Time to Save Our Home

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“I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.” Greta Thunberg

We have been experiencing extreme weather conditions for some time now. This hurricane season has been brutal. Polar ice caps continue to diminish. We are losing species of animals. And climate and conservation experts around the world agree that this cannot continue without a devastating result. We are slowly destroying our beloved and beautiful earth.

All of this can feel overwhelming. I agree with the experts…if we all pitch in and be more thoughtful , it can make a difference. We are reaching the point of no return, where our planet will not recover from our choices. So why not try to add a few more “green actions” into our daily lives. I think we all want to save this place we call home for future generations to enjoy. I have listed a few things below that are simple to employ and might have the trickle down effect for the planet.

Use cloth napkins. Rather than one time use of paper napkins, why not use cloth napkins at your kitchen table? They can be used for several meals and then throw them in the laundry with a load you are already doing. Why save them for special occasions when you can reduce the use of paper by employing them daily.

Swedish Dish Towels. Same idea as cloth napkins. Swedish dish towels are reusable paper towels that can also be thrown in the washing machine. Utilizing them can replace dozens of paper towel rolls per year.

Cloth “make-up remover” pads. These are soft flannel pads perfectly sized to help remove make-up. They too can be washed and re-used.

Dryer Balls for your clothes dryer. Rather than dryer sheets, why not employ dryer balls instead? They actually improve drying times by separating large clumps of clothes, which allows air to circulate more evenly and shorten the time needed to dry the clothes.

Use non-bleach coffee filters or re-usable coffee filters.

Keep the bags you get at the grocery store and take them back and re-use them.

Walk or bike to errands that are close by. Cluster errands into one trip out. Carpool when possible.

Make use of the library for your books. When I see a title I want to read I add it to my request list. I have enough requests on my list that I almost always have a book to read. Or just explore the shelves and find a hidden treasure.

Use re-fillable water bottles or canteens. Limit the use of one time plastic water bottles by refilling re-usable water containers. You can even add lemons, limes, or hydration tablets to give your water more flavor. This might have the side health benefit of drinking more water.

Avoid using styrofoam packaging whenever possible. If it is what your favorite restaurant uses for take-out say something to the manager. Styrofoam is one of the the most harmful types of waste that exists today. It breaks down into small pieces that can choke animals.

Re-use receipts and other paper as scrap paper for grocery and to-do lists.

Shop Goodwill or other resale stores for casserole dishes and left-over sized dishes rather than using plastic. When sharing food with someone, say at a funeral, use these repurposed casserole dishes. That way they don’t have to return your dish and can keep it for themselves or re-use for a time when they might be bringing food to someone in need.

Adjust the thermostat by one or two degrees. You might be surprised that your body will adjust to this slight change pretty quickly. Sleep with the windows open when possible.

If we all chip in just a little, it can make a difference.

“You must take action. You must do the impossible. Because giving up is never an option.”

Greta Thunberg

Some green companies to explore:

Marley’s Monsters (https://www.marleysmonsters.com/ )Re-usable eco-friendly non-paper products for home and beauty

ARA water bottles (https://www.giveara.com) For every re-usable water bottle you purchase from this non-profit company, one is donated to a homeless person. The water bottle donated is insulated and 64 ounces. This is the amount of water that is considered the healthy amount that should be consumed everyday. This charity was begun in the Phoenix area where there can be as many as 300 deaths a year due to the heat.

Minimalism

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The minimalist life is our new way of being. We moved from a 4 bedroom home to a 2 bedroom apartment almost two years ago, with the plan to live in the apartment for a year while we looked for a small garden home or condo. Then the pandemic happened and Rob and I have co-existed in our small little apartment since. One would think that might be a recipe for disaster. But it has actually been surprisingly easy. We have all of the creature comforts one needs in a home and nothing we don’t. After 30 years of home ownership, it feels like freedom. We have friends worried about their yards, their roofs, their home maintenance and we realize how easy we have it. The time we used to spend on home maintenance is now spent on other interests. And those interests are healthy, for the most part. Being outside, finding new recipes to try and exercise are things we have more time for now. There is no longer that feeling of needing to be doing something else. By de-cluttering our lives, we have brought ease to our minds.

I write about this because many of us do a Spring cleaning this time of year. Maybe you aren’t going as extreme as we have, but it’s possible to lighten your load in other ways.

Here are some minimalist ideas:

  • Check out your local library. When I see a book I’d like to read, I add to my request list. I have enough books on my list that I almost always have something new to read. It’s a great way to resist buying and it is very eco-friendly.
  • When you bring something new into your space, see if there is something that you can donate from your space.
  • Now that the worst days of the pandemic are behind us, is it really necessary to stockpile?
  • Shop resale stores.
  • Spend less time looking at ads, whether on tv, online or magazines. Seeing bright shiny things makes you want to buy bright shiny things.
  • Rather than gifting someone a material item, consider giving them a fun experience instead.
In the end, only three things matter:
How much you loved,
how gently you lived,
and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you. 

Jack Kornfield

Covid observations

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I like to ride my bike.
I like to cook at home.
I love time with my hubby.
I miss hugs.
I love the library.
Trader Joe's is the best.
I still feel connected to others in zoom yoga class.
Sunlight brightens my mood.
So does being in nature.
Naps, oh yes.
The air fryer is a game changer.
Good neighbors mean even more right now.
It's hard to stay off the phone.
There is a a lot of suffering around us.
Time passes quickly even when you don't know what day it is.
I've forgotten what my clothes are like.
Staying home and wearing a mask cuts down on need for lipstick/lipgloss.
Why can't I remember to not bother putting on aforementioned lipgloss when I know I'll be wearing a mask?
Zoom happy hours are more fun than I thought they would be.
I don't remember living with this much uncertainty ever before.
I feel the love of family and friends more acutely.