Here’s a complete tally of all the green changes I made:
- Switching to recycled, unbleached paper towels
- Giving up my electric heating pad
- Banning all styrofoam
- Switching to a recyclable toothbrush
- Turning down my thermostat
- No more bottled water
- Switching to organic conditioner
- Switching from disposable tape-based lint rollers to felt ones
- Eating ‘locally’ (within Canada and the U.S.)
- Making all my bills electronic
- Checking tire pressure on my car
- Not buying a microwave (yes, disputable, see post for comments)
- Switching to natural, biodegradable handwash with recyclable container
- Switching to non-toxic, phosphate-free dishwasher detergent
- Running outside only (no treadmill)
- Using tote bags, no more plastic bags
- Switching to recycled toilet paper
- Cancelling my cable
- Switching to corn-based, biodegradable cat litter
- Giving up disposable tissues, using handkerchiefs
- Using only natural, organic body lotions
- Permanently getting rid of any aerosol cans at home
- Changing over to natural glass and surface cleaner
- Signing up with my local Freecycle Network
- Making sure all the lights are turned off before I leave home
- Switching to natural body wash
- Using chemical-free, reusable cloth static-cling sheets in the dryer
- Unplugging anything that isn’t in use
- No more disposable plastic cutlery or plates
- Not driving my car on weekends
- Putting away my humidifier for good
- Using a thermos for coffee and tea
- No more gift wrap
- Changing all my light bulbs to CFLs
- Switching to Eco-Dent floss
- Only drinking fair-trade, organic, locally roasted coffee
- Using only beeswax candles; or soy-based, as long as there’s no paraffin
- Returning my wine bottles to the Beer Store so they’re recycled properly
- Switching to natural toothpaste
- Changing over to a natural laundry detergent
- Eating only free-range, organic, hormone-free (and if possible local) meat, restricting my intake of beef and chicken to no more than once per week
- Not buying any more petroleum-based bath poufs and loufas
- Signing up at GreenDimes.com to block junk mail and plant a tree every month
- Being conscientious about how much water I use; only turning on the taps at a “trickle” when washing hands or brushing teeth and keeping showers to five minutes
- Using the air-dry function on my dishwasher
- Consuming only locally brewed beer, organic when possible
- No more using paper towels or hand-dryers in public bathrooms
- Investing in permanent laser hair removal rather than shaving or waxing forever
- Only local and fair-trade chocolate
- Turning off my freezer
- Picking up litter when I see it
- Properly disposing of my used batteries at a local hazardous waste depot
- Switching to eco-friendly dish detergent
- Changing to natural, paraben-free lip balm
- Only consuming locally grown, produced and cellared wine (from within Ontario)
- Purchasing “green” baking soda, incorporating it into household cleaning in place of harsher chemicals like bleach
- Switching to natural shaving cream
- Switching to recycled (and recyclable) razors
- Only using one glass per day for water/milk/juice, one mug for coffee/tea and one wine glass
- Spending part of each day educating myself about environmental issues
- Using stainless steel rather than non-stick frying pan (takes less time to heat up)
- Not buying any more Q-tips
- Switching to natural deodorant
- Recycling my used wine corks through the Bag-a-Cork program
- Giving up gum (especially the over-packaged kind)
- Not buying any more makeup remover pads
- Turning my oven off for good
- Using a natural bronzer
- Only buying loose-leaf tea in refillable packets
- Switching to natural, organic shampoo
- Only filling my kettle with the exact amount of water needed
- Shutting down my computer every day at work instead of just logging off
- Not using the air-conditioning in my car
- Following the “If it’s yellow, let it mellow…” rule
- Using matches instead of lighters
- Carbon-offsetting all of my air travel
- Using only the herbs and spices I can grow at home
- Unplugging my whole fridge
- Weekly lobbying, letter-writing and petitioning on behalf of various environmental campaigns
- Requesting that my in-flight meals be vegetarian
- Not buying books from Amazon or Chapters/Indigo; only local, independent bookstores and only when necessary
- Purchasing all my music in mp3 format rather than CDs
- Getting allergy shots instead of buying packs of antihistamine pills, eye drops and nasal sprays
- Making sure there’s always at least one ‘green’ element in the gifts I give
- Switching to an all-natural acne ointment
- No more ordering food by delivery
- No more take-out, unless I bring my own containers
- Always asking for no receipt, unless I really need one
- Refilling all possible bottles (toilettries and household cleaning products); bringing my own plastic food containers to the bulk bins at the grocery store
- Switching to eco-friendly dry cleaners
- Using a PVC-free shower curtain liner
- Turning off my air-conditioning during the summer
- Recycling anything and everything that can be recycled — no excuses
- Switching to natural, minimally packaged eyeshadow
- Switching to a natural bar soap and investing in a recyclable travelling case for it
- Sleeping naked
- Using a natural, mineral-based suntan lotion
- Not having any more baths
- Letting my hair air dry
- Getting rid of face wash and makeup remover, using my bar soap instead
- Ordering smaller, more eco-friendly business cards
- Not using nail polish (or nail polish remover)
- Only watering my plants with greywater
- Only going to eco-friendly spas
- Picking weeds (in mom’s garden) by hand rather than with pesticide
- Using gauze instead of band-aids for minor cuts
- Switching to natural cat food
- Limiting my use of elevators
- Using cloths instead of paper towels for household cleaning
- Switching to natural hair dyes
- Raising environmental awareness through stickers, blogs and other media
- Using GoodSearch instead of Google
- No plastic barf bags or packages of Gravol when hungover
- Natural healing of sunburns (no more after-sun lotions)
- Only renting cars from companies that offer hybrids
- Cancelling my subscription to a secondary newspaper
- Selling the car!
