Green Finale!

keep calm

So my two month Green push has come to an end.  Overall it was a really great project, and one that I think can always to added to over time.  Here are a few last projects I did over the last two weeks:

Composting!

We already had a compost pile, but always getting there wasn’t happening.  I used to have a large bin under the sink that just led to a stinky kitchen and bin.  Not a good incentive to keep composting.  This time I tried to use a smaller plastic container to take collect food from each meal prep and take it our right away.  This will be easy to keep up in the summer, but will probably not work for winter.  This was also the first year that we were actually able to use our composting in the garden.  Which is probably why my garden grew so well and easily this year 🙂

…speaking of which…

Gardening!

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Not just another pretty face, my garden produced a fair amount of produce this year.  Radishes and spinach aplenty!

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Also my strawberry plant finally produced a strawberry… one expensive strawberry

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Very delicious though!

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Even though my garden turned out awesome and delicious and think at this point in time gardening is not for me.  I’m not around enough for the upkeep or even to eat the full bounty!  The herbs worked out well, and they were a lovely addition that I would love to keep year round.  However they tend to bolt when I’m gone too long and stop producing their tasty leaves.  So I might be better off with grocery store herbs and produce for now.

…speaking of which…

Thinking about how much food I buy and ways of using it all!

I am definitely thinking more about what I am buying produce wise at the store now.  My eyes are almost always bigger than my stomach, and fruit and veggies tend to make a lot more than I think while cooking.  I also started to look up ways to freeze or preserve foods while we go away for weeks at a time.  So here are my latest trials:

Fruit is super easy, just freeze it and use for smoothies upon return 🙂

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Leftover veggies and chicken lent themselves nicely to soup… which you can also freeze!

IMG_2168(This picture made me realize I need to work on my photography… it really was tasty though!)

So instead of coming home to rotting fruits and veggies, I came home to soup and smoothies… yum!

So here ends June and July’s challenge of going greener, and I feel like it was a complete success.  While there are more ways I could be greener still, I’m happy with the progress I made.  I believe every bit counts and the more it’s on my mind, the more changes I will make over time.

I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security.

Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad.

Otherwise what is there to defend?

-Robert Redford 

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Outdoor addict!

Going Green Goal #9 :

Spend more Time outdoors

I have to say this was the easiest one of all to accomplish.  I think anyone who lives in Canada or a northern climate must get that good weather itch as winter just refuses to quit.  So once warmish weather is finally here I’m out and about (said with a Canadian accent) as much as I can be.  This month as been especially easy since most of my work has been outside as well!  Currently I am in Victoria BC and if being here doesn’t make you want to spend every moment possible outside and try to save the environment every way you can…nothing will!

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Yay, finally something on this list that was easy and fun and I was already doing pretty well.  Now if I can only find a way to happily be outside in the winter as well…

Grocery lessons

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So I didn’t notice too much of a difference in the taste of organic vs regular supermarket produce (except the organic yams which were amazing).  Here are the differences I did notice:

1.) Organic produce is about twice as expensive as regular produce.

2.) The organic packaged options were crazy expensive and not always that good for you

3.) I was more careful about what and how much I bought when I bought organic because I assumed it was more expensive and I didn’t want to waste it.  So my produce bill wasn’t twice as expensive even though technically it should have been.  I actually waste quite a bit of produce, which I have never paid attention to before.

4.) Some, of my organic produce what much quicker to ripen and most products had a shorter shelf  life

5.) freshly made bread is amazing

6.) I will never pay $10 for tortillas no matter how many organic ingredients are in there.

7.) Groceries, even organic groceries are cheaper than eating out will ever be.

Buying organic seems really expensive when you try to ditch all your staples at once and buy everything organic.  However if you replace what you have with an organic version once you run out… it doesn’t feel so overwhelming or expensive.  I am hoping that all the green initiatives you can take to save you money will even out the more expensive produce 🙂   When I first starting researching all of this it seemed difficult and expensive because I was thinking in terms of all or nothing.  Lately I’ve been realizing that even a little more organic or eco-friendly is better than none.  I’d rather take small, slow steps than none at all!

So if you are starting slowly too, the Environmental Working Group has a list of the produce that tend to have the most pesticides on them.  They call this grouping the, “Dirty Dozen” and suggest that at the very least you buy these items organically.  Here’s a link to their site:

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

I think the most important things I will take away from this small experiment are buying the dirty dozen organically and also paying closer attention to what I am buying to avoid food waste.  Hopefully by implementing both of these strategies I will be ingesting less toxins and also not doubling my grocery bill!

