts reducing chemicals and other items from my little world. My daughter is highly sensitive to the chemicals that preserve foods, and msg related by-products. So we gardened, and composted, and canned this year in hopes of reducing some of that. I am working next on cleaning products and household items as both kids have skin issues.

I should have been a pioneer.

But then, I wouldn't get to shower daily, and I don't think I'd have liked stinking.

You know?

SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB said...

hmmm what do i do. i don't flush after i pee, only when someone poops

Heart2Heart said...

Elle,

We have been making small changes as well. We've reduced using plastic bags at the grocery store and use the reusable ones, as well as compact florescent bulbs in all our lights and now we don't leave our porch lights on all night.

Little changes make the difference, plus we are planting trees and raising our own veggies.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

monica said...

Great post! You are diffently doing your share!

CottageGirl said...

I love that you are so conscientious about the environment! Thanks for the inspiration ...

My DH and I do a few things, but not enough!

Arielle Lee Bair said...

Lots of great ideas and practices. Thanks for sharing. I know lots of people think you can't be conscious of that stuff when you've got kids, but you prove it isn't so. And you're so right about the silly stereotype regarding people who care about the planet. Hairy armpits are certainly not a prerequisite. :) It's funny, though--I live in Pennsylvania and it SNOWED here today. And it's only Oct. 15th. It makes you wonder about the whole global warming thing. Haha.

Rural Revival said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas of fightin' climate change! None of us our perfect but we can be an inspiration for each other. Well done!
~Andrea~

Christina said...

I'm so glad you shared these ideas...you're totally right about the costs. Giving up the fast food for one (for us-it's gotten too easy these days) would make a lot of room in our budget for more organic choices, and fresher ones at that.
And is it okay if you do have hairy armpits...
Just kidding! :)

golonghorns said...

Loved this post, you are my kinda gal! We are reusing shopping bags and actually in Ontario some stores now charge you a small fee to use a plastic bag if you don't bring your own. I try to use organic foods and clean with vinegar, love that smell! I can do better about the diapers and laundry detergent though. I will be changing my lightbulbs when we move back to Austin. Someday I plan to post on recycling in Canada it's way better than the US. Sorry for the long novel...you got me thinking!

Anonymous said...

Have you been to Heritage.org
They have a section on cap-and-trade and the global warming issue.

Meghan's in-law

Ann said...

I like your compost box. How long do you fill it up? My school has a similar one like that.

Came via Save the world.