work in progress {Happy Earth Day!}

Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival This post is part of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!


[As this posts, I'm off at our local state park walking a 5-mile walk for MS. A pretty good way to celebrate Earth Day, I think!! I couldn't resist joining the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival though. Here's a little bit about where I stand on my green journey.]

Everyone has thing that they are passionate about, that they want to work hard on to make a difference (big or small). My things are LGBTQ rights, and the environment. In my life, I strive to be environmentally conscious. To think about how my actions are going to affect not just myself or my family, but also the effect they will have on the earth, now and for generations to come. But here's my not-so-secret secret: I have a LONG way to go. I can say with certainty that I am a HUGE work-in-progress.

But the other side to that coin? Sometimes its the small steps, the little changes, that add up to big benefits and lead you to a better lifestyle in the end. I've learned that I can't compare myself too harshly against others... but have to use them as inspirations instead, and know that if I keep taking the little steps, I might end up inspiring someone else too.

So on Earth Day, I'm going to give myself a progress report.

Here's some of what we do well:
we always turn off lights/electronics when we leave the room, we have a programmable thermostat (which lets the house be a few degrees cooler during the day when we're at work and at night when we're asleep under warm covers), plus we keep it relatively cool in the winter months (68* is our high when we're home). We turn off the water when we brush our teeth and "let the yellow, mellow." We compost and recycle, try to get things used when we can, and when we have stuff to get rid of, we try to find someone who needs it or donate it to the Purple Heart instead of throwing it away. I have a reusable cup I take to Starbucks with me, and a bowl and spoon at work to wash when I use instead of going with plastic. There's a brita in the fridge too, instead of using bottled. I take public transportation to go to work. Slowly, but surely "greening" our cleaning products and our personal hygiene products.

Some of our recent baby steps include:
- switching from paper napkins to cloth. And now that we've made the switch, I don't know why we didn't years ago! [Note: talking about small steps = big impact: "If every household in the United States replaced just one package of 250-count virgin-fiber napkins with 100 percent recycled ones, 1 million trees would be spared from the chopping block." -- The National Resources Defense Council ; so if I can inspire someone to take this baby step, and they can inspire someone, and they can... well that's adding up to a lot of trees!]
- started doing monthly service projects with Sierra Club to take care of a local state park.
- hooked up a rain barrel to collect rain water which we can use for anything that doesn't need drinking quality water
- practicing more of the first R - Reduce! I'm doing a spending slowdown this month, and I'm hoping to continue it through next month too. Its not a complete freeze - I'm allowing myself to spend on gas, groceries, and the occasional gift (baby shower this month, two birthdays and mother's day next month). But no clothes. No new books. No eating out lunches (am doing one dinner out with the girls, but that's been planned for months). If I really really want something... well, then I'll still want it in another month or two, and I can get it then. 

As for where we need work... well this is not going to be an exhaustive list at all! But here a few bigger ones off the top of my head:
- less processed foods! more local organics! less sugars! We are doing better then we used too, but we still end up with too much "junky" food.
- throwing away too much each week. A lot of that is diapers, which at this point, we just have to wait out. We are close enough to the end that switching to cloth at this point wouldn't be economical... but I really want to start looking at what else we're throwing away. I'd love to get our trash output down to a bag a week.
- Not so perfect yet, but something we're working on, is switching from paper towels to cloths... sometimes (like dusting) its easy to remember, sometimes (a spill that needs quick cleanup) I'm still automatically reaching for the paper towel roll. Well, everything takes practice.

So, I'm ready to be inspired. What green baby steps have you taken lately?
And I'm ready to be challenged. What baby step would you like to see me take?


Happy Earth Day all!!
Thank you for stopping by the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival! Please relax and take time to read these other great eco-living posts:

