Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

I suppose I should've planned something nice for the kids to do on Earth Day, huh? Something eco-friendly, something meaningful, something un-school-y. I'm just so consumed with end-of-pregnancy details right now it's hard to do anything else. Sad, I know LOL We are planning to take them to the movies tomorrow night to see "Planet Earth" with some local homeschool friends so that should be nice :-)

Well... we do as much as we can EVERYDAY to take care of our beautiful planet. I am always taking opportunities to discuss being responsible stewards of mother earth with the children and they are always excited about the steps we take as a large family to be easy on her an her limited resources.

So let's see what I can think of...

I breastfeed! That means no bottles, feeding supplies, cleaning tools or artificial baby milk will be used and/or thrown away by me, and counting up my (breastfed) children that is A LOT :-)

I cloth diaper and use cloth wipes! Another thing I didn't always do, but I am really glad to have made the switch over. Of course it's not perfect, water, soap, etc. is used to wash but that's better than toxic filled diapers in a dump site that will be there for centuries. I did however buy Justus some eco-friendly disposables in Newmarket for the week baby is born. I don't want Ivan to have extra work, or me have to worry if the diapers were washed in time, at least for a few days. I'd be even happier if the child would go in the toilet but he's protesting something major with that and I've never been one to "potty train". They'll go when their ready.

I use cloth menstrual pads or the Diva cup. O.K. this one is so much more about luxury than anything else. You might not think so but when you feel the difference between using cloth and using paper you will understand why. It's also a good idea for moms considering cloth diapers. Try it out and feel the difference, then you'll see why cloth is so much nicer on your baby's bum, just like it is on yours! BTW, I hardly get to use my cloth/diva cup, being pregnant for over a decade and all, which may not be all that eco-friendly... overpopulation and all...

We buy organic as much as we can, and local when we can.

We use either store bought natural cleaning products or homemade. This is one is really important to me as I spent a HUGE portion of my life very sick from allergies to your regular cleaners. Pine Sol was my absolute favorite and the hardest to give up, but my solution to feeling like it isn't clean till it smells like pine is to add a couple of drops of pine essential oil to my all purpose cleaner :-) I once used Clorox Clean-Up to clean out my kitchen and lost my voice for 3 days just from inhaling the stuff. Toxins, people, stay away from them!!!

hmmm... I may be stretching it here but I bathe my little ones together. There are 8 of us (9 if you count MIL) taking baths/showers regularly. That's a LOT of water, especially if we were all to be taking separate baths.

We are gentle with little critters. Okay, this may sound silly to most. But if you saw the trouble we go through to carefully collect any mice (we do live in a house that backs on to a corn field!) and put them through our relocation program you would likely get a good chuckle. We take the entire family out in the van, drive out to the country (sometimes REALLY late at night!) and put down a bunch of food before setting them free. The mice seem to 'get' that we are helping them out cause they always sit right next to us and eat up some of their food before running away. :-) I can't tell you how much the kids enjoy this. Seraphina is a little terrified when they run near her and she once accidentally stepped right on one while she was screaming in fear. LOL

We don't use much in the way of disposable items like paper towels, paper plates and stuff like that. I use mason jars instead of plastic and don't bother with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. I did try to shift the family over to cloth wipes so we could do away with toilet paper but I think that was pushing it a little too far LOL It didn't catch on with anyone but me. *shrugs* Hey, I think it's really harsh to wipe your gentle spots with paper but whatever.

Things we really need to work on this year:

Remembering to bring cloth bags to the grocery store! Oh how I forget this time and again. I'll have plenty of motivation now that our grocery store is charging for plastic bags :-)

Shopping less. This is hard for me and I don't like it.

Being more conscientious when choosing where to shop and what to buy. We do pretty good but we could certainly improve. We buy most of our food at local farms and support our local health food stores. I often willingly pay extra at these stores rather than buying the same product at the less expensive mega store. Still I find myself there weekly, sometimes more, because we're such a huge family and feeding us is like an extra mortgage payment and a half easily!

Making more foods from scratch and buying in bulk to reduce package waste.

Drying our clothes outside in the warmer months. Another tough one for me as I am terrified of spiders that could be lurking on my freshly dried clothes. (Now you know where Sera gets it from!)

I'd love to think of more... but we must head out to the most UN-eco-friendly store in the world (Walmart) and exchange something. We boycotted Walmart last year you know, and the first time we go in to pick something up (stupid, stupid, STUPID!) it winds up turning out wrong.. that's what we get! LOL Earth Day lesson learned!


the_witty_knitter said...

He he; I was just reading another article or thread on family cloth and that is one thing most of my family, Rudy included, refuse to try! At least I am not alone there :S I also forget my cloth bags and I have tons! I just need to get better organized :)

livesimply said...

Did you know that there are some neighborhoods in Barrie that ban outdoor clothesline? Something about the "look". How rude, eh? I have one in our basement until the weather gets nice, I've heard they are great for cloth diapers...I'll let you know:)

Angel said...

We have one set up in the laundry room for now. Cloth diapers do come out wonderful when dried outdoors but not so much indoors! I find the hemp inserts that I have (the only part that actually needs drying) stays much too stiff if left to dry completely by being hung. I'm thinking the bamboo will dry nicely in the sun :-)

It's funny that we care more about the "look" than the benefit to the planet by line drying instead of using electricity, *sigh*, priorities I suppose.