Friday, April 9, 2010

"The Green Book"

I recently picked up "The Green Book" from Kohl's. It was $5 and touted a "New York Times Bestseller" label. I'm always looking for more ways to live an environmentally-friendly life, so I thought I'd give it a read.

The book is full of small things the average American can do to have less of a negative impact on the planet. It's a bit redundant from chapter to chapter, but I guess that way the reader can pick and choose which topics to read about and apply it elsewhere if they feel so inclined. I especially enjoyed the letters from celebrities at the beginning of each chapter. And while I didn't agree with everything the book suggests (cooking exclusively in your microwave for a year may use less energy than using a conventional oven but it could be detrimental to your health and frequently substituting beef with soy may cut back on the water used to raise cattle but unfermented soy is both extremely estrogenic and most often a dangerous Roundup ready GMO) I still found a lot of ways I can improve at becoming "green".

A few of my efforts now include: trying to use less water by turning off the faucet while I scrub my hands then turning it back on with my wrist to rinse (of course this isn't possible on all faucets), I no longer let my car idol when I pick up Millie from preschool, and I now unplug the surge protectors in the office and theater room every night before going to bed (even if something is turned off it still uses energy if it is plugged in and it all adds up to an enormous amount of wasted resources).

But the biggest thing I took away from this book was a heightened awareness of everything I waste. Paper, plastic, food, water, energy, money . . . waste, waste, waste. We need so little in this life to be happy. And all this STUFF we think "adds" to our life, often times merely makes life more complicated. And while I'm still inherently greedy and selfish, I am trying to be better and that's all I (or any of us) can do.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Green" Eggs

In honor of "Earth Day" month (yes, it is still April even if we have a fresh foot of snow here in Cache Valley) I am going to try to post about ways in which I am trying to "go green" and why.

We have recently started buying our eggs from a local farmer who raises "happy" free-range chickens. My grandma Nora always had chickens, so it has been really fun to expose my girls to a great part of my childhood. Millie and Ivy love our trips out to the farm and we usually end up spending half an hour (or longer) out there.

Now if you're wondering how this is considered going "green" all you need to do is watch Food, Inc. and you will understand how much better a sustainable farm is for the environment in comparison with the disgusting conditions factory-farmed chickens are raised. (Please at least watch the Food, Inc. trailer it's really good.) And not only is my decision better for the environment but it is also better for my health and that of my family's. Organic free-range eggs are higher in vitamins, lower in cholesterol and never contaminated with salmonella. Salmonella-contaminated eggs come from sick chickens, and sick chickens come from factories. And when it comes to "going green" it is always better to buy locally! Oh, and please don't be fooled by the eggs in the grocery store that read "Free-range" or "Cage-free"; they are not any "greener" than the white eggs!

Another highlight of our trips is the dog! Millie loves Quincy (Protector of the Chickens). His owner, Barbie, has been teaching Millie how to be a dog trainer. However Ivy was jealous there weren't any doggie treats for her!

Anyway, I get warm fuzzies when I do my part to "go green". Not only am I doing my part to teach my children but we're making great memories while doing it.