Sunday, March 2, 2008

I've decided...I can do better

Larry and I already do a lot for environmental reasons (we think). The other day I decided I can do better. I decided from now on, any time I buy new clothes, linens, anything made of fabric - it's going to be eco-friendly... That means wool, organic cotton, hemp, hopefully fair trade as well. We'll see. I am seeking a pair of jeans right now, and I found a pair -organic cotton and fair trade - but the only size they list is 25... what? I think that's like a negative size 4 in european sizes, so I gotta figure that one out.

Anyhow, if I blow out a pair of biker shorts, I might be hard pressed to try and find a new pair made from hemp, so we'll see how this goes.

I'm way behind the curve here, even Levi's started offering organic cotton jeans in 2006. If they can do it, so can I. I am even more empowered by a sickening article I just read of someone stating whether they would buy eco-friendly clothes or stylish clothes. To each her own, I guess, but she flat out said that fashion comes first. So.... your butt has to look good before you'll do something to protect ANYONE else? NICE. Selfish. Stupid. Here's some data to support organic cotton.... Cotton production takes up something like 10% of the world's agricultural production land, but uses 25% of the world's pesticides. So if I were to buy regular jeans (to make my butt look good) I would be supporting the use of pesticides. That's pretty ironic since we won't even allow them on our own land. So, if I won't use pesticides on my land, I will encourage someone else to use them for the sake of my butt? NO. Not anymore. I'm only one consumer, but I should use my buying power to support practices that are important to me.

I know it's a burden to try and think about all that is going on on this planet. But any little thing you can do will help. Any little thing. Which is why organic clothes, recycled shoe soles, etc. are my next step. Here are some other things I am considering:

Dryer balls. That sounded funny. But they make these little nubby balls to go in your dryer in place of fabric softeners. They supposedly make your clothes softer and help them dry faster. Of course, in the summer, I won't use the dryer at all. As a matter of fact, it was 70 degrees here yesterday. Yes. 70 degrees on March 1. So I took advantage and did 3 loads of laundry and got them all out on the line to dry. Of course, last night it snowed, so if I do any laundry today, it'll go in the dryer.

Washing Machine ball - I found this at Gaiam.com (one of my favorite places to peruse online). These are special balls you put in the washer that allow you to use a fraction of the soap you usually use - thus keeping less chemicals from ending up in the environment. Of course, I use all natural, bio degradable cleaning supplies from Seventh Generation. I use their laundry soap, dish soap, kitchen cleaner, etc. So maybe this isn't a big deal... but it still keeps "Stuff" out of the water.

Composting. Nothing natural goes in the trash. We have a compost bin in the yard and all our food scraps go in it. We also try to buy all organic, natural and fresh produce. The less pre-packaged junk (pre-packaged often has chemical preservatives) we eat, we produce less waste, too! We are also learning to cook more from scratch - we make our own pancake and waffle batters, we make all of our own bread, we are even getting a grain mill to make our own flour! And of course, we "make" our own eggs, chicken and lamb, too.

Solar hot water heating. We are going to put solar panels on the roof to heat our water for all our hot water in the house. This should be easy. We are in Colorado, we get enough sun to do this year round. The trick is that we also want to replace our electric heating system with hydroponic heating. We would have baseboard or vertical wall heating tubes in the room, and they would run the heated water through the rooms to heat them. Our electric bill was out of control in January. So in February we turned the heat OFF. Believe me, I am dying over here. I bury myself in 2 or 3 blankets on the couch to not freeze... but our heating system is awful (radiant CEILING heat. Brilliant.) So hopefully next winter, we'll have a better solution. For today, Larry cut up the tree that blew down last fall and shoved it in the fire place. Well... we aren't burning coal in an electric plant somewhere to heat our house, we are burning wood. Not perfect, but we're trying to get there.