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Green Inconvenience

I do a lot of the “usual” green things. I recycle. I compost. I shop second-hand. I carry reusable grocery bags and a stainless steel water bottle. I walk my daughter to kindergarten and back every day. I turn down my thermostat and put on a sweater.

But there is an obstacle to my green efforts – much of the time, I don’t want to be inconvenienced by going green. I bring my reusable grocery bags when I go grocery shopping, but if I occasionally forget, I don’t sweat it. I drink tap water, but when I forget my water bottle at home, I sometimes buy water in a plastic bottle.

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7 Tips for a Greener Halloween

Halloween is almost here, and I am going to come right out and admit that I am way behind on my preparations. I’m sewing my kids’ costumes, and so far I have … wait for it … cut the fabric for one half of one kid’s outfit. I’m pretty sure I know what I’ll be doing on October 30.

Whether you’re organized (go you!), or you’re procrastinating like me, there are a few things that you can do to make your Halloween a little friendlier on the planet. And you don’t have to sacrifice any fun in the process. Because who wants to do that?

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Cloth Diapering

I am going to confess something. When my first child, Hannah, was a baby we used disposable diapers. We clad her little bottom cheap throwaway diapers that we bought in bulk, then we turned them into little sausages using our Diaper Genie. It was fast and easy – I’ll say that much. But I was not entirely happy with the choice. There was a lot of diaper garbage each week – diaper garbage that is still sitting in a landfill today, 5 1/2 years later. Diaper garbage that will likely still be sitting in that landfill 1000 years from now.

I did some research when I was pregnant with my second child, Jacob.

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A Tale of Two Farms

I’ve recently had the chance to visit two very different dairy farms in my area. And thinking about the two farms has made me consider my views on agriculture and dairy cows.

The first farm that I visited was Little Qualicum Cheeseworks. It’s a small farm that produces cheese on-site, using the milk from its own herd of cows. The cows spend most of their time outdoors, grazing in the pasture. Their diet is supplemented in the winter with hay and silage, during the time they can’t be outdoors. The farm has an SPCA certification that means its animals are well cared for.

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Oil Spills and Oil Dependence

As you no doubt know, unless you have been living under a rock for the past several months, an oil rig called the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20. The explosion destroyed the rig, causing oil to spill from the wellhead into the Gulf. At this point oil has been spilling out for more than 2 months, defying all efforts at containment. The current plan is to drill two relief wells and then permanently close the existing well. The relief wells are expected to be completed in August.

Meanwhile, the largest offshore oil spill in US history continues.

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Washing the Dishes

We all have that chore that we hate around the house, don’t we? The one that we leave until the last possible moment? The one that we would gladly never do again in this lifetime? I have such a chore, anyways. The household task that I loathe above all others is washing dishes.

When I was young and single and still in university I did not have a dishwasher. I often resorted to tactics such as washing a single bowl because I wanted some cereal and all of the other bowls were dirty. It was not pretty. So when I got married and moved in with my husband, one of the requirements that we had for our first apartment was that it must have a dishwasher.

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A Greener Vacation

Our family just returned from a vacation. We really enjoyed the chance to get away from home for a while. We traveled from our home in suburban Vancouver to Vancouver Island, which involved a 45-minute drive to the ferry terminal, just under 2 hours on the ferry, and then a 45-minute drive to our destination. While we were there, we stayed in a townhouse that had its own kitchen, and prepared most of our own meals.

We made most of our travel choices for economic and practical reasons. Staying closer to home, and avoiding restaurants, is cheaper and easier when you’re traveling with a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old.

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Plastic in the Dishwasher

In my last post for 5 Minutes for Going Green I explored the environmental impact of using the dishwasher vs. washing dishes by hand. You may recall that there was not a clear winner, but as someone who hates washing dishes, I declared that I would continue using the dishwasher myself. When the answer isn’t clear, I tend to make the decision based on personal convenience.

After that post went up, one of my friends got in touch and asked me about washing plastics in the dishwasher. She has been debating the topic with her husband. I didn’t know anything about the safety of plastic in the dishwasher myself, so I decided to look into it.

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Dish Washing Debate

Chores are no fun. Not for me, anyway. All the same, there are some chores that I don’t mind that much, and some that I really hate. The household task that I loathe above all others is washing dishes.

More dishesWhen I was young and single and still in university I did not have a dishwasher. I often resorted to tactics such as washing a single bowl because I wanted some cereal and all my bowls were dirty. It wasn’t pretty. So when I got married one of the requirements that I had for my first apartment with my new husband was that it must have a dishwasher.

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Revolutionizing Food

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is a huge sensation. The TV program is airing in the US right now, and Jamie’s philosophy of cooking real food from fresh ingredients is hitting home. I live in Canada, but even here people are talking about what’s happening each week on the show. They’re trying out new recipes and re-considering their approach to what they feed their children.

What is Jamie saying that is spurring people to action? On his website, he writes:

Knowing how to cook means you’ll be able to turn all sorts of fresh ingredients into meals when they’re in season, at their best, and cheapest!

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