Hi there, and happy Friday! Today is cleaning day, reading day (for fun and for school), and movie night (Shyamalan’s latest, Glass which combines Split and Unbreakable. Andrew promises its ok to watch at night. We’ll see). While cleaning, I’ve been reflecting on my and AJ’s goal for the year, or becoming less wasteful, less dependent on plastic, gasoline, and energy; and more mindful about how we spend our time, use our resources and engage the world.
So, I thought I’d take a quick break to recharge, have some hint of root beer seltzer, and share some of our progress toward and learnings from our goal. Our home feels like it’s 50% window, so we have a wealth of natural lighting. Lights that don’t need to be on are always off, and we have saved a lot on our energy bill. Not to mention, natural light is important for regulating sleep hormones in the body (I learned that in dementia and caregiving class).
We have also been surprised at how much less plastic we are using by buying in bulk, and using reusable bags. We buy loose produce and bring our own reusable, washable mesh produce bags to the store with us, so we don’t contribute to landfill waste with the plastic produce bags at the store. We carry our groceries home in beautiful, colorful bags called Love Bags, which I found at the container store; and reusable bags from Aldi, Sprouts, and Publix.
To cut down on packaging, we buy yogurt in big tubs, and I keep mine in the staff fridge at work – my lunch is yogurt and peanut butter mixed together, carrots and hummus, broccoli and a cheese stick. Smaller goals for the coming month include making my own hummus, so I don’t buy packaged hummus, and cutting pieces of cheese from a larger block, instead of buying individually packaged cheese sticks.
We are also planning to start buying Homestead Creamery milk, which comes in a glass bottle and is refillable.
We buy bulk beans and dry goods at the farmer’s market, and reuse the containers for storing homemade veggie stock, Andrew uses them to take leftovers for lunch,and we store veggies and fruits for freezing. We are lacto- ovo -pescatarians, so for buying fish, we use the Seafood Watch app, which denotes sustainably sourced fish you might find in your local grocer. It takes some research, but it’s worth it so you won’t feel terrible when you accidentally buy parrot fish on sale at the farmer’s market.
Please do not consume parrot fish. I don’t think it tastes good, but more importantly, parrot fish are the guardians of coral reefs – they keep the reefs alive. That was a mistake I made that I repented of. It’s possible the fish tasted like guit, to me, and it may be a fine tasting fish. But it’s best to keep them in the ocean.
For cleaning, I use Mrs. Myers cleaning products, and for a non-toxi scour on pots and pans (including cast iron), I use coarse sea salt and half a lemon. Scatter some salt over the surface of your pan, squeeze a lemon over the salt, and use the lemon to scrub, scrub, scrub your pan. Toss the lemon half into the garbage disposal for an easy sanitizing refresher.
To save on gas, we use one car whenever possible, which has been greatly possible these days. I drop Andrew off at Emory in the morning on my way to work, and pick him up after. If he’s finished before me, he works on his thesis at the library until I’m done. It’s been great for saving gas, reducing our emissions and carbon footprint, and we get to spend quality time together that way. Since we are both students, our time at home is mostly spent in study. The extra time is nice.
For laundry, we are using Method laundry detergent, but when that runs out, we will switch to Charlie’s Soap. Charlie’s soap doesn’t create as many suds, but still gets your clothes nice and clean. Once at the ocean, I saw a stream of suds in the sand, and my sister said “thats what happens when you use most detergents in your washer.” It stuck with me so I try to stick to low sudsing, earth-friendly detergents.
These are just my tips and learnings from a new endeavor in lifelong learning of care for the earth. In the next few weeks, we’ll be looking into soda stream machines to consider that as an option for cutting canned seltzers, and a yogurt maker, to cut packaging of yogurt all together.
Next up, I will share my reading list for this year. It is heavy on minority voices. I usually buy my books online, and will continue to do that, with the exception of books by indigenous authors, and authors of color. Indigenous people have been silenced since they were first slaughtered to have their land taken from them and collonized, and continue to be silenced. I will buy their books in the real bookstore, in an effort to support valuing that Native Americans are still with us, and valuable to us.
In these times, we need to take care of one another, and of the one earth we have.
P.S. Thank you for reading my blog. I’m sorry for the ads. I’m saving up for a premium theme, so those will go away. I thought they would with the latest upgrade, but I’m working on it! Thanks for coming back.