- Handwashing all my dishes
- Buying tokens for public transit rather than tickets
- Only buying cereal in bulk
- Using plastic-free, eco-friendly photo albums
- Limiting my ironing time/heat
- Not using my hair-straightening iron anymore
- Keeping the light in the bathroom off each morning while showering and brushing my teeth
- Using the same fork or spoon I’ve stirred with to eat
- Not using any more straws
- Cutting my hair and keeping it short (so I need less product)
- Buying an all-natural kitchen/bathroom cleaner
- Using biodegradable pens
- Developing my photos in bigger batches/fewer deliveries
- No more Swiffer products
- No more tabloids or trashy magazines
- Only staying at eco-friendly hotels
- Only buying sustainable and/or local clothing
- Not drinking anymore canned beverages
- Not drinking anymore bottled beverages
- Purchasing only fair-trade and if possible local flowers
- Giving regularly to a green cause
- Only drinking organic hard liquor
- Only eating free-range eggs from accountable farms
- Restricting myself to organic dairy
- No more recreational driving/boating/etc
- No more gyms, all exercise must be outdoors
- Eating food straight from the pot or pan
- Fixing something if it’s broken rather than getting a new one
- Bringing my own headphones for the plane
- Using corn-based BioBags for the garbage bins
- Volunteering regularly with a green organization
- Investing in eco-friendly cat litter tray liners
- Switching to a natural toilet bowl cleaner
- No more smoking whatsoever
- Buying organic cotton or bamboo bedsheets
- Enforcing the shoes-off-at-the-door policy
- Using hand-held fans instead of electric ones
- Not buying any leather
- Making sure my house sitter agrees to the green rules
- Only buying eco-friendly jewellery
- Washing all my clothes in cold water
- Feeding my cat natural treats
- Showering in lukewarm, rather than hot, water
- No more gift cards unless they’re homemade from scrap paper
- Printing on both sides of the page
- Not using anymore Wite-Out
- Buying all my spices in bulk
- Putting a bottle of water in the toilet tank to reduce the amount used per flush
- Only buying eco-friendly shoes
- Using a hand-held bicycle pump rather than CO2 cylinders
- Using biodegradable soy-based peanuts or popcorn when sending packages in the mail
- Not wearing a gown at the doctor’s office
- Buying and donating clothes to Goodwill and other thrift stores
- Not using staples
- Using wind-up or solar-powered flashlights
- Getting indoor plants
- Only using natural perfume
- Only getting hand massages rather than using massage chairs or gadgets
- Using services like Brown Paper Ticket for shows and concerts
- Declining press kits at film screenings to save paper
- Eating only organic tubers (squash, eggplant, etc.)
- Greening my dating through GreenSingles.com or Green Drinks
- Not using anymore paper napkins
- Preserving jams and canning fruits
- Only buying used sports equipment
- Using all-natural, locally produced face cream
- Using revolving doors wherever possible
- Grooming my cat more often to prevent hairballs (and thus use less paper towel and water to clean them up)
- Buying alcohol in bulk (ie. kegs, 2L bottles of wine, etc)
- Using coconut oil instead of K-Y jelly
- Wearing items of clothing twice or more, as long as they’re not dirty or smelly
- Taking smaller notes and using both sides of the page during interviews
- Not using toilet paper for peeing
- Natural bug extermination, ie. drowning fruit flies in wine or syrup
- Switching to a natural mouthwash
- No more using the Internet after dinner (unless it’s to update this blog)
- Not buying anymore DVDs
- Decreasing the margins on my Word documents
- Not going back on the birth control pill
- Signing up with a CSA for weekly delivery of local, organic produce
- Only purchasing ceramics from potters who recycle their clay
- Reusing envelopes
- Using towels a minimum of five times before washing them
- Eating only ethically raised and caught fish
- Cutting the end off the toothpaste tube when it’s almost done to scrape the last little bit out
- Hanging the Do Not Disturb sign on hotel room doors so housekeeping doesn’t need to vacuum, change linens, replace toilettries, etc.
- Using incense or candles instead of artificial room fresheners
- Using chalkboards instead of whiteboards or flip charts
- Watering my outdoor plants at night instead of during the day
- Shaving in the sink instead of in the shower
- Cooking at a gentle boil instead of a rolling boil
- Using only sustainably made cutting boards
- Using water or homemade saline solution instead of synthetic eye drops
- Using Lunapads rather than disposable pads
- Getting my ice cream in a cone instead of a disposable cup
- Sticking to designated paths while hiking
- Working from home at least two days a week
- Towelling off in the shower before stepping onto the bathmat
- Smiling at one person I don’t know every day
- Using parchment paper or cheesecloth instead of cling wrap
- Only buying wooden hangers, preferably used
- Swimming in natural bodies of water, not public pools
- Pulling the shower curtain open when finished so it dries properly and requires less cleaning
- Turning down the temperature on my water heater
- Using cash instead of credit or debit to minimize receipts
- Getting cooking smells off my fingers with used green tea leaves rather than soap
- Voting for the Green Party
- Making sure I don’t pour grease down the drain
- Borrowing and sharing
- Soaking my dishes overnight so less water is needed to clean the tough stuff off
- Navy showers
- Letting my clothes air-dry on a rack, not in the dryer
- Not taking anymore supplements, vitamins, detox shakes, etc.
