Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

April 22, 2008

Earth Day (post I)

Happy Earth Day everyone!

I actually have another post that I’ll be putting up this evening with a report about the earth day activities that my family and I participated in on Saturday but it was such a full weekend, and I hadn’t posted anything at all so I felt a little out of touch. I Had to get on here to encourage everyone to enjoy and at least have an open mind toward Earth Day. Like my family was in years past, I know there are a lot of others out there that are just running on auto-pilot from day to day and really not giving much thought to the world around them or how they impact it. While I’m not necessarily your iconic, poster-child greenie or anything, I have to admit that my crunchiness has certainly increased of late. For those of you reading that may just be beginning to take stock of your impact on the world, or beginning to increase your sustainability be warned, this type of lifestyle change may be habit forming and can in fact permeate every part of your life; let me elaborate:


HOME: When my wife and I decided last year, after some health related concerns were brought to light (asthma and related allergies), that we needed to make some changes in our home to help create a healthier environment for our children, we began with a move over to all natural/organic cleaners. We learned that a clean house doesn’t have to smell like a pine forest of a grove of lemons, it just has to smell “clean” (i.e. no smell at all). If we do add scents it’s through natural herbs and oils, and used sparingly. We also had some home renovations that we had planned on for some time that were not only pushed up, but were looked at in a new light. We removed the carpet from our home in all but the bedrooms, and replaced it with hardwood. On the front end, using red oak was not the most sustainable choice because of the time it takes to grow, but over the years, never having to replace the carpet and throw the old in the landfill, not to mention the air quality improvements to our home make it a much better choice. We chose a low VOC, water soluble sealant for the floors and have made use of the scrap for various other home projects in order to reduce our waste. We’ve also re-painted almost the entire interior of our home with ZERO VOC green seal certified paint. Using this type of paint will not only add no off-gassing chemical particulates to our interior air quality, but will also help to seal in any of them from the original paints and building supplies that were used or applied when building the home.

FOOD: One of my goals last year was also to lose some weight, and to generally get myself into better shape. As I began to watch what I ate and exercise more, I read and learned about what it was exactly that I was eating. I wanted to find out about my food chain, and my place in it. I read Michael Pollan’s “Omnivores Dilemma” and was shocked. My wife and I began to slowly move our family towards more healthful eating. We, or more to the point, she began to make many of our foods from scratch and we tried our hands at canning and preserving some of the foods from our modest garden. Today, we have nearly doubled the total growing area of our garden, planned to grow crops that we use as staples and that we can easily preserve for use later in the year. We’re raising chickens at home to provide us with organic eggs and meat and are continually learning about ways to improve our diet by eating less meats, more plant and locally produced foods when we can.

Outdoors: As I said, we’ve significantly increased the scope of our home food production through our garden and livestock keeping. Our yard too has begun to find a balance between the natural world and the cultivated one. Last year, for instance, we made the decision to not treat our lawn with any weed control other than picking them, and used no pesticides at all. We noticed a marked increase in not only the number of beneficial insects but in the balance between them and the nuisance insects; this year I’ve already seen a larger number of bees than from this time last year. We made some landscaping improvements last year too and rather than buying a bunch of new items, tried to make use of recycled and re-purposed materials whenever possible.


So you can see, even for a family that wasn’t making the decision necessarily to “go-green”, once you start really looking into the way you live, and how your choices are really impacting your family and the world around you, it’s hard not to let that way of thinking creep into all facets of your life. Was it hard? That’s really the question isn’t it? We’re so conditioned for ease and quickness in our modern world that sometimes it seems like making changes would take away from our quality of life. I admit to you that yes, sometimes it is a little harder. It would be easier to buy my produce than to grow it myself. It would certainly be easier for A~ to run out and buy bread every couple of days than it is for her to make it. But I submit that the benefits so much outweigh the inconvenience that the net gain is substantial. I lost over 20 lbs last year without dieting, my kids have discovered the pleasure of warm bread straight from the oven and our family health has never been better.

If this your first year paying attention to Earth Day, don’t get too caught up in the hype. By that I mean not to get depressed or nervous by the reports of all the crises in the environment and what you need to do to fix the world; that’s a lot to take on by yourself! Take a look at your home and your lifestyle; “Think globally, act locally”. It’s a cliché now to some degree, but it still holds true, make the changes in your home and in your life and take things a step at a time. You’ll be surprised at how much better and more “in tune” you feel with yourself and the world and what a difference individual action can have.  If you’re a seasoned greenie, crunchy to the core, let me know what you’re planning for the year. Where did you come from and what are the lessons you’ve learned? I have so much more to learn, and enjoy the global community we’ve all contributed to building here online.

Be well…Namaste


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