Thursday, July 6, 2006

Environmental Learning

Awareness is half the battle. Action is the other half, of course, but first we have to acknowledge a problem and become aware of or options.

As an example, it's obvious that we produce a lot of trash and create huge trash dumps, therefore recycling is good for the Earth. But it's gotten to be more than just a good idea to reduce, reuse, recycle.
Yes, I've read through Al Gore's printed powerpoint, _An Inconvenient Truth_. I've also read through E Magazine's handbook _Green Living_. It's a useful book that lists trouble areas for pollution and consumption, and gives links to companies who provide green, humane and ecologically sound alternatives.
I figured we would start small. Recycling is happening, almost to an extreme in our household. We own a single car, a gas guzzler true, but generally used for two 15-minute trips a day. I go around the house in the morning (to the bedrooms) and then again at bedtime to turn off all unnecessary lights and a/c units (living spaces). Shopping for better options is difficult since we lack the ability to touch and test new items. But back to the links... we can start small anyway with something like organic hemp towels from We need new towels, why not get the good ones? Because they can start at $42 a bath towel. Organic cotton bath towels from run $24 per towel, a little more palatable. So I figured I'd try smaller and even more basic, like little boys boxers from But $15 per shorts. OK, smaller... how about toothpaste without all the chemicals from the well-known A tube of 6oz runs anywhere from $4-$5.
Maybe I should be willing to just fork over the cash for something that's more sustainable and easier on the Earth, and maybe I would feel better and more responsible having Earth-saving quality in my cupboards. But I admit to not getting a warm fuzzy feeling when a company asks for over $400 for 10 towels. And it's not like a single pair of underwear will get my boys through their youth. Heck, a single pair of underwear rarely gets one boy through a day.
For the future, we've decided to trade in our SUV for an SUV hybrid the first chance we get. When we have the opportunity to build a house, we have a checklist of green alternatives to implement (as long as the Earth's temperature is rising, might as well utilize solar power for electricity, natural lighting, heating and cooling). I look forward to shopping farmer's markets again, though the fruits and veggies we get here are all locally grown, and joining a fruit and vegetable collective aka Consumer Supported Agriculture. Composting doesn't thrill me, but I'm actually looking forward to doing it right.
But what to do for an awakening environmental conscience that can't choke down the cost of starting at square one? Does anyone have sites/companies they patronize that are reasonably priced for... anything?
I'm also interested in hearing what real people do in their daily lives to ease their "footprint" on our planet.

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