Starting to “Turn Green”

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I’m not sure why it took me until my 40’s to start to really worry about the environment.  I had always considered myself aware of things around me, such as what countries were at war, who was running for which political office, etc.  I think what it is, is that it finally hit me that if I don’t do something about the environment, who will?  I’ve been asked more than once if I really believe that “one little thing” I do to help the environment is going to make much of a difference.  Well in the grand scheme of things, maybe not.  But if many of us do these little things, it makes a huge difference!

 

When my children were growing up, they’d come home from school to tell me about how important “recycling” was and how we had to recycle our cans and plastics (it was about all you could recycle in our town at the time) in order to “save the planet”.  I felt their excitement and encouraged them, recycling all we could.   Over time, the kids grew up and moved out, one by one and you guessed it… the recycling went by the wayside.  It wasn’t a decision I made, it just kind of happened without me realizing it.

 

We always had a garden when the kids were growing up, but after a while we stopped doing that, too.  I am happy to say that we are once again gardening and I’m happy that we are.  Last year was our first garden in quite a few years.  This year our garden grew and hubby and I looked into more ways to be eco-friendly, cost-conscious, etc.  It seems that the older we got, the more we realized how much we humans take for granted in our environment.  We got tired of just paying the bills as they were and took action to lower our bills, by using less electricity so that the electricity bill was lower, growing vegetables so the grocery bill was lower, and so on… and along the way we learned a lot more than we ever thought about before.

 

Starting a compost pile seemed like the next natural step.  I’m not saying we know exactly what we’re doing with it, but we’re doing it anyway.  We’re trying, and that’s where it all starts. I have a new blogging friend over at Healthy People, Healthy Planet who is writing a series on composting and you can be sure I’m following the advice given, as well as researching what I can find to help out.  The point is, we couldn’t just sit back and think “Well, it’s not going to matter if we do this, if so-and-so (and everyone else) isn’t doing it, too.”  Why?  Because it does matter!  It matters to our peace of mind, it matters to the earth, it matters to our health… aren’t those 3 very important places to start?

 

There are so many environmental topics I want to blog about and it’s hard to make up my mind on where to start.  They say to always start at the beginning and that sounds fair to me.  I’ll tell you what got me started (the 2nd time, I should say).  It was a documentary about plastic grocery bags called “Bag It.”  Yep – that did it… all I was doing was simply watching a documentary on NetFlix and this guy came on and made sense… maybe too much sense.  For me, it was like when you make a snowman.  You start out with just a handful of snow and before you know it, you’ve rolled it into part of a big Frosty-like snowman!  That’s exactly what it was like for me, one thing lead to another, then another.  I read as much as I could about how detrimental these plastic bags were to our planet, and from there it grew and grew.  Then it was composting, then more recycling, but more than recycling, what about reducing and reusing?  Aren’t those supposed to come before recycling?    I could list more, but since I’m straying I’ll get back to my original topic…  One thing can change your outlook on many things.  I know this, because that’s what happened to me.

 

Here on my blog, I’d like to tell you about my journey to a greener and simpler lifestyle.  I hope you’ll stick around to read some more of my thoughts and ideas.  Along the way, I’ll introduce you to posts I’ve found from other bloggers that have helped me learn what I have.  I’ve found that the blogging community is full of friendly, knowledgeable people who always want to help others learn about what is important to them.  My posts won’t all be environmental, some of them will be things like how we have become a throw-away-society, what our children are (and aren’t) being taught in schools, ways I’ve made my lifestyle more “natural”, how to make (and use) homemade cleaning products, where does our trash go?, where does our recycling go?, etc.  I have a lot of things to write about, things that are important to me and hopefully, to you as well.

