Monthly Archives: October 2009

Unwanted Holiday Junk Mail? Opt Out!

Believe it or not, Christmas is coming.

At least, that’s what retail companies will have you think. And we all know what that means: ‘tis the season for the onslaught of catalogues and junk mail.

If you’re like me, you already receive notices of upcoming sales and new product information for the companies you patronize via email. I don’t mind these (the same way I don’t mind my favorite local pizza place texting me their weekly specials). It’s green, takes only a few seconds to scan and delete if desired, and doesn’t clog up my mailbox. What irks me is when I receive said emails just to get the mail and find a 50 page, 10 pound catalogue from the same company, announcing the same sale.

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Staying Warm in the Winter

One of the best ways to reduce our carbon footprint is to use less fossil fuels- pretty simple right? The complicated part is expanding our awareness so that we understand the ways that we are consuming.

In the winter I notice my energy use raising.  A few examples: I turn the lights on earlier in the day, I sneak the heat on, I tend to watch more TV, and I eat more cooked foods and less fresh out of the garden.  Some of the less obvious might be: I buy more stuff. Ever notice all the catalogues that show up in late October, early November?

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Returning Food Packaging for Reuse

I love to shop at my local farmer’s market. I am very lucky to have a great local market with both summer and winter seasons, and a wide variety of vendors. I have been visiting it regularly for the past 6 years and in that time I have become a die-hard fan.

There are a lot of things to love about the farmer’s market. When I shop there I feel as if I know where my food is coming from. I can meet the people who produced it, ask them questions, and even get cooking tips. They are my neighbors, and they take their work seriously.

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Be Green for Halloween

Halloween Lollipop by CountryMunchkins on Etsy

When I was little my parents didn’t buy Halloween costumes, we created them; it was so fun.  Believe it or not, it wasn’t until I became a mother that I realized the overwhelming choices in commercialized costumes and decorations.

Driving through semi-rural, semi-suburban southern Rhode Island, I have noticed the abundance of gorgeously colored fallen leaves contrasted with plastic Halloween decorations. I have been in the checkout line at the discount store where many are purchasing stringy, plastic, scarecrows that will undoubtedly end up in a landfill in three weeks, if not torn apart and carried away by the wind.

I like a homemade Halloween; in second grade I was a tree.

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Green Family Friday – October 16, 2009

We’re a fairly gender-neutral family. If the laundry needs folding, someone folds it; if the lawn needs mowed, someone mows it; if dinner needs to be cooked, someone cooks it; if a fence needs to be repaired or a paddock cleaned, someone just does it — regardless of their genetic make-up. That being said there are a few jobs that just so happen to fall on the shoulders of one or the other of us time and time again. One of those jobs is the transport of things into and out of our back shed. My husband almost always does it.

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Kick it to The Curb

Recycling. It’s eco-living 101, right? For most of us, it’s second-nature by now, and if your area offers commingled curb-side recycling, it’s even easier than ever, isn’t it?

But lately, I’ve found myself hesitating every time I’m about to drop something into the recycling bin, because my area’s recycling center’s list of unacceptable products keeps getting longer and longer. I can still recycle aluminum cans, but not glass. Corrugated cardboard is ok, but not pizza boxes. And the real toughie? Milk jugs are a yes, but margarine containers are a big, fat no.

I’m new here, so you don’t know this about me, but in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit to you all my huge dependence on margarine.

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Suburbs Have a Leg-Up on Greening

Last week Mireya Navarro reported for the New York Times on the greening of suburban municipalities. In Green and Greener in Suburban Towns Navarro highlighted the Long Island town of Babylon.

“FOR two years, Valerie Williams had been considering making the five-bedroom home she grew up in more energy efficient — hoping to shrink her $350 monthly utility bill — but more pressing expenses always came first.

Then the town of Babylon came up with an offer she couldn’t refuse: if she and her husband, Carlos, paid $250 for an energy audit, the town would finance the recommended upgrades. The couple would repay the town at a monthly rate below the savings on their utility bill.”

Babylon is not alone.

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Green Family Friday — October 9, 2009

It’s hard to believe we’re swiftly heading into the middle of October already. Fallen leaves have been crunching underfoot for a few weeks now and the temperatures have taken an expected but all too sudden plunge. If that weren’t enough, it has also been raining for weeks; I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun. At this rate I fear the crops will be in the fields until January. Lest you think that only affects farmers like us, rest assured it does in fact trickle down.

With only three weeks left until Halloween and the month of November with all of its holiday madness hot on Halloween’s heels however, we’ll be doing more than fretting about the weather this weekend.

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Join Us for the Eat Local Challenge

It is no secret that I love food. Local, slow, whole, delicious food. It should be no surprise then that I simply could not resist the opportunity to spread the word that the fifth annual Eat Local Challenge is underway.

I don’t recall a fundamental shift in perception ever having taken place. Rather, it was a slow and steady evolution that led us to curb our long-distance consumption at the dinner table. It wasn’t a conscious decision made, but it did turn out most convenient and achievable that way. I imagine much in the same ways that it would be most achievable for other families to go about it in the same way; slowly integrating local when and where it’s most possible.

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Green Family Friday – October 2, 2009

We may have started the fall conversation almost two weeks ago, but there is something about the first of October that makes the season more official. And that’s even aside from the hard layer of frost I had to scrape from my windshield first thing yesterday morning.

As temperatures drop and day light wanes keeping green families busy gets tougher, but not impossible. As a matter of fact, it seems most of us are thinking along the same lines these days — gardening and preparation are the name of the game.

5 Minutes for Going Green reader, Shannon, shares two wonderful blog posts with us this week.

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