Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Greener living, one day at a time

I view the world differently. While my neighbors are firing up their lawnmowers, I am considering how to decrease the amount of lawn and increase my ability to grow more food. To me, a sunny, open expanse of lawn equals a place to grow fruits and vegetables. Collecting rain water is a cause for joy and using my urine in the garden as a nitrogen source just makes sense. I gladly wash my cloth wipes and reusable menstral pads and hang them up on the clothesline outside. I keep track of my water usage and the weight of garbage I dispose of to challenge myself to use or trash less. I clean using vinegar, baking soda and borax.

What is the point of me listing all these activities? I need to remind myself how far I have come. A year ago, I had not conceived of using cloth wipes in the bathroom. Three years ago, I scoffed at using the umbrella clothesline. Two years ago, I shrugged at the amount of water I used and said, what can I do other than collect rain water? Even though I had read about making my own hygiene supplies nearly two years ago, it was only the beginning of this year I actually made some. Last year, urban homesteading was a new and crazy concept to me. I began reusing shopping bags nearly 18 months ago.

Today is Earth Day, a day to celebrate this singular planet with its wonderful bounty. It is also a time to reflect on the legacy we would like to leave. While you can revel in your children, your comfortable home, your friends, your animal companions and your financial situation, none of this would be possible without the resources the Earth holds. On this day, think about that next step to take in your green living path. Whether motivated by frugality, self-sufficiency or lower-impact living, take the time to do something good for the environment. Plant a tree--or three, convert part of your lawn to a garden plot, compost your yard waste and vegetable peelings, or carpool at least once a week. Be kind to the Earth, share your garden bounty with your neighbors, and leave a legacy of lasting natural resources to your children. Make today the first step in your green-living journey.

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