Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Going Green!

Last year I read the book "The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking." I thought it was really great, but I didn't really have it in me to become "green" like the author. But then I took the class Humans and the Environment this semester. I thought that it would provide me some great ideas and resources for teaching environmental ideas in my classroom someday. Little did I know though, that I was starting to foster an obsession.

I am all up for the idea of recycling, up-cycling, reducing, reusing, whatever. But I just don't have the time to put all of those crafty Pinterest ideas into use. So instead I have a coffee can, a jar, and a collection of wine bottles cluttering my cabinet. I feel like it's such a waste just to pitch them. What I didn't realize though is that it wasn't going to stop at just these items.

I stood yesterday holding my empty gallon of milk staring at the trash can when suddenly I felt this clench in my gut. Here I am getting ready to toss this plastic into a trash can to be taken to a dump where it will sit for 1000s of years when I could just take it somewhere and recycle it. It was at that moment I decided that this weekend I am buying some bins to start recycling. I am just sick of the idea of wasting things that could easily be recycled. It bothers me so much that it honestly makes me sad to know my laziness is harming Earth. (Go ahead. Make fun of me. Whatever.)

This whole going green idea was also fueled by a booth I saw at the Illinois Reading Conference. It was for Lights for Learning. In a nutshell, it's a school fundraising program that allows students to sell lightbulbs for their school fundraisers rather than overpriced cheese and wrapping paper. (See more information on this awesome program here.) The cool thing is they also come to your school to do a presentation about energy and conservation. Such a great idea.

The third part of this life change comes from cleaners. After reading that book that I mentioned earlier, I suddenly became aware of all the gross things I put into my body. Radiation from microwaves, insane amounts of chemicals from reheating plastics, toxins from cleaning supplies and plug-in air-freshners, all of it. Ugh. So, I got rid of my microwave and switched to glass glasses and containers. Eventually I plan on ridding myself of Teflon, which releases chemicals when heated beyond a certain temperature, and I am preparing myself to make the switch to green cleaners. (Thankfully some of the best cleaners can be made from vinegar and baking soda. For how that works, check out this blog.)

So, if you are good a being green, share some tips! I'm a total rookie, and I am trying to not be terrified to how daunting this transition seems. But I figure if I am saving the Earth and not loading my body with ridiculous amounts of chemicals, it's worth it :)

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