- Using scouring pads made from recycled plastic
- Only buying organic cotton underwear
- Making sure to use every last bit of shampoo/ketchup/etc in the bottle, using the “hit and swish” technique with some water
- Consuming every part of the pumpkin I carve for Halloween
- Going by the 10-second rule whenever I drop food on the floor
- Sharing my living space with a roommate whenever possible
- Using the Diva Cup instead of tampons
- Bringing my own reusable bib to the dentist’s
- Setting my desktop wallpaper to black, which uses less energy
- Eating my apple cores (and pear cores, etc) to waste less food
- Only buying and playing eco-friendly games
- Chopping food up extra small before putting it in the food processor
- Not using anymore hand sanitizer
- Making a Halloween costume/decorations from clothes I already have
- Not using Post-It notes; scrap paper instead
- Emptying lint traps, cleaning filters on a regular basis
- No more Dustbuster
- Natural aloe-coated condoms instead of Trojan or Durex
- Not using any toothpicks
- Not buying anymore cheap umbrellas; using a sturdy big one and sharing it whenever possible
- Getting others to do green stuff that I can’t
- Drinking green tea instead of prescription drugs when having a nervous breakdown
- Enforced quiet time (no radio, stereo or other music)
- Using old socks and T-shirts for dish rags
- Switching to a natural carpet cleaner
- Not using the fan in my bathroom
- Properly disposing of electrical waste like old computers and cell phones
- Backing up my work with a USB stick rather than CDs
- Not bothering with any rubber charity wristbands or ribbon campaigns
- Reusing old floppy discs as coasters
- Driving the speed limit when I rent a Zipcar
- Drinking straight from the bottle
- Not using fruit and veggie wash or rinsing things for more than a second
- Knitting scarves instead of buying them
- Holding my hair up with a pen, chopstick or rubber band from my newspaper instead of buying more elastic bands or other hair accessories
- Polishing silverware with baking soda
- Cancelling magazine subscriptions, donating extras to the doctor’s office
- Buying used furniture and recovering it rather than getting new stuff
- Learning to sew and mend my own clothes
- Reusing a fake Christmas tree from last year, not buying ornaments
- Asking that others only buy me eco-friendly gifts
- Keeping my addresses on my computer rather than buying a paper notebook
- Using an all-natural shoe polish, like coconut oil
- Making my own soup broth instead of buying it
- Not using anymore tape
- Not shaving my legs anymore
- Not consuming anything that contains or is manufactured with genetically modified corn (ie. high-fructose corn syrup, corn starch, ethanol, corn-fed beef, etc)
- Not using soap to wash my dishes unless there’s oil residue
- Only buying my beans dry, in bulk
- Having a regular “inside day”, staying at home and not buying anything
- Adding an eco-friendly tip to my email signature
- Only drinking fair-trade tea
- Not buying any individually wrapped food
- No more downhill skiing (unless I carpool there, then haul my own ass up the hill)
- Only taking cabs fueled by natural gas
- Sticking to organic, raw honey
- Using couriers that use bikes, walking or public transit instead of cars and trucks
- Letting my dishes dry in the dishwasher rack with my houseplants beneath to collect the excess water dripping off
- Hand-whipping my whipped cream instead of using an electric blender
- Only buying organic, unbleached cotton towels
- Using up my change at the cash register
- Using a broom and dustpan instead of a vacuum
- Packing carry-on rather than check-in luggage
- No more paper towels
- Using scrap paper as bookmarks instead of buying new ones
- Using manual tools rather than electric or battery-powered ones
- Using natural lipstick
- Organizing my stuff so I don’t lose things (and therefore don’t need to repurchase them)
- Going to the bathroom before I go on the plane
- Only using a crank-up and/or solar-powered radio
- No more highlighters
- Making my own cosmetics and beauty products
- Using old books and shoe boxes as storage containers
- Only purchasing used kitchenware and appliances
- Restricting myself to cold water only for washing hands, face and dishes
- Using biodegradable chain lube for my bike
- Not buying anymore plastic whatsoever
- Choosing to use the subway transfers printed on recycled paper rather than the ones that come on laminated coloured paper
- Using a soap dish made from reclaimed chopsticks
- Collecting the elastic bands from my newspaper each morning and returning them to the delivery boy/girl
- Opting for a green-minded real estate company when buying/selling my house
- Only eating at restaurants that serve local and/or organic food, and offer eco-friendly take-out options
- Using Coccoina, an all-natural glue
- Getting used boxes for moving day
- Using organic cotton produce bags and bulk-bin sacks
- Framing my art with reclaimed barn board and recycled glass
- Buying 100% recycled CD sleeves instead of jewel cases
- Going to an eco-conscious bike repair shop
- Shopping at green malls
- Only using the small burners on my stove
- Sending out electronic invites rather than paper ones
- Making fenders for my bike from old water bottles
- Having a green moving party — using cargo bikes, trolleys. man power and other carbon-free alternatives to vans and trucks
- Eating all my skins (potato, carrot, cucumber, etc)
- Switching to an eco-conscious accountant for tax season
- Only buying handmade, bamboo or organic cotton blankets
- Commenting on other people’s decisions that aren’t very green, educating them about why it’s important to consider alternatives
- Learning shorthand, so I take smaller notes and thus save paper
- Squeegee my shower tiles each day to prevent mildew and mould
- Enrolling in a butchering class to confront my meat-eating ways
- Only consuming organic maple syrup
- Buying a used mattress and boxspring
- Screening my future tenants to ensure green practices throughout the household
- Signing up with Bullfrog Power, which puts wind and other green forms of power back onto the main energy grid
- Using a natural pumice stone to remove pilly fluff from sweaters instead of sending them to the drycleaners
- Planning out my routes, double-checking maps and directions to avoid getting lost on road trips (and thus preventing excess CO2 being emitted by the car)
- Shovelling snow and using sand instead of corrosive salt or antifreeze
- Installing a dual-flush toilet
- Buying low-VOC paints
- Setting up a rain barrel to collect water for plants, etc.
