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Simple Steps to Save the Planet

“The other day, as I was browsing a fellow team member’s profile, I stumbled upon the following phrase:

“Part of the example we are teaching our children is that we must live in a way that respects and honors all life, especially our home, Mother Earth. We’ve chosen to drive a hybrid car and have installed solar panels on our roof as a way to begin this. We frequently use recycled materials when packing and shipping items to further support our “green” efforts. We have a long way to go to living more sustainably, but every step each one of us takes is a positive change toward our collective future. Thank you for supporting our efforts with your purchases!”
You all may guess at who wrote it. I loved it, and it has stuck in my head all week.

So I make and promote toys out of natural materials. Toys that won’t pollute and if they should ever break will not sit in a landfill for gazillions of years. It is my mission to convince people that “Happy Meal ” toys, and plastic toys in general, are bad for our planet.
But what can I do besides that? I often worry about how to lead my life in the way the author above describes. What other steps can I take to help the planet? How do I teach the children the kind of respect described by my friend? Not everybody can afford to purchase a hybrid car or have solar panels installed. But there are so many small things in our every day life, small changes, that we can make to live a greener life style and waste less resources.
One example that comes to mind is plastic grocery bags. I remember reading that the City of San Francisco has actually outlawed them. Unfortunately it is not that way in the small US city where I live. The majority of people waste between 3-10 plastic grocery bags per store visit. Whenever I go grocery shopping, I bring grocery bags with me. I carry them in my car. Wow, they even give you money for each bag you bring! Who would have ever thought that? In Germany YOU PAY the grocery store for every bag YOU WASTE ! Didn’t you know that you were out to shop that day?
But there are many other ways to safe resources and energy. One phenomena I find rather intriguing, is the fact that nobody in US appears to dry their clothes other than by using an electric dryer. Or is it just here in Colorado? Please, correct me if I am wrong! But I have never seen an outdoor clothes line in this town, nor anywhere else used in this nation. Wow, it is so simple that it blows my mind! How come people would never think of it, living in a place where the sun shines almost every day?
And there are so many benefits to doing it besides the BIG one of SAVING ENERGY!
1. Your clothes get less wrinkled. Hang them up, right after you washed them, and you will not have to waste your time ironing them , wasting more energy…

2. Your clothes smell so good and fresh, and get bleached naturally – by THE SUN! You’d be amazed how tough a stain it can handle…

3. Plus, as an extra bonus, your clothes will last so much longer because they don’t get ripped to shreds being violently spun around by an electric dryer.

4. Hey, and it’s good exercise too. Who needs a trip to the gym when you can carry a couple of loads up from the basement and work those legs and biceps…=) The children enjoy helping with it. My daughter things it is so much fun!

I admit, in Winter time, I find it a bit more challenging. Who likes to wade through 3 feet of snow to hang up clothing. But I have an indoor clothes line for the basement I brought from Germany. Unfortunately it only holds half of a load. I have not been able to find one standard item used in every German household: A giant metal foldout clothes drying rack that can hold an entire load of clothing. Forget those scimpy little ones they sell here. They collapse with one pair of Blue Jeans. Please, if anyone here knows where in US to purchase a decent drying rack I’d be eternally grateful!
My family does drive a hybrid car. We carpool to school all the time. My husband walks to work. I work at home. We recycle glass, paper, cardboard, and plastics. We share a trashcan with the neighbors because we don’t have much trash. My son loves to earn money by collecting aluminum cans at parties…We have not been able to afford solar panels for our house…but I hope that the day until we have them is not too far away. I hope that by setting a good example to the children I am making progress and doing my part respecting our planet and saving it for future generations to enjoy!

Have a “green” Day! Remember to take those shopping bags with you.
And please, if you have any other great ideas on how to safe energy let me know! Maybe I can write about it next week!

12 thoughts on “Simple Steps to Save the Planet

  1. Great Post!! I have a wonderful pulley system clothesline that lets me hang clothes from my back deck and I LOVE it. There’s nothing more homey then the smell of clothes (especially sheets) hung on the line!

  2. the single biggest thing moms can do to be green is pack green lunches, stop buying individual water bottles and snacks and recycle at home. ok, that’s not a single thing but they’re all related. i invite you to look at all the wrappers and containers that your family uses and disposes of every day… someone who works with kids every day i’m appalled at the waste otherwise smart families send to school every day…..use reusable containers for everything, use a brita filter, use cloth napkins and real utensils (buy at thrift shops or yard sales so you don’t lose your good ones but kids are surprisingly good at this….) and make your own snacks….

  3. I’m totally with you on the lunches Mary! I am planning on writing about it next week!Thanks for reminding me!

  4. You can find big, well-made drying racks at Lehman’s.

    We hang our stuff out to dry all the time (except winter), and try to plan doing laundry on nice days.

    Another simple step is eating locally-produced food. Not only are you supporting your local economy, but you’re greatly reducing the amount of fuel it takes to get your food to market. You get to know who grows it, and your get to eat tastier, more nutritious food. And you’ll find more interesting varieties at a farmer’s market than you will in a grocery store.

    If you have your own garden, that’s even better.

  5. We do have one of those drying racks, it actually came with our house. We had one when I was growing up too. Not sure where to buy one…
    Our next ‘green’ step here is to recycle rainwater. We turned off the irrigation system that came with the house, and are letting all plants not native to the area, die. It is sad to see them go, but think of the water we are saving. Also, we had MUCH fewer mosquitoes this summer. I recycle everything!
    Great Post! Oh – and what maryrichmond said – we no longer buy water bottles. haven’t in a long time.

  6. oh I love your dolls, how lovely, and I agree with hanging out clothes, I enjoy it, something nastalgic about going outside and hanging them…

  7. I must be the only person who hates hanging clothes. I remember having to do it as a child–horrid backbreaking work, and I was so short it was impossible to reach the line.

    My one laundry earth-saving tip is that I wash *everything* in cold. I had read somewhere that the energy used to heat the water for washing was the single biggest energy drain in the modern laundry room, so I happily did away with that. Now I wash everything in cold and it is still clean and lovely.

  8. Awesome article. I especially liked the part about the exercise you get from hanging laundry. lol I’m so short I can hardly reach the close line so it’s great for stretching too. ^_^

    Big Hugs,

  9. We brought two big collapsing laundry racks all the way from Hungary, so we can dry laundry in the winter by the furnace in the basement. Talk about fanatics, hee hee.

    One way I like to think that we are helping save the environment is buy always buying local and by always buying bulk and cooking and baking from scrap. It saves a lot of fuel as well as wrapping when you do that. We even get our milk from a local dairy farm and make our own yoghurt, buttermilk, cheese and sour cream. It is suprisingly easy when you are in the habit of it.

    And a big, big energy saver: being vegetarian. A vegetarian diet uses 1/10th of the land a meat-based diet uses. If we were all vegetarians, there would not be starvation in the world. Not to speak of the energy, fuel, water that it wastes to produce meat. There are many places to read up about it, here is one:

  10. Great suggestions here! I think I will definitely write about food issues next week! Thanks for all your input everybody!

  11. great ideas here everyone, i’m just now catching up!
    thank you Ulla for the mention 🙂
    my car was sideswiped by someone when no one was around to see it and i’ve spent the day trying to deal with insurance and repairs!

  12. Wonderful article and well written. A good reminder to be “green”. I too wash in cold and we pack “green” lunches. We reuse water bottles until they just wear out. Also walking and riding bikes to places less than two miles away.

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