So last week I listed 13 of my green habits, and as I promised, this week's Thursday Thirteen is a list of 13 ungreen habits! Honestly, it wasn't easy to come up with this list as when I see where I can make changes, I start moving towards making those changes. Some changes, however, are much harder than others. Especially #1...
Lee Vee's 13 Un-Green Habits
#1 I LOVE long, hot showers. This is a horrible waste of our precious water resources, but I haven't been able to *want* to change this habit yet. Plus Jake LOVES to play in the shower (it helps that 2 of us are showering instead of 1!), and a 5 minute shower just wouldn't seem like a decent length of playtime for him. I find long hot showers so relaxing, indeed one of the few or only times during the day when I feel truly relaxed. Someday I'll be like Jennifer Aniston, who takes 3 minute showers AND brushes her teeth in the shower. Sheesh :)
#2 I really like facial tissues (aka Kleenex). I have reduced or eliminated my paper waste in so many other ways, but haven't gotten around to using hankys for blowing noses. I tend to buy a case of tissues from the store (10% discount!) and stock them up so we always have plenty around.
#3 I use my car more than I should. Portland has a GREAT public transportation system, and the bus stop is only a block from my house, but I use my car even when going to the bakery less than a mile away. I think if I was childless I would use it less, but seriously, using public transportation with a wiggly toddler, a diaper bag, purse, etc. is not my idea of fun.
#4 I don't compost. Not that I haven't tried, I really have! We have used 2 different types of composters, the most recent one being a barrel type that is easy to rotate, but Mike and I simply suck at remembering to mix the appropriate amounts of kitchen scraps with dried yard debris plus this weird looking green liquid. The scraps have a hard time making it from the kitchen to the composter, and the composter sits there, forgotten. I've given up and am really hoping that Portland can soon implement a city-wide composting system where kitchen and yard debris scraps are picked up curbside. Seattle has such a system and it is awesome. I think Portland has wanted to start this, but has been having trouble finding a plot of land in which to set this up, plus there is the issue of having like 60 different different garbage/recycling haulers in the city. But it will happen...Rome wasn't built in a day, either.
#5 My cats eat meat. Not just any meat, RAW meat that we buy at the store. I know, so weird for someone who doesn't eat meat herself, but this is a tough issue as it is really an environment versus healthiest diet issue. Humans can easily have healthy, life-long living vegan diets but cats? Cats are true carnivores. And it shows -- Theo and Kami are very healthy and have super-soft, silky fur to show for it.
#6 I own many shoes. Okay this may not seem like an environmental issue at first glance, but really, how many pairs of shoes does a human realistically need, fashion concerns aside? Each pair of shoes represents materials that came from somewhere. The fact that I have more pairs of shoes than I have fingers and toes is slightly embarrasing. I have more pairs of shoes than Mike and Jake combined. Okay, so I'm not as bad as Imelda Marcos!
#7 I have an automatic lawn sprinkler system. Which means I use water to keep my lawn green during the summertime. In the past, I would let the lawn turn brown and dormant, but with that would come lots of weeds and bees. Not my 2 favorite things, especially with a toddler. The good news is that since the system is automatic, the water is only on for a short time compared to when I used to turn it on and then literally forget it was on for hours... eek.
#8 Batteries are a tough one -- I need to use reuseable/rechargeable batteries more. I just did a cleaning spree of the battery drawer, so that should help. However, the batteries that Mike and I use for our cochlear implant simply are not recharageable, so we are stuck there unless we want to live in silence for the rest of our lives (which we don't).
#9 I need to improve regarding turning off electronics in the house. It's so easy to just leave the computer on. However, all the electronics that we have, even though they consume a small amount of energy, do add up. I'm good about turning off lights when not in use, now I need to do that for electronics.
#10 The themostat in my house could be set lower, but then I'd have to start wearing thicker sweaters, which are really difficult to wear while breastfeeding.
#11 I own a great clothes drying rack, but don't use it as much as I should, favoring my dryer. Living in a rainy climate doesn't help much, either. I'll try harder this summer.
#12 I buy lots of vegetables and I ... ahem... don't always use all of them in time before they become soggy, rotten messes at the bottom of my fridge. That needs to change.
#13 Plastics... this is a hard one. We use plastics for so many things in this life, and they stay on this earth for a long, long time. Some plastics are great, and I'm grateful for them. Others... we can learn to live without or use less of them. Sure, they can be recycled, but that isn't much easier on the environment than using less of them in the first place. My goal for 2008 is to really work on reducing the number of plastics I buy and to reuse what I have. That means taking bottles with me to the grocery store to fill up with bulk items such as olive oil, maple syrup, and shampoo. Mike is switching to a shampoo bar (looks like a bar of soap) so no bottles are required. I try to reuse the plastic produce bags at the store, but I can improve on that one. A work in progress here!