- Not wearing anymore makeup
- Using real, leftover wood for fires instead of artificial firelogs
- Not running lots of applications on my computer at once
- Restricting my diet to food within Ontario
- Using rechargeable batteries
- Closing my curtains at night to insulate the house
- Signing up for the local PeakSaver program to minimize pressure on the energy grid during peak hours
- Only buying recycled glass
- Taking the most direct flight instead of cheaper ones with stopovers
- Using natural, homemade furniture polish
- Purifying my indoor air without using a plug-in air purifier
- Tucking my pants into boots/socks to prevent them getting dirty
- Buying recycled wallpaper and homemade glue, or using stencils
- Using a service like Green Map when touring a city
- Going skinny dipping
- Helping push stuck cars out of the snow
- Covering holes in the wall with pictures instead of buying plaster
- Writing an eco-friendly funeral into my will
- Making my own stamps, or using lickable ones instead of stickers
- Writing poetry in haiku form only
- Recycling my old running shoes
- Deleting all spam and stale emails from my Gmail inbox
- Only buying fair-trade vanilla products
- Fixing other people’s green mistakes
- Sleeping more
[…] Green as a Thistle – a Canadian blogger attempts to make one green change every day […]
meh, I don’t even have a car and that doesn’t even begin to offset the 30,000 cubic metres/shift of Nat Gas I burn at work. Even staying off planes and wiping my buttant with birch-bark hasn’t budged my stats much. I’ve found a beer/garbonzo diet gives me gas and am trying to rig up a method of recovering it for home cooking more garbonzo lentil concoctions. I will invent perpetual self fueling. Perhaps I can run a still and get free booze too!
I too am glad I found this handy lits.
[…] GREEN LISTED […]
If you’re a woman, or know one for that matter a waste reducing choice would be a “diva cup” or similar product.
I totally agree with you and posted a link in the contact me section of this site.
2 thumbs up for the diva cup
I second that! Switched to the Diva Cup about 3 years ago and will never go back to tampons, and I only have to use about 2 Natracare pads per cycle. It’s great 🙂
I know how superficial this sounds but please bear with me. I had this in my hand to purchase this past weekend (before I came across this site) and I put it back because I couldn’t imagine washing it out in public (ahem…work). Anyone have any encouraging remarks or suggestions that will help me rise above my vain stupidity? I’ve already thought about going back to get it just for overnights.
The beauty of the diva cup is you can wear it for 12 hours. I usually change it during my nightly shower, then again first thing in the morning. I’ve not had to wash it out in public ever! 🙂
what natural bronzer do you use
Personally, I wondered how this all came about. I am in the air conditioning industry and maybe just dont get it. I enjoyed visiting though!! Have a great weekend!
take vegetarian…at least once a week.
Here’s an additional 2 thumbs up for the Diva Cup! I highly suggest it, and for more than green living reasons too.
There’s lots that you can do to reduce the impact that your clothing has on the environment. They are:
1. Buy clothing made from organic material.
2. Buy “gently used” clothing at thrift and vintage shops.
3. Remake clothing into something that you’ll wear or use.
4. Repair clothing.
5. Share or rent clothing that is not used too often (ie wedding dresses, formal wear, costumes).
6. Donate any usable clothing to Goodwill or Salvation army.
7. Recycle worn clothing into rags or find a place that will take them.
I love this list. I’m going to bookmark it and keep checking back for ideas.
Question: Where did you find plastic-free, eco-friendly photo albums?
http://www.Okorganix.com is a google maps mashup and directory that lets you locate organic food outlets in Ontario and get directions to the outlet.
This is great! I’ve randomly come across you from various other green sites, and I like your style!
I’m all for convincing people that ‘going green’ makes simple makes sense, but most of all is HEALTHY – for you, your home and our environment!
Keep up the good work! I’ll be checking back lots for inspiration!
PS, good luck selling your car (and go buy a sweet bike with the $ you make!)
Vanessa, did I miss a beat? Did you give up your fridge? You are so brave.
I’ve been struggling to reduce my refrigeration and would like to know more about how you managed this. Do you cook? What do you eat at home? I cook almost all of my food and pick up vegetables weekly from my CSA and haven’t been able to reduce as much as I’d like… though I have managed to give up the freezer part by putting the fridge on a timer and using the freezer section as a small fridge. (For more see http://martha1955.wordpress.com ). I’d really like to read about your solution.
Thanks and I enjoy your blog.
Congratulations Vanessa! I think what you’re doing is great and I’m going to keep checking back to see what other great ideas you’ve come up with. I too continue to find little things I can change each day to live a “greener” life, only haven’t been nearly as consistent as you have.
[…] makes for a great environmental “tip list”. You can check out the complete list right HERE. There are some really great ideas there to help you make small changes that will help the […]
I know you just dedicated yourself to limiting your internet usage, but would it be possible for you to add links to relevant posts for each of these changes you have made?
As a first time visitor, I would love to read about some of your changes, but I’ll have to dig through your archives to find them…
yes please, it would be nice to read about your experiences with these changes!
Hey Vanessa, You are so inspiring! I love what you are doing, in fact, I just started my own green cleaning, on a much smaller scale, with my family. Thanks so much for the list, it will be very helpful for me. I will be posting about my experience on my blog please come check it out.
[…] I will guiltlessly plunder ideas from her list and am indebted to her for helping pave the way for me. […]
you need to link each one of these items to you post.. can’t wait to see the whole 365 list !!
[…] Green Listed Here’s a running tally of all the green changes I’ve made so far (tags: environment sustainable home recycling energy organic) […]
[…] in the appropriate recycling bin. Bravo, ClosetFriends. Something I can learn from you. (insert suggestion for Vanessa […]
I checked out greendimes.com. It sounds great..but only is available in the US. Have you found anything similar here?
Well done. It is inspirational to see your attention to green detail. Hopefully we can all be as eco-minded in the near future.
Changing by life style to an earthly;y friendly mind set has been a bit more expensive and reaching the products can be more “out of the way”. I am not perfect but I have certainly altered my negative habits.
