Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green

Something that has captured my interest over the last several years (much more intensely since I've had my kids, I'll admit) is the whole "natural living" movement. Our MOPS presentation today was about "Creation Care," which is the concept of taking good care of what God has given us. I have noticed that many of the things that are important to me are connected, and that it is well worth the time and energy to seek out ways to conserve energy, reduce waste, eliminate toxins, save money, and focus on healthy habits.

Is this an easy thing to achieve? Well, I suppose that depends on what your goals are, what your current lifestyle is like, your level of interest, and if you are willing to rethink your budget a bit. For me, it has been a back-and-forth cycling between a more natural approach and a convenience-based approach. I think there is a happy medium, and the more research I do, the more I see that I can achieve my goals of natural living without sacrificing everything that makes life comfortable and easy.

I am working through the process of outlining how to achieve my goal of really living naturally, and the first step is figuring out what is most important to me and why. I know off the top of my head that my big areas of focus are:
  • Good Health
  • Stewardship/Saving Money
  • Organization (read: getting rid of the clutter!!!)
Natural living is an obvious choice for me when considering these issues. I know that to have good health I need to eat good foods and try to limit the amount of toxins I am exposed to. I can save a LOT of money if I cut down or eliminate the pre-packaged, pre-processed foods and the multiple types of paper products I use, make a few adjustments to help conserve energy, and stick to a budget. And I could certainly be more organized if I got rid of unnecessary items and make sure that the things I keep meet certain criteria.

So where do I start? This could really be an overwhelming transition process. Not to mention how expensive organic and natural products are - there's no way I could switch everything at once! I need to list out everything that will require transitioning, and prioritize from there. So I have come up with some specific goals for myself:
  • I would like to transition ALL household cleaners to be all natural, earth-friendly, and either chemical-free or nontoxic.
  • I would like to have an organic garden on our property to save money on buying produce and fresh herbs.
  • I would like to eliminate (or severely reduce) the use of paper towels, paper napkins, paper plates, and plastic storage bags.
  • I would like to reuse glass containers for food storage rather than using plastic, unless the plastic is BPA free.
  • I would like to do mostly scratch cooking: making my own flours, breads, yogurt, butter, etc.
  • I would like to transition all personal care and beauty products to be all natural and chemical-free.
  • I would like to get back to using cloth diapers (except for travel and outings) for the remainder of time until Blake is potty trained.
That is not the total list, but it's a pretty darn good start. And as you can see, many of these items will require some real work. But I am getting there, little by little. I bought a steam mop so that I could clean the kitchen and bathroom floors sans chemicals (plus it's quick and easy!), and I'm considering a handheld steam cleaner for other jobs. I've decided to start making my own laundry detergent once I run out (which will probably be like a year or more since my mom gave me like 10 bottles of liquid detergent since she has to now use the HE kind).

I definitely have a long way to go, and I know that certain aspects of this process will be a struggle for me (I really love paper products!). But I know that once I have good habits in place, it won't be a big deal to maintain them. Plus my kids might gain more of an appreciation for our world if they are investing in its care from early on.

I hope to keep up with posting about my process to "go green." I am looking forward to sharing my progress.

1 comment:

amy f. said...

Glad you posted this, Nancy. My wheels have been turning since yesterday's meeting, too...well, definitely before then as well, but the topic really put some things into perspective for me. I was thinking of posting some things we want to start doing on our blog, also. I'll try to get on that in the next few days :-) Your goals sound great!