Ah yes, it is fashionable these days to wrap yourself and your home in green. Sustainable is tossed around here, there and everywhere, and I actually understand more about what that means than I did a few months ago.
Husband is on the sustainability council at Drury University and produces a newsletter for the group. He playfully points out “no trees were harmed during the production” of the electronic newsletter. In addition, he’s like a hawk with the recycling at home recently. We have paper sacks of paper and a plastic bin for the bottles, cans and plastic that our waste hauler picks up every other week. And I can’t sneak a non-energy-saving light bulb by him even if it is to rid ourselves of the old-style bulbs. If it’s up to him, our next car will be a Prius. He is fully on the green bandwagon. We are even recycling the Christmas tree, which Bass Pro and a local Boy Scout troop will take to Table Rock Lake to help the fish habitat.
Well, I’m getting there with the recycling, which leads me to my New Year’s resolutions. I have to give credit to The Daily Green for the inspiration after I read “7 New Year’s Eco-Resolutions for 2008.”
On Annie Bell Muzaurieta’s list:
1. “It’s time to clean out, and stop the crap collecting,” she says. You go girl! This is on my list too. This problem is vastly aggravated by the habit of shopping for recreation. Keep thee out of shopping malls and centers, so says me.
2. “I will avenge my phantom load.” She’s talking about computers, cell phones and other electronics that continue to use energy while plugged in. She suggests using a power strip and turning that off when the devices aren’t in use. I suppose I could shut the computer down. Okay, I’m adding this one too.
3. “I will be smarter than bottled water companies and drink for free what they are trying to sell me.” This does not apply to me (note the sound of me patting myself on the back), and I am therefore, leaving it off of my list. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that a small bottle of water should not ever cost $3. Also, the skeptic in me wonders if that Wehrenberg movie theater water fountain was REALLY “Out of Order” the other day.
4. “If I can remember to TiVo “Dancing with the Stars,” I can remember to bring my own bags to the grocery store.” Annie, I think I want to try this one. There are plenty of cheap eco-friendly bags for shopping instead of the plastic ones offered by merchants. Of course, if you shop less frequently, you may be like a pack mule loading up for the trek home.
5. I’m deviating from Annie’s list now to my unique set of enviro-issues. A dirty little secret is thus revealed dear gentle readers. I take long and I do mean long showers. I hearby resolve to save water, energy and time with shorter shower-time.
6. And in general reduce, reuse, recycle and conserve.
What else can you do to green up your new year? The sky’s the limit. Get the bike out of the garage and use it instead of the car. Offer a friend a ride if you are both attending an event. Plant a tree. Replace an old furnace with a high efficiency Energy Star make. We did this and Springfield's City Utilities offered us a $250 rebate. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use 66% less energy and last 10 times longer than regular bulbs. You’ll save an average of $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Buy as local as possible. Use old t-shirts and towels instead of paper towels for cleaning chores. Put up a clothesline. Wash with cold water whenever possible.
And on the subject of New Year's resolutions in general, is it silly to come up with them at all as some have suggested? Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Institute doesn’t think so. He writes:
This New Year's, resolve to think about how to make your life better, not just once a year, but every day. Resolve to set goals, not just in one or two aspects of life, but in every important aspect and in your life as a whole. Resolve to pursue the goals that will make you successful and happy, not as the exception in a life of passivity, but as the rule that becomes second-nature.
If you do this, you will be resolving to do the most important thing of all: to take your happiness seriously.
To expound and expand on the Epstein message regarding passivity, I would like to encourage us all to think about how we can make life better for others too. I resolve also to get up off of the sofa and test my passions with actions. Hope you will too. May the new year bring you hope, joy, healing from emotional and physical ailments, peace and much love.