Reduce

As a stay-at-home mom, the household budget isn’t very big as most of you can relate. Over the last few nights, I’ve been reading blogs about some Australian moms who are trying their best to lessen their “Ecological footprint”. I am again inspired to do something. In this case, it’s to reduce- just stop buying stuff. At first I thought, this would be good for us… Buy less and use less equals lower bills, save some $, everyone wins. Then reality set in while doing the regular day to day stuff: moping with a disposable swifter cloth, kids snacking on pre-packaged fruit leathers, and of course the worst- driving the green monster to WINCO.

I think as a family, we’ve always been a little more environmentally conscious than the average Joe, but I realize that we (everyone!) need to do more. If we don’t, by the time our kids are in their 50’s, some of the results will be severe drought and famine, many more weather disasters similar to Hurricane Katrina, sea levels will rise and cities such as Manhattan will be underwater! I think it was a few months ago that the Oregonian reported that the biggest carbon dioxide contributors were energy plants. I was surprised since I assumed it was the ones we always heard about: cars, deforestation, etc. Since then, I’ve been more aware of turning on lights only when necessary, remembering to turn off the furnace when we’re not home, and trying to wash less. (Hey, I’m at home all day who cares if I wear the same thing for two days!)

OK, Chris piping in here. Global warming may not be contributing to more severe storms in the gulf coast (or anywhere else). Climate and weather are not the same things. Don’t get me wrong there are serious implications of global warming but I think that we are looking for solutions in the wrong places. Alternative energy sources, bio-diesel, ethanol, wind power etc. are all fine and dandy but the main problem is not finding new energy sources. We need to use less energy. I know that is not as sexy as growing your own gas (which itself uses a lot of oil- farming equipment, fertilizer, transportation and distribution) but it makes more sense. Using less is; free, 100% efficient, does not require government subsidies, usually healthier, and something everyone can do. Take the bus, live near work, buy local, purchase in bulk, eat food in season. Most of these things save money and are more sustainable.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. The words are in that order for a reason. Recycling is not much better for the environment than throwing materials in the trash. The recycled material still needs to be remanufactured into a useable product. This costs energy, often less than using virgin materials, but it is still a significant energy cost. Reusing helps to limit the amount of material produced. (Yogurt tubs make great little pots for starting plants.) Reducing totally eliminates some energy cost. It is often more work and involves sacrifice, but the results are more significant. I don’t care how organic that banana is, someone still had to ship it halfway around the world.

Have a nice day. 🙂

My next step in reducing this family’s ecological footprint is to NOT BUY another new thing for the rest of the month. (I think baby steps is necessary here. The Australian moms have committed to not buying anything new for a whole year! Waaaay out of my league.) This might not be too hard for us since Chris and I have always loved to visit our local thrift stores. I love love love garage and estate sales. And Chris has been known for his “dumpster diving” treasures. Our only exception will be for food of course, but I will try not to buy things that are pre-packaged, processed or that can be made at home.

I’m worried that this world as we know it will not be the same for Augie, Eddie and Livvie to enjoy… and it makes me very sad. Am I the only one freaking out? How do you feel about this? Will you take the challenge with me? If not, what can you do to reduce? I would love to hear what you’re planing or already doing.

Oh, and on a lighter note, I didn’t have 6 kids today! So, with only 5 and Nana here to help, I whipped up another one of these:

Flannel Pants

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Fini on April 18, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    I like the new layout! Much easier to read. Oh and those pants! Can I have a pair;)

    Reply

  2. Posted by Fini on April 18, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Okay…I dont know about buying anythig NEW for a month…would Fabric count? (hee hee!) Sounds like a good idea though. Hill and I are always talking about how we dump on full bag of garbage everyday and how ridiculas it is. Maybe I will try potty training the two rug rats now huh? I will try and think of other things I could do too.

    Reply

  3. The site looks great Irene.

    Hats off to you for reducing. It makes sense, and is hard to do. My friend Stephanie has been doing the same, really cutting back. There’s a blog called the compact that lists ideas (some are a little outlandish) for reducing waste and saving money. Here’s a post she wrote about it:

    http://1badmom.blogspot.com/2007/01/knives-in-play-area.html

    Have a great morning!

    Love, Lisa

    Reply

  4. Posted by sarah bollenbaugh on April 22, 2007 at 3:53 am

    I was thinking about the same thing because I just watched “An Inconvenient Truth” and am a little freaked out. I even tried talking Ken into buying a hybrid Accord. But hey, if Chris thinks it’s all hooey, then forget about it! I’m keeping my SUV! I want to stop using the plastic bags at the grocery store but I will feel like an idiot bringing in my own bags. But I guess if its good for the environment, I shouldnt care if I look stupid – since I probably do most of the time anyways. Ha! But I do want to try and be more aware of how I impact the environment and try and make it a positive impact instead of a negative one. Good post!

    Reply

  5. Good on you for taking a look at reducing your consumption, and thanks for spreading the word. It sounds daunting but once you get into the swing of things, it’s actually not that hard. It’s just a matter of breaking old habits.
    By the way, the original San Francisco Compacters allowed raw materials for artists and creative types (including amateurs) so I’ve allowed the odd new fabric or wool purchase. Where I can though, I reuse fabric bought in op shops. It’s a challenge to work out how you can reuse things.

    Reply

  6. […] (This is his second post. You may have missed his first post which was an edit of my Reduce post. Please check it out if you have a […]

    Reply

  7. […] 18th, 2007 by Irene Okay, I lost some readers after my Reduce post and thought I’d not mention the “R” word for awhile, but I’ve got to share […]

    Reply

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