My project 12 for this month is for my family and I to reduce our carbon footprint in 12 ways. There are well over 100 ways we could do this, so narrowing it down to just 12 was pretty tough.
Here is what we got going on this month!
- Recycle. We are pretty good about this anyway. But we are going to be really good about it…like going out of our way to be super recycling people. We made a commitment to pick up can/bottles/papers that don’t belong to us and recycle those too. Below is a picture of our cans/bottles/cardboard from our recent beach trip. There was no recycling pick up, so we collected our stuff and took it down to the recycling center three times during the week.
2. Un plug electronics. This is something I hear all the time, and say I’m going to start doing and never do. The green gurus say that the average family could save over $100 a year by unplugging. We went around the house and unplugged almost every outlet in use. We kept the fridge, oven, microwave, TV/cable, the alarm clocks, and the lamps that are connected to the switches in each of our bedrooms. Other than those, we are completely unplugged. (The whole coffee maker thing at 5:00am is going to throw me for a loop for a while.)
3. Cut out lights. This is one that we have gotten better with (unless you ask my husband), but we can always try harder. We named my 7-year-old the Master Electrician, so he is in charge of turning out lights that are not in use. He feels cool since he has a title, so that works.
4. Close the blinds and the curtains. Again, this is pretty simple. The sun doesn’t blast in, so the house stays cooler.
5. Cloth Bags. This is something I have done for years. But there are many times that I forget to put them back in the car after unloading the groceries. As much as I don’t want to admit this…there are times they are in the car and I just don’t want to walk back out to the parking lot to get them. (I’m so sorry Earth.)
6. Buy Local. We have chickens, so we are in the plus zone there…you can’t get anymore local than your own backyard! (we also buy our feed from Renfow’s.) We are going to shop at farmer’s markets (www.localharvest.org) , support local businesses , and we even made the commitment to buy organic, fair trade coffee. We drink a lot of coffee, so we are thinking our pot-a-day habit has got to make a difference.
7. Plant a Tree. They may look like they aren’t doing much, but trees help the environment in many ways. Trees provide cleaner air, soil and water. They provide natural shelter, and help regulate temperatures. Not sure where it is going, what type it will be, or when, but this family is planting a tree this month.
8. Cloth Napkins. This is a pretty easy one to adapt. We started doing this a few years ago, and I love it. We have a quaint variety of assorted napkins that were wedding gifts, ones that the kids picked out and some that were handed down. Come to our house for dinner one evening, and not one of the napkins will match. (except maybe on Thanksgiving.)
9. Cold Water. Dishes and clothes will be washed only in cold water. We are using warm water for quick showers this month, and no baths. Baths average twice as much water verses showers.
10. Car efficiency. I am going to drive my car, but I am going to be conscious of how much, how fast, and how many trips. We have a library within walking distance, and I drive there four days a week. Walking there would be a fun adventure for my children. Oh, and I guess I will have to drive the speed limit. With the windows down.
11. Set the thermostat at 75 degrees. When it is 90 degrees outside, 75 degrees feels pretty awesome. A few years ago, I read that you should sleep with the temperature set at 68 degrees for optimal rest. So that is what I have done for years. Spoiler alert: I’ve rested fine the past few nights with the temperature being 7 degrees higher. (I also didn’t use my electric blanket and the giant down comforter. Again…I’m so sorry Earth.)
12. Hang clothes to dry. I already line dry my yoga clothes, and dry my other stuff on low/medium. Towels and sheets are usually washed in hot water and dried on high heat. Guess what though? These turned out just fine. Plus, it was like colorful flags were waving right outside the window.
Wish us luck on this journey! I will keep you updated on how the month goes.
Have you ever tried to go greener as a family?