I now don’t use paper towels AT ALL. Only rags (derived from old cloths), I use all natural laundry detergent (not just biodegradable variety), and I have already started making tote bags (recycled from old clothes) to present x-mas presents in this season. I have also started using a all natural cleaning service called GoingSolo here in Toronto. So I know there’s many more things I can do and I have become somewhat of a fanatic, but at lease I am over the whole “how will my changes make a different” stage.
Good luck and keep helping!
My mom grew up on a farm in northern Michigan. After she got married, they built a house on the farm and continued to work there. She would pick fruit from the farm and make her own wine and her own Kahlua. I was not around at the time, but appatently it was a HUGE hit. People still talk about it 30 years after she stopped making it! Maybe it’s worth a try for you to do something similar.
Listed Green , which is a Green MLS project for energy efficient, sustainable homes and developments, has just passed the “hundred listing” milestone.
Consider spreading the word to help change the way we all live.
Vanessa, you’re brilliant, innovative, pretty and persevering (not necessarily in that order). I applaud your efforts and ingenuity. Some of your items are food for therapy, to be sure. If you get in a jam, let me know, I can help. One good thing we got out of all this ravaging of our planet; the yucky aliens don’t want it any more. Keep up the green, ye bilaterally symmetrical upright bipeds!
[…] lifestyle challenge that I have just created for myself. The inspiration: a blog called “Green as a Thistle.” The starting date: November 16th, 2007. (Yes, this will include the gift-shopping […]
Dear sir or madam,
My name is Michelle Doyle. I am looking for donations of products or samples to go in care packages for the homeless and needy. Any samples you could give would be very much appreciated. Nothing that we receive will be sold. All items will go to the St.Louis Area. If you would like more information about us or where your generous donations will go please go to myspace.com/helpsaintlouishomeless
God Bless and Thank You,
27 Fawn Circle
St.clair, MO 63077
AMAZING BLOG. I really adore it. I just started an “eco club” at my school as an attempt to make my school “greener” and i think it will really work. I just don’t understand the “use goodsearch instead of google” idea. can someone please explain?
Thanks, Keep up the good work & RECYLCE:)
It tells you about it. Enter a charity and when you use it they donate to it.
Thank you for visiting and commenting on One Pebble. Your project has been really inspiring to me, and I’m glad I am imitating it. I have to admit I don’t have as much fortitude as you do for some of the tougher changes, but I’m doing little steps one by one and trying to make them “quirky” and different. If you visit my blog later you can see some of them… I plan to update the list regularly.
I’m all for “reducing your carbon footprint” and all, but isn’t some of this taking it a little too far? Yes we can all make changes in our lives to benefit the environment; recycling, composting, carpooling, walking, limiting water, heat, electricity. But I wonder, will you be able to sustain a life with all these excessive changes? How is it not costing you a fortune? I try to eat organic, buy natural products and they are all signifcantly more expensive…
i disagree with anything she’s done as ‘excessive’. she is actually saving MONEY by doing these things -she’s not buying a bunch of new crap all the time, she’s saving energy and therefore $ on utility bills, and buying recyclable items that are also better quality so there is less replacement. organic veggies are only expensive if you shop at whole foods. buy them in bulk at farmers market and you’ll not only get a discount, but you’re also able to can & preserve them. i have a garden so i don’t have a farmers market budget anymore as i buy seeds for a few cents and it turns into groceries. highly suggest finding a more positive way to respond to what she’s done rather than call her ‘excessive’ – ask for constructive feedback so you can learn rather than making assumptions and judgments. she is showing LOVE for the planet and that is the most beautiful thing, there’s never such thing as too much love.
For more info on household greywater check out http://www.greywaterguerrillas.com/- it’s got TONS of info!
what and incredible and inspiring list. I commend you for taking this on!
Not only does it inspire me to take on more healthy changes in my life, but it also helps me to reflect on what I’ve already accomplished.
To help you with #113- there are wristbands for motion sickness, or general nausea. They work on pressure points in your wrist. I have used them when I’ve travelled and when I was pregnant.
Check out greenforlife, they offer a variety of natural cleansers, but one product I bought from them were magnets for washing my laundry. I have to admit, it took me a year to actually believe that they work, but now that’s what I use to wash my clothes. You do have to treat the stains more, so you need a good natural stain remover (Ecover has a good one), but you save so much on laundry detergent, and pollute the water less!
I’d love to hear more about the Diva cup.. I’ve wondered about that too.
I look forward to checking back to see more inspiration in the coming weeks!
I love what you are doing and I am starting to make small changes of my own, anyway I don’t know if you need any more ideas but if you use an alarm clock in the morning you could consider using a wind up style, just a thought.
Keep up the good work.
The diva cup rocks, women everywhere, you will be thanking yourself for switching.
So what’s going to happen on day #366?
I’m just checking out the new amazon “kindle”. It looks awesome! You could make your next resolution to only purchase books via a kindle to cut down on paper. It looks really cool, but it’s currently priced at $400.
[…] on February 28th, 2007. Every single day after that would be different. Here are some of the little things Vanessa […]
take a sponge bath 4 times a week instead of a shower..install an outdoor sink with greywater going to your garden..grow lettuce indoors in the winter..buy eco disks for your laundry and make your own laundry detergent..grow as much food as you can in your garden..compost your doggie’s doo doo for your flowers..train your memory instead of writing everything down..use a landline not a cell phone..go camping instead of staying at a hotel, and then haul your own water to the campsite..use natural cedar in your backyard rather than treated wood..and my favorite, buy green stocks!
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JUST WANTED TO KNOW IF VANESSA ENDED UP SAVING MONEY OR SPENDING MORE BY THE CHANGES SHE MADE FOR THE YEAR?
