Friday, October 22, 2010

The Little Things

I whole heartedly believe that there are lots of easy changes we can make to lessen our impact on the environment. It is incredibly sad to hear of people who think recycling is 'doing their part.' It is the bare minimum. No, it is far below the bare minimum. There are lots of things we can easily do - big and small!

Here are some ideas to get you started!

  • When baking or cooking a dish that takes a long time (30 minutes or more), turn the oven off 5 minutes before it's done. As long as you don't open the door, the oven will retain the heat and keep cooking your food! (Be careful with things like chicken and fish, it's important not to eat undercooked meat!)
  • In the winter, after using your oven, leave it open a crack to cool down. The heat will warm your house and you can turn the thermostat down for a little while!
  • Turn your heat off at night! You most likely sleep under a blanket, and possibly with another warm body beside you, so the thermostat is just plain overkill.
  • "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down." Enough said.
  • Before discarding anything (whether it be to the trash or the recycling) try to figure out if you could use it again as something else (tupperware container, storage divider, etc.)
  • Make conscious decisions when you're shopping. Compare packaging amounts and choose the one with the least packaging, or the least plastic packaging. Compare where foods are from - choose apples grown in your home province/state instead of shipped in from New Zealand. Skip the plastic bags - you don't really need a plastic produce bag for 3 oranges do you? Better yet, buy cloth produce bags that you can reuse!
  • Cloth grocery bags. Seriously. I am still in shock when I see people walking out of the store with all plastic. For the love of God, WHY?!
  • If you have kids, resist the urge to purchase a million snack packs of pre-packaged tiny portions of real food. It's 99% junk anyhow. Instead, designate some time once a week to creating these 'snack packs' yourself. Divide foods into several small tupperware containers and group them so that each day you just grab one group of snacks and toss them into the lunch bag. Better for your budget, the environment AND your kid's health!
  • Coffee. Now, we all know I'm a HUGE coffee fan. Organic coffee is great... but fair trade is even better. Fair trade means the coffee growers are paid a fair price for their beans instead of getting ripped off by big corporations. Best yet - organic, shade grown, fair trade coffee! 
  • Hang your clothes to dry. Seriously, even in the winter. Just hang them inside. They will still dry and be perfectly wearable. They'll even last longer since they're not being beaten to death by the dryer once a week. 
  • Take short showers. Seriously. Set a timer if you have to. 5 minutes should be plenty. Unless you do other things in the shower... in which case I don't want to know!
  • Grow some of your own food! Tomatoes can be grown out of a bucket that you hang upside down on your balcony - how easy is that?! Herbs can even be grown inside on a window sill! You don't necessarily need a garden to garden.
Okay, that's enough for today. I'm sure I'll add to this list over time. If you have any ideas, please feel free to leave a comment!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sprout your own chickpeas and lentils! It's super easy and really, really good for you! I soak them over night in water, drain them, and make sure to rinse them once a day until they've started to sprout. Then you just put them in a jar and pop them in the fridge until you're ready to eat them.