Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Green new Year

2009 is less than 24 hours away! I was just reading an newsletter I get from the Daily Green. In their New Year edition they are calling for input on what their readers think will be the hip and cool green trends for 2009. Who and what are going to be the movers and the shakers in the green movement.
I thought about this for a while and here are my green predictions;

They talk about 2007 was the year of the CFL, and 2008 reusable bags were the bomb (and I believe that the stainless steel water bottle was right up there too). But I think 2009 is going to be the year of the Compost. I think the time has come that we are going to have to start becoming a little more familiar with our garbage. With recycling having the stumbling blocks of not being able to sell to International brokers, and the landfills still filling up regardless of our children learning the three Rs in Kindergarten, we are going to have to start focusing on that 30% of municipal garbage that will actually disappear for real. Organic waste.
Our food waste is the only part of our garbage that will actually become something useful with very little effort, and almost no cost, just nature. But it is the only part of our garbage that we rarely do anything with. We will wash out every container, squish milk cartons and peel labels but we won't scrap our plates into a bucket under the sink and then empty it in a pile in the backyard to become dirt, the same dirt that we buy every year for $8.95 for a tiny baggy for out planters. Hum!

The Daily Green was also asking who we thought might be the new eco-celebrity. Decaprio and Pitt were the eco-kings in 2007 and 2008. I think 2009 it should be Horton.
You know, from Horton Hears A Who. Come on, he saved an entire global universe.
Horton shows us that a little sensitivity, and stepping outside your comfort zone, can make a huge impact on the survival of the world. That puts him tops in my book.

My predictions for cool green Mantra...we have had The Three Rs, I think the new hip catch phrase should be Do More With Less. It sounds kind of vague and interesting, and It's actually much easier that all that recycling anyway.

No matter what the green trends are in 2009, as the clock strikes midnight tonight and you raise your glass of organic locally brewed sparkling wine and cheer you good friends and family to a happy New Year my hope for you is that you do not get kissed by that creepy friend of your neighbors who's moustache is always wet.

Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Review of a Keener Greener's Christmas

I do consider myself a Keener Greener. I really want to create green changes in my life, and have done quite a bit over the years to live in a greener way that lessons my footprint on this fine fragile Earth. I try to teach my children, and model good environmental habits. But there are times that it is hard to adopt change, even when you know it is the right thing to do. This is way Christmas has been for me over the last few years.
I had great aspirations of celebrating this Christmas as green as possible. This was going to be it! Every year I think about how I want to change my Christmas habits and celebrate with less waste, less consumption, less stress in the pre-holiday days, less food, less financial debt and more time with the people I love, more time actually relaxing and visiting...I never really address the amount of alcohol that may be involved ( baby steps right?).
So, now Christmas is over...let's assess.

This year I did actually wrap my presents in newspaper, and I got my children to wrap theirs in newspaper too.
Looking at the pile of presents under the tree and thinking about all of the virgin forest we saved by using fully recyclable newspaper made me feel great. Wiping black finger prints from every surface in the house that the children touched during their wrapping process didn't really make my heart sing, thankfully our newspaper prints with vegetable inks. The other issue I didn't really consider is the amount of tape needed when using smaller pieces of newspaper. Our home may indeed be responsible for a tape shortage in the early months of 2009, sorry.
What did my in-laws think of their eco-wrapped presents? They all thought it was great, but I don't know why they all kept asking if things were okay with work?

Less consumption! I did pretty well. I bought less gifts, but more meaningful ones. It was so sweet...the kids were moved to tears over this green shift!

Less stress in the preparation for Christmas. I did pretty good in this department too. I baked less sweets and bought less junk food, no egg nog, and stayed completely away from the numerous boxes of chocolate we usually have all over the house. Again, the family was really supportive with this idea, and spent a lot of time explaining the concept to the neighbors, friends and family, anyone who would listen really.

Less financial stress. Did great with this concept, didn't put anything on the old credit card. Nope, not a thing. The Credit Card company had actually even acknowledged in November that the trip to Mexico for February would be the last thing put on the card.