TIFFANY ( SUNDAY MARCH 9 2008)
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Air dry your clothes an easier and more efficient way, use the Tibbe-Line. It is multi-functional in that it not only can be used to air dry clothes on an already existing clothesline but can also be made into a PORTABLE CLOTHESLINE that can be used at home or taken with you, use it just about any where (camping, traveling, vacationing, etc.) HANGERS ARE USED INSTEAD OF CLOTHESPINS AND YOU CAN HANG 21 ARTICLES OF CLOTHING IN THE SPACE OF 39″. See website at (WWW.TIBBELINE.COM). To make a portable clothesline simply (1) attach a length of rope, twine, cord or bungee from point A to point B. (2) then slip the Tibbe-Lines on the rope or bungee (3) hang clothes on hangers and (4) slip hanger on Tibbe-Line. You can use a clothes dryer but it is not necessary.
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The Tibbe-Lines can also be used as a space saver in a closet (home, camper, motorhome, college dorms) GOOD FOR SMALL SPACES. They can be especially useful for people in wheelchairs, giving them easier access to their clothes in the closet. To make a space saving extension: attach a 24″ or 36″ bungee on the closet rod, (bungee will hang vertically), slip on a Tibbe-Line, put clothes on the Tibbe-Line. The clothes will then hang down lower in the closet giving easier access to clothe.
I have cut my laundry time by more than half as well as cutting down on my electricity consumption and my electric bill has gone down as well. So every time I use the Tibbe-Lines I save time, space, money, energy, our environment as well as adding longevity to my clothes and using the Tibbe-Lines makes my life easier especially when it comes to doing laundry, which is time consuming.
Due to the state of our economy and the environment, people are looking for ways to save time and money as well as being able to help in some way to keep the environment from deterioriating any more than it already has.
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THIS IS AMAZING. We love to hear about people trying to make their life just a little bit greener! CONGRATULATIONS! Reading through some of your comments, sounds like you have influenced a lot of people-GOOD FOR YOU! The world needs more people like you around!
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Just found your blog! What a great list! My husband and I are both doing a lot of things on that list, but far from all.
I was curious, though… have you tried toothpowder — like Ipsab or Ecodent or something homemade? I’ve enjoyed both Ecodent and Ipsab (though my husband has stuck with Crest). I may try making my own someday to avoid the extra packaging, but the stuff seems to last forever, at least.
Chanced upon this whilst searching for materials for my daughter’s ‘flash card’ exercises…. for parents out there who are using flash cards to train their children, why don’t you consider using good-ole powerpoint? you can cut down on the paper-waste, considering that we need strong, thick cardboard paper to make all those flashcards. One more point about the diva cup, the UK has a similar product, called the Mooncup…. where I stay in Singapore, virtually no one has heard about such things… but proud to say, I’ve been a user since 2007!
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Switching to corn-based, biodegradable cat litter
Are you sure this is environmentally friendly? Supporting the corn industry drives out local farmers, encourages corn farmers to sell more corn, to feed corn to cows, etc etc etc. I really don’t think buying anything corn-based (besides fresh, local corn you eat) is good for the environment. The corn industry is out of control and is changing the habitat for food development in the states.
[…] can read the list here of her lifestyle changes. I was interested to read that many of the things trialed are common […]
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My family is slowly but surely moving towards a more green living. Your list is very comprehensive and I will keep referring to it for adding more ‘things to do’.
I am interested in knowing the brand that you use for all-natural acne ointment.
[…] Greenlist as of April 29, […]
[…] and heartaches along the way. There’s a blog posting for each of her tweaks and also a handy list of all 366 eco feats. […]
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[…] of the changes that she made each month are talked about in the book. Looking at Vanessa’s full list of eco-changes, I’m tempted to go through and note which ones I already do & ones I’m thinking […]
I was wondering, why did you give up vitamins? I read that in your book but it wasn’t explained…
Vanessa, I am so impressed with your ideas, your book, and your website. Greetings from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Thanks for sharing.
I just finished reading your book and I find myself consciously thinking about the impact that all my actions make on the world. I haven’t made a lot of changes yet, but I have made a few and there is more to come! Also, I know most people have a ton of plastic bags laying around their house and I have resolved to turn mine into tote bags thanks to a great idea from a customer of mine 🙂 If you google Plastic Bag Crochet Totes, there are lots of variations and instructions. Anyways, I wanted to give a green idea and tell you how fantastic I thought your book was and how brave I think you are for making those huge changes (or small changes that equal BIG change!!) and for putting yourself out there. I hope that one day I am as brave as that. Thanks for the inspiration!!
I think washing dishes by hand uses more water than a dishwasher does. Obviously there’s electricity involved in using a dishwasher. Which is more efficient washing by hand or using the heaven sent dishwasher???
Could it just be a wash??? Sorry, I had to.
Well I think dishwasher is better, because it’s made to use less water and also when you wash by hand you use hot water so you use electricity 🙂
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I just finished reading your book (read it in two days and was the ONLY book I’ve finished in months) and feel inspired to try to make one change a day. Right now I’m in brainstorm mode and have taken some things from your list while I try to come up with others on my own. I wasn’t planning to begin for a few weeks, but tried the shower-in-the-dark thing. I realized that since I can hardly see anything without my glasses/contacts, if I’m showering during daylight, there’s no reason for an extra light in the shower anyway…enough to make out large shapes is more than enough.
Just watched your interview. I’m one of those who bought your book at the airport, in MTL! I did the same with the 100 Mile diet (I’m noticing a pattern here). I haven’t finished it yet (have another plane ride next week, should take care of that), but I must say I love it so far and appreciate the added sarcasm and wit in it. I’m floored at some of the changes you’ve made and will look to go through the list for ideas for my own life. I must say you’ve stirred quite the mid-life crisis about cheese. I think I owe you a thank you, but not quite sure yet. In any case, kudos on this massive undertaking, and I do hope you can maintain this blog and the change you’ve generated.
