So I had a dream about Ed Begley, Jr. last night. I was taking a P.E. exam at a high school and he came in and brought me a soda. I said thank you and told him I really loved him in “A Mighty Wind.” He blushed and said, “Really? Thanks!” I then asked him how his solar car was, and he said it was doing well. Then he left and I failed the physical test because I didn’t know the advanced yoga positions the teacher was demonstrating.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ed Begley, Jr., he’s a mostly independent film actor best known for his roles in Christopher Guest’s “mockumentories” such as “A Mighty Wind” and “Best in Show.” He is also famous for his concern for the Earth which walks a thin line between normal and insane. He was “off the grid” decades before Al Gore ever climbed up on his scissor-lift and introduced us to a Texas-sized trash swirl in the Pacific.
Perhaps he visited my dream to remind me that today is Earth Day. I could buy that Ed Begley, Jr. might be the Earth Day Bunny. Or fairy? He didn’t have big ears or wings in my dream, just a Coke…so it’s hard to know which title he prefers.
So this entry is dedicated to you, sir.
Here’s a quick list of things we do or have done in our home to help reduce our negative impact on the Earth:
- Stopped buying cases of individual water bottles! Filtered tap is best for the environment, but you can also use a jug service (or refill your own jugs for just a few cents.)
- Replaced our light bulbs with low energy compact flourescent (CF) bulbs. If you can’t afford to do the whole house in one trip, start in one room this month. Bonus: They last somewhere between 4 and 8 YEARS!
- Bought canvas bags for the grocery store. I keep some in the car in case I head out for a trip and forget to grab them.
- Rinse and reuse ziplock baggies when I give LB a snack. Often the only things I use them for are dry cereal or crackers, so I’ll rinse them and dry them and reuse them later.
- Recycle clothes into quilts, pillows, or handbags. Even if you aren’t handy with a sewing machine, there are quilters out there who would love your husband’s old dress shirts, your child’s clothes, or those floral print dresses of yours from the 90’s.
- Buy second hand anytime we can. Almost every single outfit in our son’s closet is second hand. We shop at Once Upon a Child which is a children’s resale store located all over the U.S. which resells only the highest quality children’s clothing, shoes, toys, supplies, and furniture. The products they accept are checked by their staff for safety, quality, stains, tears, or breaks. His newborn nursery was outfitted almost entirely from OUaC. They have very nice stuff, I promise. Check them out.
- Travis walks to work in rain, shine, or snow. Granted, we only live four blocks from where he works, but it can still be done. You could bike or use public transit. Get those cars OFF THE ROAD!!!
- I converted our basement into a quilting craft room for myself using almost entirely recycled materials. I’ll write an entire entry on this, but I used cleaned and dried vegetable cans as pencil, paintbrush, and marker canisters. I covered them in beautiful color-coordinated scrapbooking paper. You would never know.
- Melt broken crayons into fun and funky shapes or color combinations. I used candy molds to create cute monster crayons for LB out of broken crayons we had laying around. My big Frankencrayons are easier for his little hands to hold anyway.
- Use envelopes from bills or junk mail as scratch paper. I keep some on my desk for jotting down grocery lists, to-do lists, and phone messages.
- Eat leftovers. I make LARGE casseroles and we eat off of them for days. This saves us time and energy and means we aren’t running the sink/stove/oven to eat. It also saves us a ton of grocery money. (I’ll share some recipes soon.)
- Recycle egg cartons, rice boxes, paper towel rolls, etc. for art projects with LB. Sometimes I don’t have any plan in mind for what we’re doing, but he doesn’t know that and doesn’t really care.
- Cut up old magazines to make paper dolls, (or rugged and manly paper cars for LB), or simply let his little mind explore with collages. Travis gets magazines from his annual work convention every month that he rarely reads. These are full of bright pictures and advertisements that I cut out and let LB paste onto paper. He makes creative designs and enjoys learning new words when we go over the images together.
We aren’t each expected to save the whales, but these little changes do add up. If each household made a teeny tiny change, I truly believe we can start to turn things around. God has called us to be good stewards of the Earth, and this is something we should take seriously. I won’t preach at you, but I did feel like I owed it to Ed to make my point. 🙂
Happy Earth Day!
I almost forgot! I’m always looking for new creative ideas for recycling or being energy efficient. What creatively awesome things are you doing in your own home to make a tiny impact on the Earth? Please share!