The urge to resolve hits me at different times... for many years running it struck on my birthday (which is, after all, my
new year). Ever the rebel, I seized the opportunity to flaut tradition, ignoring January first almost completely and making my lists and checking them twice every July 19th. This year, with climate change heavy on the minds and hearts of many, myself included, it seemed appropriate to make some Earth Day Resolutions. Since I have made it my business (literally, it's called Georgia Green Living
) to provide individual and group consulting and workshops on sustainable living topics, I have been incubating ideas for "upping the green ante" in my own life. When we make changes, I teach my clients that we have to incorporate sustainability there as well-- many changes vast and sweeping may sound, and even be, fantastic, but if we push too far we'll crash and burn, likely dropping all of our great efforts in a reaction to overextension. Thus, I limited myself to three feasible-right-now-for-me changes. I can't remember much more than three things consistently; less than that and I'd always think I had forgotten one. And note that phrase: feasible right now for me
. This is crucial to successful change, and a little self-knowledge is crucial to accurately evaluating what you can and cannot do right now
. I include this as a disclaimer so that if you feel inspired by this, which I hope you do, you'll do what you need to in order to be successful with your resolutions. Without further ado, here are mine (drum roll, please):I resolve to hang my clothes to dry.
Using the dryer has been a guilty pleasure (if laundry can be considered a pleasure in the first place) for some time; I feel I've reached the tipping point with the guilt now. So for Earth Day I ordered one of those old-fashioned umbrella-style laundry dryers
to put in the yard. The one I ordered from Stacks and Stacks
was competitively priced and one reviewer claimed it held two loads of laundry. I even squeezed in on a 15% off deal. Although I expect some adjustments in making the transition (I know line-dried clothes tend to feel "crunchy") I am excited about it. I'll report back on the impact on our power bill-- since we use cloth diapers I expect it will be fairly substantial.I resolve to drive more gently and slowly, and to coast as much as possible.
I used to do better on the coasting, seeing how high I could push my mileage (I already get at least 42 mpg out of my VW Jetta wagon TDI-- that's their diesel engine-- and I've gotten as much as 49 mpg). But lately I've gotten out of the habit, and I've been driving more, running later, and (blush) speeding like a madwoman. I already keep my tires properly inflated and my car tuned up, and since I drive a manual transmission I don't accelerate too rapidly, all of which add up to fuel savings. But my cruising speeds, and consequently my braking for the unexpected, have been costing me (and therefore the planet). Nothing but a change of habit is called for here, something I can stay motivated to do pretty easily what with diesel being over $4 a gallon already and, it seems, only going up. Sheesh. Can you
say "revenge of the dinosaurs"?!I resolve to build community locally
This one is kind-of a part deux to the previous. Driving all over creation is just not in the budget anymore, and with the environmental impact of driving being what it is, it really never should have been. Ugh, more guilt! On the return trip from my current teaching gig (once a week I attempt to guide a small handful of homeschooled teenagers through something that resembles high school biology), a full ninety minutes (almost 70 miles) one way, I decided there must be people closer to home that I can connect with. Add to this my need to find some relief from the isolation that small children naturally create, and voila, I am determined to create some real community in my own
community. I'm not yet clear what this will look like, but I trust the vision to come in its own time. I'll keep ya posted on that too.
There you have it, my thoughts from Earth Day. If you like this idea, I'd love to hear your resolutions too! The more we share our ideas, the more momentum gained for positive change, so keep the conversations going! And happy belated Earth Day to you!
Labels: Earth Day, environment, green living, sustainability