June 6, 2007
Another easy change to make now that the warm weather is finally here: no more baths (and no getting around this with hour-long showers, either), which means I conserve water and heat, plus reduce my consumption of bath salts, oils and Mr. Bubble.
I figure, if I get desperate for some hydrotherapy, I can always head over to Body Blitz, this women’s spa in Toronto where there’s a whole water circuit (sea salt pool, steam room, cold plunge, sauna, green tea hot tub). I’m usually not one for communal bathing — working as a lifeguard put me off public pools for good — but it makes green sense and it’s clean.
Still, something tells me that come January, I’m going to find myself fully clothed, sitting in fetal position in my tub, clutching my rubber ducky.
Image courtesy theimaginaryworld.com
May 19, 2007
Recently, I confessed to booking a somewhat elaborate summer vacation that requires a fair amount of air travel (which I’ve at least offset with TerraPass). On the plus side, I made sure to take one big chunk of time off work, so for the most part the flights will be short-haul; on the down side, due to scheduling conflicts, it also means taking a lot of connecting flights (and by “a lot” I mean … um… *cough* nine).
As I’ve already committed to eating meat sparingly — and, when I do, it has to be free-range, organic and/or grass-fed — this means I’d have to pick apart all my in-flight meals, being careful not to get genetically modified pork residue on the peas.
But the reality is, whether or not I eat the meat on my plate (or rather plastic tray), it doesn’t make a difference by that point; the demand for it is created as soon as I book my ticket.
Fortunately, this greenie plans ahead. I requested that all my in-flight meals be vegetarian or nothing at all. Most airlines these days are very accommodating — besides having veg options, they usually offer kosher, low-cholesterol, gluten-free and even bland/ulcer meals.
Unfortunately, I can’t request that they leave out the plastic cutlery set or make sure that both the coffee and any chocolate in the dessert is fair-trade. But if the cutlery comes separately, I’ll pass it back (then again, if I can’t get my portable chopsticks past security, this could be a problem).
May 10, 2007
You know that flaky white stuff that sometimes collects at the bottom of the kettle (I think the technical term is limescale)? Well, I’ve always boiled way more water than I actually need because the thought of dandruff floating around in my tea isn’t particularly enticing.
But then I realized that keeping it full of water wasn’t helping the problem; nor was it helping my electricity bills, seeing as twice the amount of energy is required to boil a whole kettle of water as opposed to just a cup’s worth. So I decided to keep it empty, and from now on will only boil the exact amount of water I plan on drinking.
When it came to cleaning out the bottom, I knew if I asked all of you dear readers for suggestions, you’d say what you say every time: Baking soda and vinegar, for crying out loud! (Insert face slap and/or vigorous shaking.) The thing is, I’ve kept both of these natural cleaning products at the very back of my cupboard until now because I feared that once I started using them for household chores, I would have officially crossed the line and become a card-carrying hippie.
Well, I guess I should start parting my hair in the middle and wearing Birkenstocks because just a splash of vinegar did the trick and I was so amazed, my eyes immediately began darting around the kitchen trying to find something else I could clean (I held back, though, lest I show up to work and my cubicle neighbours ask if I’ve been loitering around a chip truck all morning).
This change should be pretty easy. It’ll require a couple more seconds in my coffee and tea preparation each day and I doubt I’ll notice a huge drop in my electricity bills, but it’s another small step toward heightening my green awareness.
May 8, 2007
Whenever I’m hungover — which is totally rare; the last time was probably
yesterday a couple years ago — the only substance my stomach will accept is tea. Everyone has a different hangover routine, whether it’s a greasy breakfast, hair of the dog or just plenty of water. But the absolute only thing I can keep down is tea. It’s my ultimate, all-purpose elixir.
So when I realized that I might be hitting the bars this weekend but had finished all my boxes of Sleepytime, green pomegranate and good old-fashioned English Breakfast tea, I thought the most eco-friendly thing to do would be to abandon the plastic and paper packaging of the regular brands and invest in refillable packs of the loose-leaf variety, as well as buy a stainless steel infuser so I wouldn’t require disposable tea bags.
I also supported a new local business just around the corner from my building. Tealish, owned by a charming young couple with very white teeth who loved that I brought my own tote bag, has over 130 different types of premium and fair-trade loose-leaf, including green, black, white, Oolong, herbal and Rooibos, as well as shelves of gorgeous merch (it took all my frugal will power not to buy an $85 pot-and-cups set) and a menu offering iced tea, tea smoothies and Matcha tea lattes.
Of course, if I happen to be out at a café, I’m not going to demand that the wait staff serve me loose-leaf tea (although I will demand they serve it to me in a mug or thermos instead of a paper cup), but from now on, all the tea I brew at home will be unrefined, unconfined and ultimately give me peace of mind.