One of the things that was most touching this Christmas was that my children made their gifts for me this year. They had asked what I wanted for Christmas, and I said that whatever it was I wanted them to have made it. Trying to model to them that Christmas is not about spending money, and buying things but rather about taking time to show the people in life that you love how important they are to you. The kids embraced this green choice wholeheartedly and set off to create!
That Christmas morning, while other Mothers may have been opening boxes of perfume or pretty little sets of necklaces with matching earrings...I was thumbing through a book of "Memorises" created by my daughter, and trying on the slippers my son made for me out of two 3/4" plywood circles with pillow stuffing stapled to it with a strap of material across the top.

This Christmas morning I knew I had taken one step closer to achieving some of my goals as a Keener Greener!!
Unfortunately I then had to sit down and remove the splinter it got from my slipper.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Save $$ and Go Green in 2009

We are just weeks away from 2009 and many are concerned about what the new year will bring. Instead of breaking a habit as your New Year's Resolution......develop new ones! The three new habits listed below will save you money AND minimize your environmental footprint. 

Start Carpooling! Now is the time to start talking to your colleagues at work about starting a carpool group. Now, don't give me excuses! A carpool group is a great way to save money and wear and tear on your vehicle. According to David Suzuki's "Green Guide", " carpooling, you can cut your operating costs from 50% to 75% and reduce your transportation footprint by the same amount". 

Bring your lunch from home! By preparing your own lunch you can ensure that what you are eating is healthy, you can choose organic and you can minimize packaging. Bonus? You will save money! The typical lunch out costs an average of $7.00 - $15.00 per day (depending on where you live and what you eat). If you currently go out for lunch every day, you can save anywhere from $1800.00 - $3900.00 per year by bringing your lunch from home. 

Coffee, coffee, coffee...... Can't make it through your day without your Tim Horton's or Starbucks coffee? Both establishments sell ground coffee which you can make at home at a fraction of the cost. Make a pot in the morning and put the rest in a thermos and bring it to work with you. tastes so much better out of a nice mug instead of a paper cup! At an average cost of $1.50 per day for an extra large Tim Horton's coffee, you can save approximately $822.00 a year! If you drink Starbucks coffee you can multiply that number by at least 3!

So, how do you develop these new habits? The same way that you "break" a habit. No....there is no patch, no pill. Try the following:

Write it down: Get your calendar out and write down your intentions, put it someplace where you are going to look at it at least daily.

30 days: Don't do it all at once, you will overwhelm and possibly sabotage yourself. Take each new habit and implement it for 30 days. At the end of 30 days, introduce a new one.

Calculate the difference: Each of these new habits will save you money. On that same calendar, at the end of the month, calculate how much you saved and carry that $ amount over to the next page so that you keep a running balance of the tally. By having a visual reminder of your success will inspire you to continue developing your habits.

Do it EVERY DAY: You need to be consistent. If you stray.....get back on track as soon as possible.

Reward Yourself: You need to reward yourself for all your hard work. Maybe with all the money you saved you can take a trip or possibly upgrade an old appliance with an energy star appliance. 

Good luck! 


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Redefining "Having It all"

Is there a way to "have it all" this holiday season and still minimize our environmental footprint? The answer is no, probably not, because to most of us, "having it all" has come to mean something very extreme, almost unattainable. It is the perfect gift, the perfect meal, being the perfect host, being the perfect parent. 

The perfect gift is not defined by price, the perfect meal is one that is shared with those you love regardless of what you are eating, the perfect host is one that spends time with guests and the perfect parent is one that is honest with their children and doesn't create unrealistic expectations for them. One of the positives of our economic downtown is that it has actually helped the green movement. Because we cannot afford as much, we are purchasing wisely, we are reusing more, we are finding ways to stretch our dollar, we are rediscovering old traditions. We are redefining "having it all".

How do we do it? Sit down with your family and set some parameters. Speak openly with children about what your goals are for the holiday season. You need to set the example for them, you need to lead the way. 

The greenest gift of all is time. Spending time with your children, spending time with family and nurturing friendships. 

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tips to Give By

We had such a fun time yesterday at the Public Library where we offered the "12 Days of Green Christmas". The crowd was small and intimate which made it possible to share alot of creative ideas. The only glitch.....the fact that I could not get the proxima to connect with my laptop! I am so technologically challenged sometimes!

Now Jennifer and I are off to the recording studio to record our Christmas song.......look for it soon