Continuing the Green Push

So July is here and yet again I have failed to hit the deadline of one month.  I don’t have a problem making this a two month project (there is a lot to keep doing).  However I am annoyed with how I have done writing about it all.  So I’m adding on to this month.  Although it seems counterintuitive to add more when I have trouble completing what I am doing, let me explain.  I think about what I am doing/ working on all the time, and I love staying in the planning process.  But sometimes I have a very difficult time leaping into action.  So this month combined with continuing to go greener, I will be doing more by doing less.  I’m going to set aside less time to do the work (rather than giving myself all day and night), but when that time is passed… no more work.  Hopefully I will be forced into action instead of planning myself into oblivion.  Or this blog will be sadly empty for the rest of the month and it will be clear that this method does not help 🙂

So July:

Continue to go greener!

Set specific work hours and stay within them

Start August’s project on time!

 

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Also,self  created busy-ness is nothing special to me!

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/

 

 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reuse-Reduce-Recycle

When I think about recycling or trying to be “greener”  the three R’s are what pops into my mind.  It was drilled into me as a child, but in everyday life it starts to be easier to just not think about it while chucking the old and buying the new and cheap.  There’s a really great short internet film about this called, “The Story of Stuff.”  I really like her videos, and if that doesn’t make you Rethink (another R!) your choices perhaps one of her other films will:

The Story of Electronics

The Story of Cosmetics

The Story of Bottled Water

( I watched this one a couple of years ago and I have almost never bought bottled water since)

I’m pretty good about throwing recyclables into the blue bin, but here are a few of the things i did instead of what I would normally do…which is throw it away or buy new:

I borrowed a tool

I remembered to put bags in the car to use them at the grocery store… huge victory in my world 🙂

I reused old jars and food containers in place of Tupperware

I donated old clothes and Repurposed some as rags

I sold items on craigslist

I composted more regularly (more on that later!)

I mended… I mean Repaired stuff :  4 socks, two shirts, one pair of shoes, and one belt!

I took pictures of things I wanted to buy instead of buying them ( I started doing this in Japan.  Even though I sometimes feel silly in the store, I have saved myself from so many impulse buys!)

I planned out and combined my errands so I used less gas… I am bad at this one in general.

It’s not like I think these are huge contributions or that I single handedly will be saving our environment.  I like to think about it like compounding interest.  Little bits of change that add up to a lot of change over a lifetime.  It makes a difference with money and training and learning languages and pretty much everything I have tried to get better at.  So I think it will make a difference in this case too and if it doesn’t… it probably won’t hurt!

 

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”

-Albert Einstein*

So in the end just ask your self a few simple questions before you go out and buy new stuff or throw away the stuff you already have… Can I reduce this waste, can I reuse this item, is it recyclable?  Make it a habit and you’ll be saving muhla along with the environment!

p.s. If you aren’t the most handy maybe one of these will be opening near you:

Repair Cafe

 

* p.s.s.  There is some debate over if Einstein said this and how he meant it… but I still like it 🙂

Faux Breeze

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I love using Febreze… but my allergy-prone nose just can’t get on board.  Here’s a recipes for a DIY Febreze that I’ve actually known about for a while.  While performing you tend to end up wearing costumes that either aren’t that easily washed or just need a little help to get them to the next cast laundry day.  I’ve heard different recipes and I think it depends on the level of stink you are trying to rid, but this is the one I use most.  In the past I have only used it on clothing/costumes that were recently worn to kill the bacteria that cause B.O.

“Faux Breeze”

50/50 mix cheap vodka/ water in a spray bottle

To reiterate this is deodorizer not a cleaning spray!

 I made a smaller bottle up and added peppermint oil and used it more like Febreze, by spraying it on the carpets and other less often washed areas… no problems yet 🙂

Planting a Garden… is it actually greener?

veggie garden

 

I swore up and down to myself that this year I would not plant a garden.  However when I decided to do this project and saw it mentioned over and over again, it was like twisting my rubber arm.  Sure, I’ll try gardening again!  But I really don’t think that is a “greener” or good economical choice for me in particular.  Yes I am adding plants to the earth, but in order to have a nicely thriving garden I am weeding out quite a bit of green too.  I don’t think you get extra green points for plants you like versus those you don’t.  Also I have to use extra water that I would otherwise not be using and most likely the garden will die or bolt while I am on the road performing.  In all likelihood I would be better off going to a farmer’s market than I would with planting my own garden.  I just don’t have the room or the time to plant a garden on a scale that would actually make a difference.  So while last year I went full tilt and bought way too many plants and seeds, this time around I tried to keep it simple and stick with the crops that worked out the best for me last year: Spinach, parsley, chives, basil, cilantro and radishes… basically I am growing a salad 🙂  In our backyard we do also have raspberries and a few strawberry plants that kind of take care of themselves.

So here’s my gardening attempt, fingers crossed that it grows 🙂

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basil

 

I decided to buy the basil as a seedling (kinda a big seedling!)  Guess which one died shortly after coming home from the nursery…

p.s. it didn’t look quite so bad when I bought it I swear!