James in Calgary
Hi! I’m Rory, I’m 11 and in 6th Grade.
I’m in Advanced (Gifted, enrichment, call it whatever you want) Language Arts and we were doing our monthly Book Reports. My teacher said we had to do a non-fiction book, and sorry, but let me be honest, I hate non-fiction. I barely ever read non-fiction. After raiding my bookshelf (And getting over the fact The Little House in the Big Woods series was fiction. It was my last hope!) I found out I had NO NON FICTION BOOKS IN MY POSSESION. So, I went to my local library and my Dad lately has been saying I can’t check out of the kids section anymore. (Really. I read Pride and Prejudice and suddenly I can’t read out of the Junior High section anymore. Sheesh.) So I went into the uncharted area: The adult section. It was really quiet. One look at the biography section (It covered 3 whole walls!!!) I went over to the librarian. “Um, Hi. Can you suggest any non fiction books for me? I read at about an 8th grade (I don’t really know my lexile???) level.” And she was off, looking up and reading off of her computer. Of course, after 5 minutes of looking around aimlessly, I got bored. I looked around the shelves behind me and realized it was non fiction. It did not look good. Why Our Nation Is Fat and Losing Weight in 40 Days. Not very good for me. And then I saw your book. It looked funny and I read the back and it looked cool. I checked it out. I love it so far. But I’m only on page 97. It’s reallyreallyreallyreally good. Wow, I typed a lot for a short story. I’m gonna submit this now. Um, bye.
PS I’m doing this book for the Book Report. Visual Aid: Compost Bin. I think I can borrow worms from a friend, but where did you get your worms? Can you get them at Petco, bait shop, online, Wall-Mart? (No, seriously, Wall-Mart sells everything.)
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I love this blog and can’t wait for my copy to come in so I can review it! I found your blog while researching No Impact man.
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Can you elaborate on “Towelling off in the shower before stepping onto the bathmat”…I’m not sure that I get it 🙂
I finished reading your book last night. I was searching around my local library to find books about eco-beauty and came across your novel. I decided to pick it up and give it a read and I loved the content. What a great idea! I love the Canadian content and hope to see more Canadians taking up the Green Challenge!
What a great list! I thought I was green, until I read some of your ideas which we haven’t considered yet. I’ll need to get your book to find out more details on going without a fridge. I’m happy to see that you are from Ontario and look forward to learning more from you. Take care.
I just loved your book! I’ve become obsessed with becoming as green as possible (with 3 children), and have been reading tons of boring but necessary materials. Your book looked fun, and I had a blast reading it. You have inspired me to try one thing new each week, although I already do about 60% of what’s on your list. I will go through your list and come up with even more that I can do. First up is composting and I will be sure to keep my bin outside all season:) Keep up the good work and the sense of humor!
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Welcome. Thistle had/has many great ideas. One of her best was to post all of her activity live. It’s truly unfortunate that she has gone off-air. We need more people like her. I am always looking for additional green ideas for my website, Sustainableearthideas.org, so please feel free to submit them to me and you may see them get added to “The Checklist”. Vanessa’s book is entertaining to read and well written, you may wish to go and get that, too.
[…] some help coming up with ideas? Visit Green As a Thistle for more […]
Some of these things are a bit extreme. No oven or microwave? No freezer? How do you function?!
I think I might take some of these!
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I’m in the midst of reading your book (inspiring and really hilarious, by the way). Your mention of lunapads got me wondering – have you tried using the Diva Cup? It’s amazing once you get the hang of it and so much better then reusable pads!
Over and out,
P.S. how do you feel about me having taken your book out from the library? It’s more environmentally sound but do authors see reap any financial benefits from this??
I hope you don’t mind, I made a similar page on my blog with some of the things I have done so far!
“Purifying my indoor air without using a plug-in air purifier”
aka: fart less.
Wow. This list shows everything wrong with the modern environmentalist movement.
Do you realise how irrelevant so many of these are? (91, 223) Do you realise some of these choices are more damaging to the environment than the conventional alternative? (34, 64, 345) How misleading some are? (76)
Do you realise how self-indulgent many of the rest make you sound, that they are even relevant to you? (27, 45, 113) How miserable some of the rest make you sound? For Christ’s sake anyone vaguely human smiles at strangers every day.
Most of the rest either make you seem utterly self-righteous and self-satisfied (111, 282, 365) or are so obvious I am not sure how anyone green would even think to mention them (168 – I didn’t even know you could do otherwise).
Nothing personal, it really isn’t. I see you want to try to live by your modern middle-class values, but I genuinely want you to look a this list with a new set of eyes. Your life could be more comfortable with less environmental impact.
If this list is anything to go by then my life has far less environmental impact than yours had before implementing it even on your terms, and I am a very well-informed sceptic of most common environmentalist positions. This list shows some of the reasons I am sceptical.
As for 253 – you have my utmost sympathy.
My wife has had serious problems in that direction. Green tea was helpful (especially decaff) as was magnesium (although too much leaches calcium, so take some of that too). Medication was not – it only hid the problem, gave terrible withdrawal symptoms and had side effects she is still getting over more than a year after quitting. But the thing that cured her, something I was sceptical of but was convinced when I looked further into it, was TFT, Thought Field Therapy. If you still suffer through stress, anxiety, fear or any similar emotional issues then do try to find a practitioner.
