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Stories and green tips related to nature, adventure, placemaking, and food systems, written by a beginning farmer/gardener and seasoned sustainability educator who loves to grow, cook, ferment, and eat local and ecologically happy food.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Saving resources in unusual circumstances

First off, a quick update: my hair is still not super oily. I can feel the oil when I touch the top of my head, but no one can tell. The make-it-yourself deodorant works, as long as you don't go on a bike ride at top speed and sweat it off (however, I may not have applied enough that day because I used a blush brush...still have not found a suitable applicator. I tried a powder puff and that put too much. Cotton balls come apart and they aren't reusable.) Veganism is still going strong...but you'll see in a few moments why I've been challenged by my options and why it hasn't been at the forefront of my mind every time I eat something (although it's not like I've eaten meat or cheese...just things that may contain small amounts of dairy).Since Saturday, my family and I have been in and out of the hospital with my sister. She had a kidney transplant on Monday and is doing great! We plan on being here for a few weeks, staying nearby at a Ronald McDonald House and taking turns staying here at the hospital. We've eaten all of our meals out, either at the cafeteria or from nearby restaurants, and we haven't been able to cook any of our own meals.

So we've generated a lot of waste from plastic/paper plates, knives, forks, spoons, cups, napkins, etc. And it's hard to care about what we're throwing away when we've got someone in the hospital. But I've been trying to save things for later use--utensils, dry plates, cups--and I've been carrying a cloth napkin, reusable water bottle and reusable travel mug with me when I remember to grab it. As we fall into somewhat of a routine, I hope to always carry with me utensils, a napkin, my mug, and water bottle, so my waste reduces down to just the plates the food comes on. And hopefully now that we have a kitchen at the Ronald McDonald House, we'll be able to cook and save meals so we aren't buying icky, non-organic food from the cafeteria (more than once I've been unsure of whether what I was eating was vegan due to unknown butter or additives). It's definitely been a challenge being vegan in this situation. Last night I accidentally downed some M&Ms without thinking because I needed to eat something and they were in a trail mix. Like I said, once a routine sort of comes into play I'll be more strict and aware of what I'm eating and using up.So, the point of my post is to say that even when situations can seem too stressful or difficult for environmental concern, remembering to bring a few things along or trying to find time to plan ways to reduce waste is possible. Even if it's just bringing a reusable water bottle (see above picture of the water bottle I have from Klean Kanteen--definitely recommend it!) along, at least you're reducing to some extent. It shouldn't be a first concern when you're in a situation like I'm in, but it should still be considered important to find ways to reduce consumption.

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On another note, this week's Change the World Wednesday, posted by Reduce Footprints, is about attempting a "No Spending Diet." Reduce Footprints explains:

"don't buy anything new (except for food, health and safety products). No new clothes ... no new shoes ... no new gizmos or gadgets ... forget about a new car, new furniture or new appliances ... nothing new for one week!"

I'm in! Read more about it and sign up to accept the challenge here.Green Gal

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What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen.

-- Henry David Thoreau

2 comments:

  1. First, let me say that I'm so happy that your sister is doing well! I'm sending positive energy your way so that she'll continue to do well and make a full and complete recovery.

    I think the combination of just going vegan, living green and then having extreme circumstances is a tough one. But it sounds like you're doing great because awareness is the first step. After awhile, it won't seem difficult ... it'll be a way of life ... and extreme circumstances (which hopefully you'll never have to go through again) won't throw you off course. My opinion is that we do the best we can and make the best choice of the options available.

    I like the idea of carrying one's own utensils to a take out place. Have you seen reusable straws? I've heard of them but haven't actually seen one.

    Take Care!

    Small Footprints

    ReplyDelete
  2. Small Footprints,

    Reusable straws sound like a great thing to carry around. I forgo straws every chance I get (sometimes waiters put them in drinks for you before they bring the drinks..grr I hate that), but there are times when you have to use a straw--frappes, smoothies, etc.--and a reusable straw would be perfect. If you were out, you'd just have to stop the barista/smoothie maker/etc. and tell them you don't need a straw... On another note, I found these awesome reusable utensils at http://www.herbivoreclothing.com/item/togo-ware-utensil-sets and I'm thinking about getting some. Or I could make my own pouch for utensils :)

    Thanks for reading,
    Melissa

    ReplyDelete

I love reading comments and am always up for a discussion! Thank you!

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