Green Recap: July

no reason

Ah, my poor hair. I’ve put it through a lot of different shampoos, then vinegar and baking soda, then nothing. Finally, at long last, I found a natural product that worked, but then I went and messed with my conditioner, unplugged my hair straightening iron and restricted my time with the blow dryer. In the end, I just chopped it all off.

Miraculously, it hasn’t started sprouting anything or wound itself into dreadlocks, and as far as I know it doesn’t smell. Besides, at this point in the challenge, having pretty hair is the least of my concerns.

This month has seen a couple major changes, the biggest one — both literally and figuratively — being my humongous compost bin. It took multiple trips to Home Depot (thanks, Bruce!), a lot of drilling, stapling, screwing and hammering, hours of researching vermiculture and a whole bunch of soil, worms, damp newspaper and food scraps to get it going… but so far, so good. Well, truth be told, it’s a little fuzzy in places and the fruit flies have already invaded, but I think after a few months I’ll have it figured out.

My big moves food-wise were to limit myself to organic-only dairy and free-range eggs, as well as cutting out all canned and bottled beverages except alcohol — speaking of which, I’m now only drinking hard liquor if it’s organic or comes from an eco-minded distillery. Really, though, drinking warm gin is just not that pleasant.

This, coupled with my previous restrictions on meat (it has to be grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, hormone-free and preferably local and organic) as well as produce that comes from within Canada and the U.S. means that dining out is getting a bit complicated. Take-out and delivery are not an option unless I bring my own containers, and even if I sit down to eat at a restaurant there are fewer and fewer options.

Basically, I’m sticking to places like Fresh or Sweet Lulu, or if I’m on the go, I’ll get hand-held stuff like a falafel or a veggie dog. What’s really killing me is not being able to get take-out sushi (it always comes on styrofoam or in those plastic containers).

That said, farmers markets are still in full swing here so I’m not suffering entirely. And you’re right, Greenpa, I don’t really miss my fridge. I invested in a neat little butter bell, I keep my veggies in a bit of cool water from the tap and I can drink my way through a container of soy or almond milk in a few days. Everything else I simply purchase in the afternoon and eat it by the evening — although, I won’t lie, this has resulted in the consumption of entire blocks of cheese within a five-hour time span.

Other than food, I think the biggest change was making sure that all clothing I buy from now on is from a local and/or environmentally friendly, sweatshop-free company. This hasn’t been a big problem yet, but then I haven’t attempted any big shopping sprees. I think when Fall hits and all the stylish sweaters and cardigans start cropping up in store windows it’ll make me cry inside.

This month was also when I went on vacation, which has given me a great energy boost and insight into other cultures’ green — and not so green — habits. But it also meant that I had to break a few rules, like the no-bottled-water thing and the fair-trade-coffee-only thing. Travelling from one place to the next every few days has led me to realize that it’s much easier being green in an environment you know and can control.

Just over 200 days to go now. Is it too early to start counting down?

Cartoon by the ever-uproarious Natalie Dee

9 Responses to Green Recap: July

  1. E to the M says:

    What about learning to knit? There are a lot of green yarn companies out there and you could make your own cute fall sweaters. There are two prominent knitters in your area: Amy and Stephanie aka Yarn Harlot.

  2. christal says:

    yes, vanessa- it is. 🙂 at least wait till your half way mark or final 100 days to start the final countdown. great job as always & remember- there are concessions to be made occasionally. the fact that you are doing this and challenging yourself to find new lasting changes each day is admirable. and the rare slip up for health concerns or lack of resources will happen, your greater goal and greater green will offset those minor setbacks. it is easy being green in your controlled environ, but hopefully the changes we are all making will force that ripple in the pond action and create greener paths for us all!!

    keep on keeping on!!

  3. Aimee says:

    There is nothing wrong with consuming an entire block of cheese in one sitting. 🙂 You’re doing great!

  4. Greenpa says:

    So you haddta eat the whole block of cheese, eh? 🙂 As you probably already know, there’s the equivalent of the butter bell for cheese- the “cheese keeper”. Works just fine, and most cheeses will keep for many days; particularly if you cut a slice off the cut end once a day, so the fuzzies can’t get a foot hold. Another reason you may have been “forced ” to eat the whole block- refrigerated cheese is nearly tasteless, once you’re used to the full flavors of room temperature cheese- my fussiest foodie friends absolutely refuse to eat cheese until it’s had a chance to warm up to “normal” temperatures.

    Congrats on another month!

  5. Vanessa says:

    Thanks for the support guys! And Greenpa, I had no idea there was such thing as a cheese keeper… I definitely need to get hooked up with one of those. I agree, cheese at room temp, especially if it’s a soft cheese like Brie, is definitely tastier.

  6. You know most hard cheese need no refrigeration. I mean the French don’t so why should we 😛

  7. activistmommy says:

    You should definitely look into learning to knit, or making friends with a knitter. 😉 I’ve jsut started knitting in hopes of having a nice collection of hats, scarves, and sweaters this winter.

  8. emily says:

    Question for Greenpa and Vanessa: how long does your butter stay good for in the butter bell? I am hesitant to acquire one because I use butter sparingly (and no margerine anyways), so it sometimes sits in my fridge for months. The same question goes for jams kept in the cupboard.

    And, what’s the max temperature a fridge can be kept at to preserve milk, yoghurt, etc? Mine is always above the “recommended” 42F because I can’t drink milk that cold, but at what point should I stop cranking it up?

  9. Minh says:

    Just in case you hadn’t tried any of the organic green shampoos reviewed in this article on Oct 9 2007.

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