Hei! I’m actually German and therefore just type my text in Google translator on (so it could be the grammar not entirely true, but I hope not that would be pretty embarrassing Namely, and you would not understand what I really meant)
So I’m currently reading your book and I think it’s wonderful! (I’m only 15 years but even a small eco – Freak)
I must say at the beginning I’ve felt addressed quite as you wrote on the 2 varieties of “activist” and “pompous” and I see myself as an activist … I was very snapped, I must say, I did not want to read anymore. But barely an hour later I reached back to the book and was only the laughter! Especially as you’ve described the cynicism and reveal to your mind and think you were on the way one of these eco – become such thoughts and freaks just snuck in there with me at the above one, therefore, to read very funny!(I’m not shure, if this englisch was really correct)
I am very impressed by your blog, your book and how hard you committed to the environment! And I really had not thought of it that creates a city person to live without a fridge or an oven!
Before the text is too long, I will still want wish you luck on your eco-trip, and I think I’ll take one or the other tipp of your list!
I am very impressed with your 366 day initiative and your blog in general. Not only do you write well and engagingly, you’ve stepped away from the typical analyze-green-technologies environmental blog.
As I’ve just launched my own green-themed blog, your blog is deeply instructional on other levels.
A suggestion: could you possibly build your list as links to the entries where you talk about your ideas and conclusions? I’d like to read about how you find haiku-writing to be especially green.
[…] stick with it (she actually made 366 changes during this challenge and the list is available at: Green Listed. She also endeavored to stay humble about it. ;P At the end of her trial, she wrote a book about […]
[…] this may be a repeat of Vanessa’s Green List. For #125, she writes “keeping the light in the bathroom off each morning while showering and […]
Hi Vanessa! My name’s Irene, I’m reading your book “Dormire nudi è verde” (in italian), and at the page 255 has come me to desire to write on you blog a suggestion:
to the place that to use ecological insecticides I prefer to put in garden of the carnivorous plants that literally eats the bugs! With this I don’t want to say that all the bugs will disappear, and the snails won’t eat your salad anymore, but at least it is a method that will contribute, it’s very more green than ecological pesticidis and help to hold the gnats away from the basket of the fruit! I called my Dionea (a kind of carnivorous plant) Carnita Green, and together with my Pinguicola works very well.
Changing matter…after watched the Oscar winning documentary “The Cove” I advice to boycott the aquatic parks and the delfinaris (as well as zoos and cirques). If someone need to know something more about it, here I link website savejapandolphins.org where we can also sign the petition against this orrible slaughter and the reasns we must to avoid the aquatic parks. It would be a great green action and it’s very important that anyone watch this movie. I think that i can go to Taiji, in japan, to help Ric O’Berry and his orgnization, also with the danger of nuclear radiation as a voluntary worker. Ciao, Irene.
Vanessa, I am very much enjoying your book and I feel very inspired to make little changes of my own. Thank you
I have just found out this list of yours and I’m feeling very inspired to use it as my guide. I have created a link to this article on one of my next posts since I really want to share it with my readers. I hope you won’t mind!
Thank you for your blog, suggestions and insights!
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ich habe dein Buch in 4 Tagen gelesen und es war sehr inspirierend. Ich werde mir zwar keine Wurmkiste anschaffen und meinen Kühlschrank auch weiterhin benutzen, aber viele deiner “Schritte” habe ich mir makiert und aufgeschrieben. Zum Beispiel nehme ich alte CDs jetzt als untersetzer, Im dunkeln duschen(nei tag) ist auch in Ordnung und ich werde mir auf jeden Fall angewöhnen meine Fair Trade Stofftasche auch mitzunehmen, wenn ich shoppen gehe.
danke für die Tipps!
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I am currently reading your book, the dutch version ‘Groen, Groener, Groenst’, that is. I absolutely love it!
I never expected it to affect my life so much. Seriously, with everything I buy, I can’t help thinking “how will this affect the environment, my body (or anyone else’s, like my children/boyfriend) and is there a better alternative?”.
Step by step our household is becoming greener and our bodies are quite happy with all this healthy food! We haven’t shut the fridge or freezer off (yet) but I have found so many green (biological) alternatives for daily use/food in my local area! However there are still many situations in which I have to ask myself: shall I buy local OR biological? Here in Holland we cycle a lot, so next step is to actually cycle to all these local stores/farmers, which is a very good way of getting rid a few pregnancy-related-‘body-issues’ 😉
Dear Vanessa, thank you for your hilarious and inspirational book!!
ps. I was wondering, now that those 366 days are a few years back, are you still as green as a thistle? 😉
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Great tips. Have you read Zero Waste Home? It has a lot of similar tips. There are a lot of ideas I want to try on your list. One suggestion what about a cotton shower curtain with no liner? Then wash the curtain? I think I read that in the book mentioned above. Thanks for all you do!
WOW! That was a really great list. I have read Your book recently, and I’ m totally impressed by Your changes. I’m fitness and eco bloger from Poland ans also biology eks-student. I’ve started similar action (365 green changes) on my blog,. My tips are closely connected with polish reality od everyday living, which is different from canadian lifestyle. I would like to invite You to my blog action:
I write in polish language mostly, but now I will try to improve my english and translate some articles into english. You can also use google translator.
Polish reality… is complicated by our labour market with it’s irregular salaries and small wages and I have to adjust my eco friendly changes to this situation, which will be, probably, a little irritating. But the main advantage is that we still have good food, with small amounts of pesticides, plant protection products and the other bad chemical substances. The worst drawback are the prices of eco cosmetics, products , cloathes, cleaning agents – only a handful of people can afford it regularly, so here, I will try to find some solutions, and replace it by DIY things… made from raw compoments taha are available everywhere for everybody and are not ecological unfriendly. I think, in being hundred percent eco- friendly, is very hard, when your pocket is nearly empty :-)!. So it is very important, how to reconcile eco-friendly lifestyle with relentless pursuit of money.
Let’ s see what happens!
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