01 June 2009

Greener Ideas

The kids are displaying their own love of trees and all things green.

I'm not a radical environmentalist - whatever that is - but I have been trying to trade in some of my earth-harming habits for some greener choices for a few years now.

For me, it really comes down to what I believe about God more than what I believe about the earth. I mean, to make it simple, God made the earth. He made people and told those people to take care of the earth. So here I am. And if I am doing a less than stellar job of stewardship, than I am basically saying I am not concerned with the gift and responsibility God placed on my head.

There are a lot of things I would like to do better. And many things I have changed. But a small step is a good step. And I think the way to conquer the big things is to be faithful in the little things. (Doesn't God speak to that too?) I think if you can change one habit for a month and make that habit become a normal way of life, that's big progress. The next month, conquer a new habit. And on it goes. Like the proverbial snowball. Suddenly you are doing many things differently and it wasn't even really that difficult.

I thought this blog would be a fun place to share a habit or a new idea every now and then. The really cool part about being more conscious of our decisions is that the new choices usually end up saving us money too. And who doesn't like that? (Then maybe I can afford to buy those cool earth-friendly Patagonia shirts that are currently out of my price range.)

At our house we have given up paper towels and napkins. Not buying paper products means less manufacturing of those items, which would result in less trees being timbered to create the products. Additionally, we make less trash to fill landfills because we have no paper product waste.

In place of paper napkins, we use cloth napkins. Instead of paper towels, we use washrags. We keep the napkins in a low drawer where the kids can easily reach them to help pass them out at mealtimes. It's a great task for little helpers. After dinner, small assistants clearing the table simply gather the cloth napkins and place them in a little red tin pail I keep nearby for such a purpose. (They also actually enjoy loading the pail's contents into the washing machine every morning. Put those tiny hands to work!!)

This has been an easy change and once we purchased the initial cloth napkins, the cost has been nothing. And we aren't spending extra money at the store on paper supplies. And there a lot of really cool cloth napkins out there. You could easily make your own as well. I say "easily", but that depends on your skills with scissors and a sewing machine. Maybe not so easy for some (like me).

So save the last of your paper napkins for summer picnics and once you use up that last roll of paper towels, don't walk down that aisle at the grocery store again!

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