 

 

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12 Responses to Starting to “Turn Green”

  1. lobotero says:

    Good post. I think it will take another generation before really progress can be made……

    • It may at that, Chuq. I have all the confidence in the world that things done the “old-fashioned” way are still the best way. I’ve always thought it and always tried throughout my life to do things that many might consider to be “old-fashioned”, such as knitting our own socks, mittens, etc for myself, hubby and the kids. Another example is that I used to make all our own bread for quite a while when the kids were growing up – I can remember even now how many loaves – 16 per week!!!
      Thanks for the visit and hope to see you around with my next post! I’ll be over to your food blog as soon as I get caught up here and with a few emails! Then, it’s on to all my favorite blogs!

      ~Marie

  2. indiedyer says:

    Good on you for giving it another go! Have you ever heard of the floating plastic islands in the ocean? Look at this video if you have time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en4XzfR0FE8
    I’m sure it will boost your resolve even more! Keep up the good work.

    • HI! Thanks for visiting (and commenting), it’s always nice to visit with my new friends!
      Yes! I’ve seen that – isn’t it horrible?!? I’ve known of it before, but I saw a few documentaries on areas that gather plastic and it’s a shame what has happened with it all. Sad for the animals and marine life, sad for our planet!

      Thanks for that link, as I had seen it on the documentary, but didn’t know it was on YouTube. I may use that in an upcoming post I’m working on – I have a few other videos to share links with my readers, some are free online (full length) documentaries, too.
      I am planning on visiting your blog later on today, been real busy, but need to see what you’ve been up to since “burnt orange” (and yes, I’m still chuckling over that one – the name, not the incident)! Have a great day1

  3. runtspickins says:

    I will definitely be here to read along and follow your journey! My husband is 26 and I’m 23 and we do all that we can to be self sufficient. Not just to save the economy – we do it for ourselves and how it makes us feel. Unfortunately we didn’t get to do a garden last year but WE WILL be doing one next year. We started our compost pile about two years ago – which means that we will have A LOT of compost for our garden next year. My husband hunts and he does it for food – so we save a lot of money on the grocery bill that way. I still buy chicken at the store but anything that calls for beef (ground or steak, etc.) I just use venison instead. The last deer he got we took to a butcher and he charged us $1.75 per pound of ground meat. $1.75?! That is nothing compared to what you will pay for ground beef at the store – at that store price is only going to go up. I have a Kitchenaid mixer so we will eventually just cough up the $50 for the meat grinder attachment and process the meat ourselves. At least that way we will know where the food is coming from and how it is it being handled – although I’m not saying our butcher was expensive and/or dirty. He did a great job and who knows – maybe we will get lazy with a deer and decide to pay the butcher instead of doing it ourselves lol. It’s not just about saving money though – it’s about knowing what you’re putting in your body. For example, the garden. No preservatives, no pesticides – if it’s coming out of your garden it’s most likely going to be all natural. Also, I recently started using homemade cleaners in my house. In case you didn’t know – rubbing alcohol and an old wash cloth make for EXCELLENT carpet cleaner. I am so not kidding. To make a long story short (not that this comment is short) we had an old old nasty pet stain in of our guest bedrooms before we moved into our house. We had a professional carpet cleaning company come in and they could not get the stain out. Guess what? I read about the alcohol, tried it and that stain is GONE. Like it never happened. I’ve used it on other spots on my carpet – the dirt stains from people coming in the back door, eye liner that fell and smeared on the carpet, etc. and it ALL came out. I’ve started using peroxide as kitchen counter cleaner (it’s non toxic so that’s a plus) and peroxide with baking soda in the oven, the bathtubs. etc. One more comment I will make (sorry this is so long!) is that it’s not a thought of “why does it matter if I do it if “so and so” isn’t doing it” or “I’m just one person” or anything like that – I think of it this way – it’s not hard, it doesn’t take a lot of time to do (like recycling, or turning off a light you’re not using) so why not just do it? It’s not hard to do, it’s not hurting anything to do it – so why not just do it?

