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? They are great for gift ideas, but how great are they for the environment?

I always go on a shopping spree: I need clothes to stay warm; in an effort to be green, I shop at consignment stores. This money goes right back into the local economy and helps my friends who are consigners. It reduces the number of new things produced and shipped. I go to stores 10-20 minutes away so I use less gas.

I also dress myself and my son for the cold. I am less likely to turn on the heat when dressed warmly! I usually put us in layers: long underwear (I use pajamas for my son), then pants, a shirt (turtlenecks are great!), a sweater or sweatshirt, hat, gloves or mittens, warm socks, and a scarf on the cooler days. When we are dressed warm, our bodies do less work and can ward off germs more easily.

The little ways we expand our awareness and take note of what we are using make such a difference. I like our wood stove, and although it does produce a lot of smoke, we are very involved as a family in the process of heating our house. My husband collects the wood, splits it, stacks it, we carry it into the house, make a fire and burn it. All this energy we expend becomes part of the heating process; a lot different then turning a dial.

The bottom line is that staying warm is the winter can either be a major obstacle to healing our environment or we can work with what we have, shop local, dress warm, stack wood, build a fire, and stay warm! Participating in the process is so important; being conscious about how each and every one of our choices effects the legacy that we leave to the next generations.

How do you stay warm, stay healthy and reduce your carbon footprint during these cold, dark, winter months?

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Shannon Baer lives in semi-rural Rhode Island with her husband, son and a flock of chickens. Through her writing she shares her love for nature, children, and living in harmony with the universe.

One Response to Staying Warm in the Winter
  1. Jen
    November 8, 2009 | 12:59 am

    Layers are my best friend in the winter months. I always put on socks and a sweater. We also have lots of blankets on hand incase it gets chilly. If it gets really cold we have a fireplace in our family room that we turn on.