Then, while searching for some Earth Day ideas on the web for my 20 first graders I ran across a Footprint quiz. I took it (and yes some questions were very general). By the end I learned that if everyone lived like me it would take 4 1/2 Earths to sustain our lifestyle. I made two green pledges (which I feel confident that I already do and were not factored into the quiz) which reduced my footprint to 4 Earths.
So much for the idea that I thought I was making gains in sustainable living.
I guess I just need to work harder, 4 Earths is too many, we only have 1.
On the flip side. I do know that I work hard at sustainable living and if I take up 4 Earths, how many Earths do other people use?
At the Painting House we live by this code of sustainable living, which we are preaching to our offspring.
- lights off, off, off.
- line dry he clothes...that is when the pollen count is down!
- we pick furniture off the sides of the street...and find ways to use it at home.
- most clothing purchases are from second-hand shops.
- we avoid purchasing anything packaged (hard to hit 100% here, but efforts are made)
- gardens are in and growing-local produce
- wood heat
- Ceiling fans in every room.
- Dr. Bronners, safe for the septic, safe for humans.
- AC at 78 during the summer.
- old adage "if it's yellow let it mellow, brown flush it down"
- we use magnets to wash our clothes.
- we use the "eco" light bulbs.
- Re-usable containers everyday.
- our boys have been clothed almost completely in hand-me-downs.
- Cloth diapered both boys (that is almost 4 years of diapers spared from the landfill)
- High efficiency low water use washing machine.
- Heavily insulated attic space.
- Re-cycle everything we can!! And according to Ben we can even re-use shrink wrap...see endnote for a silly story about that!
- we plant things, let's not forget that green things clean the air.
Plans for more sustainability at the farm...
- insulate the floor.
- raise chickens for manure and fresh eggs.
- bigger garden and more fruit trees.
- new windows
- solar power
- Sarah needs to find a human to carpool with...very hard to do...observed that people like to work on their own clock, come and go when they want.
- continue to raise conscientious children.
Ben's 3 R's Story...The boys and I are reading books. Ben finds a set of books wrapped in shrink wrap. "Mommy can we read these ones?" Of coure I say yes and we open them up. I ever so nicely ask Ben to throw the plastic in the trash, he looks at me and says flatly "no Mommy." I reply, "Ben, please throw it away like I asked." Again, "no Mommy", but this time he adds, "Mommy, reduce, reuse, recycle. We CAN reuse this." I am looking at the balled up shrink wrap wondering how I am going to explain that it is hard to reuse plastic wrap. Then Ben informs me that we can use it on the sail that we are planning on sewing for his driftwood pirate ship. So, I acknowledge his thoughts and instruct him to go set the balled up plastic on the sewing table. He was happy with this and we went on to read two fabulous Robert Munsch books. Ben won't be four until August but he sure is thinking like a little Earth Soldier.
This is one proud Mommy signing off, wishing her little boy Simon (Earth Soldier#2) a very happy birthday tomorrow, and pledging to make every effort to live a more sustainable life everyday.
Peace Mother Earth, may we at the Painting House Farm continue to observe, honor, and protect you.
Happy Birthday Simon!