BioBag, you’re it (Day 148)…

July 26, 2007


Ever since I got that little nylon tote bag that fits in my purse, I haven’t needed a single plastic bag. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t using them — I had a bunch stored up from previous shopping trips, which I was keeping under my sink and gradually using up for various things, such as a liner for my bathroom garbage bin.

Well, I finally ran out of them (which goes to show how many I’d amassed). I wanted to get some sort of small waste bag of a similar size that wasn’t made from plastic, so I went for the BioBags. Made mostly out of corn starch, it can be recycled but also biodegrades in 10 to 45 days.

Hopefully, this will be the official end of any and all plastic bags in my life.

Thinking with my headphones (Day 147)…

July 25, 2007

I’ll be flying back from Madrid in a couple days and, shortly thereafter, heading out to Portland for my hippie bike trip. That’s a lot of time in the air, and there are two ways to make it go faster: music and the in-flight movie. Both of these requires headphones, which they always give out on the plane, but I’m going to bring my own set from now on. Air Canada says they recycle them, but they still come in all that plastic packaging with foam coverings, plus it’s always better to reduce than recycle.

Photo courtesy of this guy on Flickr

Getting my fix (Day 146)…

July 24, 2007

mr. fixit

I was playing with Sophie the other day when suddenly her toy broke — my first instinct was to throw it out, but then I realized all I’d really have to do is tie a couple pieces of string back together and it would work just fine. Not quite as good as new, but 99% of the way there.

As some readers have already suggested, fixing things — rather than tossing them out and buying new stuff — is most eco-friendly. While I’m far from being a Ms. Fixit, I’m surrounded by others who can change a faulty zipper (the dry cleaners), sew on a button (mom), attach a new lock to my bike (dad) and so on.

Today’s green move, then, is to try and fix whatever’s broken before throwing it away.

It’s like camping! Except more pathetic (Day 145)…

July 23, 2007

fork and pan

Sigh. A true sign that things over here at Thistle headquarters are getting a little desperate: I find myself eating dinner and thinking, yeah, plates are so overrated. Who needs plates? They just mean one more thing to clean, which means all the more water and soap being used.

So my green move today is to make like a university student/camping enthusiast and eat straight out of the frying pan (or the pot, depending on what I’m cooking). I suppose if I invested in a nice cast-iron skillet, it would make for a better culinary canvas. But still, something about eating out of the pot just screams “lazy,” “uncivilized” and “pathetic”.

Photo courtesy of Jasmic on Flickr.

This isn’t working out (Day 144)…

July 22, 2007

I have to confess something: Back on Day 15, when I was training for my 10K run and said I wouldn’t use the treadmill anymore and only go jogging outside — well, if it was especially cold and miserable, I’d often make it a cross-training day and use the elliptical or stationary bike instead.

So to make up for this, I’m going to hereby swear off any electrical forms of exercise whatsoever. If it’s cycling I want, I’ll hop on my bike. If it’s the StairMaster I’m craving, I’ll go find a set of steps to run up and down on. And in the Winter, when the lethargy sets in along with the extra calories from all the mashed potatoes and other comfort foods, I’ll dig out the skates from my parents’ basement or go rent a pair of skis and force myself to get an invigorating outdoor workout.

Jet-skis and joy rides (Day 143)…

July 21, 2007

emma bike

When I was in university, I seldom had access to a car. So one day, when my boyfriend at the time had rented one and still had another few hours to return it, we decided to make like the ’50s and go for a drive.

It wasn’t long, however, before we realized that unless the purpose is to go from Point A to Point B, just driving kind of sucks. After five minutes, the guilt over how much we were polluting the air just to look out the window at some trees and houses whizzing by took over and we turned back.

And rightly so. The whole idea of engaging in a recreational activity that causes damage to the earth is just ridiculous. My dad, who sails, has always loathed jet-skis and motor boats — while he mostly can’t stand the noise they make, I think the carbon cost is just as infuriating.

So from now on, the only time I’ll use a vehicle — plane, train, automobile or watercraft — is for the strict purpose of transportation. Even if my sister Emma, who just got a new BMW motorbike (that’s her above), tries to tempt me with a cruise around Rosedale, I’m going to have to decline. Until Day 366.

A dairy-tale ending (Day 142)…

July 20, 2007

love me moo

Now that I’ve pledged to only eat happy meat and free-range eggs, my final installment in the Ethical Eating Trilogy of this challenge will be to limit myself to organic and if possible rennet-free dairy products.

“Rennewhat?” you say. “Don’t tell me there’s another ingredient I’m supposed to be worrying about!”

Unfortunately, there is, unless you’re one of those people who eat veal and can still sleep at night with tortured baby calves on your conscience (in which case, you know what, just leave. Seriously — just go, because this really isn’t going to work out).

While I know approximately nothing about cheese-making other than the fact that it involves words like whey, bacteria and curd, a Wikipedia entry provides this run-down on what exactly rennet is, which in turn explains why a lot of organic cheeses come with the tagline “rennet-free”.

Milk products in general have been getting a bad rap lately, and folks like Meghan will be happy to go on about how we’re not really meant to digest milk in the first place and it’s full of udder pus and our digestive tracts don’t like it and so on. But because I’m Caucasian and my lactase enzyme is in perfect working order, and because if I don’t consume any dairy my body starts telling me to with specific cravings for cheese, ice cream and yogurt, and finally because I believe in the practice of dairy farms, I’m going to continue eating these things (there’s a cute lactose tolerance campaign going on right now with a very funny video, and I’d endorse it wholeheartedly if it weren’t being run by Nesquik).

After browsing around the Dairy Farmers of Ontario website, pretending I was a farmer and looking up all their safety regulations — I had no idea there was such a thing as teat dip, or for that matter teat-dipping cups — I’m reassured that most local, small-scale dairy farms are bovine and human-friendly. But it’s not as though one single farm produces all the milk that ends up in a carton of Sealtest or Beatrice.

The safest, most ethical way to go here, I think, is to make sure all the dairy products I consume are organic, unless I can verify that it comes directly and solely from a good local farm.

Photo above from my personal collection — “Love me tender, love me moo” by Bill Weedmark. The cows are from a farm in Napanee, ON (yes, the birthplace of Avril Lavigne).