    • Runtpickins – wow, that’s a reply and a half – I love it!!!
      First, I’m so glad you’ll be here with me, I hope you know that means a lot to me. I look forward to your input, too! OK, in reply… I’ve switched to many homemade cleaners at this time. What is going on is that I’m finishing up things I had purchased before deciding to switch, but when I run out of something I ask myself if it’s something I can make on my own. Usually the answer is “Yes!”. I’ve made and am currently using my own Laundry soap, fabric softener, baby wipes (no, no babies here, just me – but I like having them around). I do have to make some glass cleaner today, as my Windex is almost empty. A few weeks ago, I stocked up on Rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and washing soda. Today when I shopped, I stocked up on baking soda, vinegar (which I normally buy by the gallon anyway, bc I always use it for many things) and let me see… I know there was more than that… Oh well, my brain has vacated me… I’m getting nothing. Let’s suffice it to say that I’m pretty much ready to do battle with ingredients for most any cleaner I need to make. That subject is one that will be upcoming. It’s not that I need to provide any recipes for these things, since they’re all over the ‘net, but I may give links to the ones I’ve used, as well as my results, etc..

      That’s great that your hubby hunts! One year, my husband got both a deer and a moose and I can remember how good that tasted! I miss the roasts in the crock pot and the special way anything made with the ground meat tasted – mmmmm!!! The moose he had a friend cut up and it cost us nothing, the scraps were made into hamburg down at the grocery store for $20. The deer he carved/cut himself. Now, I know you have to know what you’re doing, because I’ve received wild meat from other people and not even been able to chew the beautiful roast, all because it was cut wrong.

      Well I have to run for now, thanks so much for your comment and hope you didn’t get bored reading my reply! Thanks for the visit and I’ll see you soon, as I plan to go “blogging around the neighborhood” tonight!

      ~Marie

      • runtspickins says:

        Hey! =] When my husband got his deer he cut the steaks, stew meat and roast himself and then gave everything else to the butcher to ground and to make into breakfast sausage. My husband did make deer jerky a couple of years ago and that was really good! That’s funny that you mention the roast because I actually made my first roast ever, in the crock pot, with the venison and it was REALLY good!
        A comment to your window cleaner – I’ve read that peroxide is a really good mirror/window cleaner that leave any streaks! I haven’t tried it yet but I heard that when you use it you might freak out at first because it will be cloudy/streaky but just wait a couple seconds and it will dry completely clear.
        Like you I have some things that I need to use up so that I’m not just throwing them away. There are also some things that I’m kind of afraid to try homemade, like laundry detergent. I don’t LOVE powder detergent and don’t know a recipe for the liquid kind. Another one I’m worried about trying is face wash and that’s because it took me SO long to find a product that worked for me. I tried everything under the sun, inexpensive to expensive and I’ve finally found something so I’m kind of worried about straying from that. I will say that one product I love to buy for cleaning are the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Those things seriously work wonders!

        • Runtpickins I am so glad your husband was able to do that on his own. I know from experience that some people know how to cut and some don’t. It can be disastrous and ruin what should be a good cut of meat if it’s cut the wrong way.

          As far as the window cleaner goes, after much searching around the ‘net, I found a post about a woman who tried many different recipes for glass cleaner and shows how she tested it out (she taped her mirror into sections, dirtying each side in order to test them). If you’d like to read it, you can find it here: http://www.crunchybetty.com/battle-of-the-homemade-glass-cleaners I went with the one she calls “Alvin Corn Glass Cleaner” since it was one she judged as “the winner”. Good blog post she has there!

          I just recently made my own liquid laundry soap and I’ll be making a post about it, too. I just have to gather all my links, etc along with my pictures. It’s amazing how much I got out of what I bought and how cheap it was to make it! I’m sure you’ll see it when I post it and if I can remember to do so, I’ll come let you know.

          As far as facial wash goes, I really don’t know. I haven’t got that far yet to be honest with you. If I find something that might work, I’ll be sure to let you know, though! I know what you mean about finally finding one, because I have to be very choosy with soaps, etc.