    Earth Day Blog Carnival - Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction
  • You are a Child of the Earth - Using the Earth as their classroom, Patti from Canadian Unschool teaches her 4 children their spiritual connection to the Earth and she accepts that loving the Earth can get really, really messy.
  • Cutting Out Paper - Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went from curiosity and concern to actually cutting out the use of paper towels in her household. She is proud to be "greener" as each Earth Day passes.
  • The World is Brown - Debra Ann Elliot of Words are Timeless believes in keeping the Earth green, but because so many people inhabit the Earth it is turning brown because people aren't doing their part by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
  • 7 Child And Eco Friendly Activities To Honor The Earth (Plus Some Environmental Books For Kids) - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her favorite books that help children become more aware of the importance of respecting and caring for Mother Earth. In addition, she hosts a guest post outlining seven child and eco friendly activities to honor the earth.
  • 5 Ways We Teach Our Children To Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle - Valarie at Momma In Progress shares a few tips for encouraging young children to care for the earth.
  • Little Changes - Big Results - Meegs at A New Day talks about how sometimes it’s the little decisions and changes that can lead us to find big results, and how she's baby-stepping her way to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.
  • Inspiring the Next Generation - aNonyMous at at Radical Ramblings hopes to inspire her daughter to live a green and sustainable lifestyle, in the same way she was inspired by her high-school science teacher, and talks about the changes her family are making towards this vision.
  • Eco-Friendly Cleansers: Safe For the Environment, Healthy For Every Body - Rebekah at Liberated Family writes about safe and natural alternatives to toxic, household cleaning products..
  • Lightening My Footprint with Cloth Nappies (Diapers) - Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares the biggest eco-choice she has made so far, and why she is so passionate about it.
  • Clutter Free for a Cause - At Living Peacefully with Children Mandy's penchant for decluttering and simple living cuts down on consumerism, taking less of a tole on the Earth.
  • Eco-Parenting: Homemade Bug Spray - Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares a homemade bug spray recipe that helps her family to enjoy the natural world while taking precautions against bug bites.
  • Let the Scales Fall From My Eyes...Just Not Too Quickly - Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about the discomfort of no longer being able to live in denial over how her choices affect the world around her.
  • Fostering Love of Earth - Justine at The Lone Home Ranger instills a love of nature in her daughters by embarking on their first backyard vegetable garden together.
  • Being in Nature - Carrie at Love Notes Mama knows that just being in nature is more than enough.
  • 5 Ways to Pass Down Environmental Values to Your Children - Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares how easy it can be to instill environmental values in your children.
  • Viva Portlandia - Amy at Anktangle writes about the place she lives and loves in: Portland. She describes the ways this green city makes it easy for her family to take care of our earth, and also the steps she's taking to further lessen her family's environmental impact.
  • Conspicuous Conservationism - Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction examines the phenomenon of eco-conscious behavior as a status symbol.
  • Time for Radical Sustainability - Terri at Child of the Nature Isle ponders how she can model a truly sustainable lifestyle for her children and raise them in a way their environmental consciousness is as natural as breathing!


  1. You've taken a lot of the same steps we have: rain barrel, composting, etc. We're expanding our garden this year too as we are hoping to reduce the amount we have to purchase from the grocery store. The little steps add up to a big impact over the course of weeks, months and years. Great post!

    And I'm so glad you decided to participate in this blog carnival - it led me to your blog, and I'll definitely be reading this blog in the future!

    1. Thanks Jenn!
      I've been reading MBJ for a while (its how I found out about this!), so it will be nice to see you here too. :-)

  2. Great post - and happy to have found your blog through the Earth Day carnival!

    Definitely feeling ya with the 'more to do' list - we have many similar things on ours (it always seems like food is the most difficult!). I will say that we kept using paper towels 'every so often' until we just stopped buying them altogether - the only way for me to switch fully to cloth was to remove that temptation. Definitely an incentive to keep the cloth towels clean! :)

    Thank you for sharing all your awesome steps - major inspiration!

    1. You know, I think that's what we're going to have to do. Say, "once we're done with these, we're not buying them anymore!"

  3. Wow, those are all some really big things you and your family are doing! When you said you had a LONG way to go I figured you were going to list just a few things. And, of course, there's nothing wrong with doing just a few things - every little bit helps. But dang, I think you are a lot farther along than you may think!

    We too do a lot of the things you mentioned. Cloth napkins, buying 2nd hand, attempts to save electricity, composting, recycling. Even "the family flush" (as they called it on Malcolm In the Middle.)
    Nice post. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Aw, thanks Rebekah! That's makes me feel good! :)

  4. Oh, I love this progress report idea! It sounds like you're being very reasonable with yourself and not succumbing to too much eco-guilt, which is a huge thing. =) I'm still working on the paper towel one, myself, but I agree about cloth napkins: I wish I had used those more diligently for years, now that I know how effective they are at napkin-duty, and totally easy to get clean, too.

  5. Your journey is admirable, some of what you do I do too, and you've inspired me to do a bit more. I also love the idea of a progress report :)

  6. Meegs, great post and I appreciate your honesty, as I too feel like I still have a long way to go in creating a greener, more sustainable household. I absolutely love your idea about collecting rainwater and will definitely look into that for our condo building...

  7. I love the idea of baby steps adding up to really help. I feel sometimes like we are not doing "enough" but really we're moving forward and getting better with our choices, so I should celebrate that! Stopping by from the carnival. Puttering around, I see your hubby is a Pittsburgh native? Me, too :-)

  8. Really, who is perfect? Some steps are better than no steps! I try hard to be as green as possible but I can only do the best I can with what I have available each time. Sometimes time, money, and resources are not on the side of living green at that moment. Good for you for making the strides you have! I can't wait for an update next year!

  9. I think the steps you have taken are fantastic. Love the info on how many trees are saved by choosing cloth napkins - I hope you encourage many more people to do the same. I especially liked that you are collecting rain water - such a wasted resource in most places. We have an abundance of water in Dominica but the water system isn't always so great. So from Friday to Sunday we were without water and drew on all the water we've saved in barrels, pails and bottles. And we can always go bathe in the river. I wondered if the same thing happened to others who are less prepared how much of a strain it would be and sent out a loving mental call for people to save their water!

    With the diapers - you could always try Seventh Generation or some other eco-brand that are not bleached and have less chemicals - I wish these were more easily available to us here as there are times we use disposables alongside our cloth.

    Happy Earth Day (Everyday) and thanks for joining in the carnival!

  10. Thank all for your great comments!


Leave me some love!
~ Meegs