I have been in a whirlwind the last two weeks. My mom came for a visit and ended up throwing her back out and wasn’t able drive home. Having her is great, but any outsider stirs things up at home, and she is no exception. We had some interesting talks, she shared some stories from the family ranch, and took me on a marathon of Years of Living Dangerously (that show should be required viewing, especially for teenagers), but I didn’t make it here as often as I should have. I literally fell asleep with my computer several nights in a row. I apologize for my absence, please accept my “excuse.”
While she was visiting we tried out some great small steps that we can all apply to our everyday lives. Here are three easy things you can do today to combat climate change.
Forget the To Go Containers
This one is so easy I am so embarrassed that I did not start this earlier. When you grab a cup of coffee bring your own cup, duh, we all know that. Robert and I got insulated coffee cups for Christmas and I really love how warm they keep our morning brew. Well actually mine has been filled with water and lemon lately but its the same idea. We got ours through MiiR, I loved that they were insulated, had very little plastic, that they donate a portion of your sale and that you could track that donation so you know where it went. The two downfalls are that if you knock it over it will spill because the lid doesn’t close, and that they are not made in the USA. I tried really hard to find one in the latter, but the only one I found was made almost entirely of plastic. Moving on beyond coffee is tackling left overs, yes left overs. We go out to eat far more than I would like to admit. A lot of the time its just M & I and the last thing I want to do after a long day is cook and clean up the mess myself. Very rarely can the two of us finish all the food on our table which means we were left with two options – leave it for waste or bring it home in single use, likely plastic, containers. None of those are a good option!! Wait, we can bring our own containers!! My mom loves to go out to eat, so we went out almost everyday that she was here and every time we brought our own jars to fill with left overs. It worked great, Chinese, sushi, Italian, pizza, even California cuisine all were handled nicely with our jars. I simply slipped some clean options in a bag and carried it in just like a purse. When we finished with what we could eat we put the left overs in our jars and viola, no waste! The restauranteurs were very receptive to it, it saves them money, and I couldn’t tell if any other diners even noticed, although I hope they did. What’s also a hidden bonus, you pop the containers right in the fridge and because they are sealed so well there are no harsh odors every time to you open the door for some water! Phew.
Compost Your Dog’s Waste
Not exactly the most glamorous topic but a very important one to say the least. I once read an article about the amount of dog feces that pollute our water ways, lets just say its not pretty. It made me ashamed to be a dog owner. All those people who don’t pick it up…shame on you. Thanks to Sarah’s post Robert made the call to the garbage company to get the smallest possible garbage can and he asked whether we could put our dog poop in our green bin and they said YES! I am over the moon about this. Who knew one could be so excited about dog poop, but I am. I was so worried that our only option was going to be to install a pet composter in our yard, and while I am sure I could find the space I love every inch of my yard and barely want to share with the dogs as is…much less take up space for their waste! You should avoid the compostable bags because they clog the machines they use to chop up the green waste before they begin breaking it down. Not frowning on that as it will save us money! Bringing a paper bag on our walks should suffice and a pooper scooper will be ours soon, or his, I should be really clear who does the scooping at our house. We haven’t landed on a scooper yet, possibly this one, since its made in the USA, but as you can imagine I want to do more research…I’m only buying one! So if you have a pet check with your local waste management team, you could be composting their waste today!
Cover That Pot!
Another totally ridiculous and embarrassing fact is that I would never cover my pots when boiling water. I know it gets to boiling faster if I put a lid on it, but I never made the connection that the more time spent means more time burning fossil fuels.Missy helped me realize that if I put a lid on my pot of pasta water, in between stirs on my pad thai, or my pot of black beans they cook quicker, I use less fossil fuels, and it helps reduce my hefty gas bill, win win win! There are certainly dishes that you cannot apply this to but there are a lot that you can! I have a gas stove and I have begun to feel really guilty about using it. In Marin County the majority of our electricity comes from renewable sources, nearly all of it actually, but that is obviously not the case for gas. We just remodeled our kitchen two years ago with a built in stove top. At the moment it doesn’t necessarily make financial sense to make the switch, nor does it seem reasonable to toss out something brand new, but it does haunt me. I must practice what I preach and I struggle with this one. It is the only area where I do feel like the fossil fuel option is better, although they are making great strides in electric cooktops. They are certainly easier to clean and to maintain! Regardless of having gas or electric, when you can put a lid on it and save some energy and harmful fossil fuels.
Cheers and let me know how these go!!