          • runtspickins says:

            It really be can pretty disastrous if you don’t know what you’re doing when your butchering your game. You could be wasting a lot of meat if you don’t know what you’re doing! He recently got a DVD that shows you to how to butcher the WHOLE deer and it’s pretty interesting. I think it’s called Field to Freezer or something like that.
            I will have to check out the website you sent me about the window cleaner. I’ve still got quite a bit of Windex to use up though. When I clean my windows I used coffee filters (from the dollar store) because they don’t leave streaks or anything like that. I am trying to wean myself away from buying paper napkins and towels. I finally ran out of paper towels and will not be buying anymore. I still have paper napkins on the table though and I will hopefully slowly change those out to cloth napkins. I will probably keep somm paper napkins in my pantry for bigger events at the house, but I’ll try not to use them unless I absolutely have to.
            I am looking forward to your liquid detergent recipe! I just worry about my soaps and face cleaners because I have sensitive skin. It makes me worried to try anything else but I know I should at least try it.

  4. Marie,
    I am so glad you came and visited my site today because I was wondering when you were going to add to your site, then I see that it’s wordpress’s fault it was my settings. So now that’s fixed and I’ll be here more often.
    I’ve seen Bag It, and several more documentaries. I watch many on topdocumentaryfilms.com, where they are all free, if you want environmental films check it out.

    I have been using green cleaners for so long it’s second nature. I have a neighbor who just happened to realize I clean with baking soda and brought me two boxes she had in her fridge. Of course you can’t eat or cook with this, but hey I now get free cleaning supplies every time she changes the deodorizer in her fridge.

    My children didn’t get the three “R’s” in school, then it was all about saying no to drugs. I have a problem with the way it’s presented, there should be 4 R’s Repair should be first in the process. They leave that one out and it’s still wasting of products. Maybe that’s because they still want us to buy new stuff.

    I get asked the question about why I live the way I do in a studio apartment when I could have a bigger place. People tell me that my reduction of heat and so on won’t make a difference because I am only one person. I don’t care, I know I am doing what is right in my heart. The funny thing is that now people are starting to follow what I am doing. When it comes to tossing something out that could be repaired, they call me to see if I can find it a home or repair it. People are now asking if they can drop recyclables off at my place because they don’t have recycling pick up where they are. I figure my landlord pays for the bin regardless of how much is in it, so why not. The grand kids are coming to me when something breaks of theirs to ask me if it can be fixed. It may only be a hairband, or a cardboard box (that would have been in the recycling) but it’s a process of learning that could stay with them.

    I guess what I am saying is that one person can make a difference. I can’t wait to see what else you can teach me.

  5. Yes, I’ve been to topdocumentaryfilms, too! I have NetFlix (basic one) as a gift from someone and they have some great documentaries that I’ve watched, too. One of my planned, upcoming posts will be ones that I’ve watched, links to the free ones, etc.
    I think you do great – it doesn’t matter where we live, IMO. I think people can live their chosen lifestyle any place they please and you’re living proof of such!

    I bought two large boxes of baking soda the other day and then yesterday when I went to the little corner grocery store in our small town, I saw that they had the small (1lb) boxes with an offer of “buy 2 get a free year of Better Homes and Gardens”. I bit – I like the magazine and knew that I’d use the baking soda, so it’s a win-win for me! I agree, baking soda used in the fridge is fine to clean sinks, etc with. Waste not – want not, right?

    Thanks so much for visiting! I have a new post I”m working on, should be posted Sunday or Monday, whenever I get a bit of time – we’ve been so busy weatherizing now for winter and cold weather has hit us hard over the past few days, so we have to get it done sooner than we planned.

    I’m flattered that you want to learn from me, I know I’ve already learned a lot from you and other bloggers – I think that’s what it’s all about, sharing the knowledge!

  6. Pingback: Why Clean Your Home “Naturally”? | MaineGreenGirl

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