Green Recap: August

I can’t believe I finally get to say these six beautiful words: I’m halfway through my green challenge.

At this point, part of me is thrilled about counting down to when I’ll be able to take a ride on my sister’s motorcycle, drink a cold beer, get a hot shower and blow-dry my hair. But another part of me knows that, in fact, this is a lifelong challenge. Most of the changes I’ve made so far are ones I plan on keeping up, even if they do require some effort.

I won’t be buying a car anytime soon, for example, nor will I be switching back to chemical-based cleaners or beauty products, and there isn’t any reason to fish the water bottle out from my toilet tank. I hope to continue eating organic dairy, free-range eggs and as vegetarian a diet as possible — although I may turn my oven back on to bake a few sustainable pies.

In terms of what August has meant to me, I’d have to say it’s been all about learning. The cycling trip I took through the valleys of Oregon taught me volumes about permaculture, off-the-grid living and the indisputable importance of eating local and organic food — I even managed to get over my aversion to vegans and their weird victual obsessions like quinoa and nutritional yeast.

I also learned, when I was trying to break a $20 bill for some change the other day, that there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING, at the 7-11 that I can eat, use or consume in any way. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of flashy brand names that, in exchange for my hard-earned money, offered only MSG wrapped in styrofoam.

I learned that eggs can last unrefrigerated for up to three weeks, that there’s an organic ice cream store around the corner from me, that dryer lint can go in the compost bin, that Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market continue into the fall, and that you can do pretty much anything with some vinegar, baking soda and a jar of coconut oil.

So with that, let’s green on! I hope you all stick around and remind me that this isn’t just about an individual journey, it’s a collective effort — and it’s getting stronger every day.

15 Responses to Green Recap: August

  1. emily says:

    Dryer lint in the compost? Who’d a thunk? But my bigger question is, why are you using a dryer, or did you clean out the lint filter of your building’s dryer as a favor to others? I strongly encourage you not to do it… 🙂 A wooden laundry stand (or two, which is often necessary) is not expensive, and your clothes will last MUCH longer if you don’t dry them electrically. In the winter when the air is dry, most of my stuff can be folded up again by the end of the day. Even in the summer–and when I did my laundry last week, we had 95% humidity here in the Midwest–it dries faster than you’d guess.

    My own recent change was a resolution never to use a dryer for my sheets again (now that I’ve preached at you…). I usually did for convenience. But I decided that it was not gross to fold them partway and then hang them up; they still dried fast enough. Having a laundry line outside would still be better.

  2. Mary says:

    You are doing great!! And inspiring us all!!

    Give yourself credit for making it this far! In a world where “convenience” is everything, you’ve challenged us all to think about the impacts of our actions!

    When it was time for my son to start driving, on his own, all grown up like, I decided I really don’t want to have a car for myself all the time, and so I gave him mine and bought a scooter. It’s not quite getting rid of my car, and it’s not really going with my bike all the time, but I now cruise to the Y and the grocery store and the coffee shop getting 90+ miles per gallon, instead of 18!! Unfortunately, now the car I gave my son has developed too expensive to fix problems. Yet we will buy something that gets better milage.

    I’m not getting rid of the fridge yet, and I cans till buy a few things at the 7-11, but I think about it all a lot more!


  3. alottaerrata says:

    You’re not alone….you’re just really far ahead of the rest of us 🙂 Keep it up!

  4. Deb Coyle says:

    Thank you for your inspiration and for teaching us to look a little closer at our everyday actions and how they impact our environment. You have touched me and my family and we will continue the journey with you for the next six months and beyond!

  5. Greenpa says:

    Yay! go get’em. 🙂

    Those unrefrigerated eggs are a particularly powerful argument for people trying to understand all this.

    We ALL grew up thinking we’d die for sure if we ate an unrefrigerated egg. Somehow, that idea just became “truth”.

    Except- it totally ISN’T. How did we come to believe so many things- which are just not true?

    The eggs are an example everyone can grasp. And there you are- a LIVING testament to the fact that one can keep eggs, unrefrigerated, and not die. (The fact that human did this for millennia is somehow just not as powerful an argument as having done it, and survived, recently.)

    Excelsior! (ok, maybe a bad choice of words these days…” 🙂

  6. girlanddog says:

    You’re amazing, and you’ve inspired me to make little – yet effective – changes in my life. Keep it up!!

  7. Dryer lint can go into the compost bin? Who knew! I am going to put a compost collector down in my laundry room!

  8. PS: We did register for and get a drying rack for our wedding which rocks a whole load of laundry (when I got my dollar store clothes pins). But I am still putting a compost bin down there. You never know.

  9. Bryan says:

    I’ll stick around, and I’ll continue to laugh and learn.

  10. Carey says:

    After being at war with my noisy apartment fridge and an
    unwelcome heat source during the summer I unplugged it.
    I live near the grocery store, so in a sense I have a fridge
    across the street. The big secret for a fridge free existance
    is the pressure cooker (or macrowave oven). It can turn
    stone hard dried beans into mush in under half an hour.
    Just poor rice, brown rice of course, and beans with water
    into the belly of the beast and let it sputter and hiss away
    reliving the victorian industrial revolution of charlie dickens
    and then voila fast food.

    If per chance you find yourself with a bag of frozen veggies
    throw them into a dehydrator and turn them into stones to be
    rehydrated later in the macrowave.

    Bon appetite

  11. pat farquharson says:

    what is the coconut oil for? Massages? I’m lost!

  12. Emmanuel says:

    aversion to vegans?? hmph. well I’m glad you got over that you silly… I also must say that’s frickin’ amazing that Jake saw a chain mark on your leg and commented on it… I sure as hell would be turned on by that (the chainmark not jake). two thumbs up!!!

  13. Silvestro says:

    Hello ,

    Thank you very much for this beautiful information.

    Best regards,

  14. sikor9845 says:

    thanks.good article

  15. good… ı am remember history…

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