A Look at How Far We’ve Come

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Today I decided to take a look at how far my family has come in our journey to “go green.” Are we there yet? Certainly not. However, while we are on the path, I firmly believe that our destination is ever changing and will always have new ways for us to be more eco-friendly.

Last year, my family resolved to be better about recycling. I can honestly say we’ve made it leaps and bounds in this department. While I thought we were doing a good job before, I think we’re doing a great job now. Every week our recycling bin is full. We even added a milk crate to keep newspapers and junk mail in. I think junk mail is one of those places where we made the most progress. It used to end up in the garbage, but now it goes in the milk crate with circulars and newspapers. We are so good about recycling that now if we miss it one week, I have to bring out a second garbage pail and dedicated just to more recycling. We used to take three or four weeks to fill up one recycling bin. In addition, the number of garbage bags leaving my house each garbage day has gone down significantly.

Where we have failed miserably is in our use of reusable grocery bags. I started out 2012 with such good intentions, and now I’m not even sure where those reusable grocery bags are. We will try again, though. I’m going to find those bags, clean them and set out to use them in 2013.

In terms of our health, we’ve certainly had a great year. With the exception of one stomach virus and one cold, we had an extremely healthy 2012. I was extremely diligent about giving everyone their homeopathic medicines each time a cold seemed to be brewing. As long as I stayed on top of it, we didn’t get any colds. We did finally have one cold make its way through out family, but that’s because I ran out of those “magic pills.”

With me returning to work full-time this year, we had to make adjustments. Our schedules all changed. Instead of eating dinner by 5:30, we now eat by 6:30. I have to plan my meals ahead a little more, and that generally makes for healthier meals. Planning out my meals for a week means I’m making sure that I always have the healthy foods in that I want my kids to eat. I feared a full-time job would be worse for our diet, but it’s actually better. With the extra income, it’s a little easier to afford the organic foods. In addition, we’ve cut down on the amount of snacks in our house, since we aren’t home as much. Most of the snacks we keep around are fresh fruits. If they’re among the “Dirty Dozen,” I make sure they are organic.

Moving forward, there are some eco-friendly changes that I’m looking to incorporate. The first one we’ve begun to explore is incorporating solar energy into our home. It would be wonderful to be more self-sufficient, and to be generating some electricity ourselves from the sun. I also want to continue to find ways to conserve energy, reminding my family to turn lights off and appliances off when they leave a room. We’ll continue to try to find pre-loved items whenever possible, and pass along items we no longer need to others as opposed to letting them end up in the landfills. Just like the “Golden Rule” for dealing with others, my family will be more conscientious about applying the “Golden Rule” to how we treat the earth.

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