Five green lessons I learned in 2008:
- The cheap solution can be the green solution. Baking soda, ammonia, you name it…many “kitchen” products can find a second, third or fourth life as various cleaning products. And a $6 package of Arm & Hammer at Sam’s Club is far cheaper – and takes less space – than a multitude of plastic bottles holding who knows what chemicals.
- A drop in discretionary income doesn’t mean you have to drop environmentally friendly habits. Whether your household lost an income like ours did or you’re still reeling from the effects of gas prices by Sybil, you can take sustainable steps on any budget by swapping out old habits.
- We’re now dealing with the 4 R’s of environmentalism: Reduce, reuse, recycle, re-buy. It seems that the trendy thing is to repurpose these days – whether you do it yourself or if you pay someone to do it for you (like some of the purses out there.) Also, is it me, or are more and more Goodwill and other resale shops opening up these days?
- A cheap date isn’t a bad thing. The chefs in my family experimented with a multitude of recipes and local foods, with always interesting results. Buying locally at the new farmers markets helped us expand our menu, keep our money in our local economy, support sustainable producers and stick to an ever-tightening budget. And let me tell you, a home-cooked meal beats a box of Hamburger Helper or a fast-food meal any day.
- Pick your battles, and don’t sweat it if you lose a few. While it’s a great ideal to move to an environmentally friendly lifestyle, the reality is it’s not as simple as turning on a switch. It’s a transition, and a slow one at that. And sometimes, you backslide. And that’s OK too. Because the steps that you did take can make a difference.