Happy Earth Day! 2009 — “Verdefication”: Going Green

Friday, April 17th, 2009

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The photos of Earth in this article were sent to me by a friend. As the first one shows, these were taken by Astronaut Sunita Williams.

The Commitment of “Verdefication”

Does Earth Day prick your conscience? Could you being doing more to reduce your carbon footprint to keep the planet “green” in the process? I decided to make a list of what I am doing as well as what more I could be doing as my exercise for Earth Day. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, going green requires commitment to change, although I believe the changes are worth the effort to save the planet. (I coined the word “verdefication” to honor Going Green for the good of the planet.)

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I decided to make a list, despite the many ramifications and complications of the motto: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Hopefully, my small efforts will trigger ideas at your end. Please feel free to share them by submitting your own Earth Day commitment(s).

1. I recycle paper containers such as cereal boxes when I recycle my newspaper in a bin at the end of our hall where garbage is disposed. I also make monthly trips to recycle plastic and aluminum cans, since our condo does not have bins for these.

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2. I reuse plastic containers from purchased foods (ex. Whole Foods deli) to use for leftovers or to fill with food samples to a friend and to grow soil sprouts. (I plan a posting on soil sprouts for May or June.)
3. I reuse glass jars to put foods in the ‘frig, such as soups, sprouts, and juices. I use the space above my ‘frig, which is too high for anything I use everyday, so perfect for the jars.
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4. I recycle clothes and kitchen items by giving them away or taking them to a thrift store. (I also buy from thrift stores.)
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5. I use up yarn left from a project to make throw blankets, scarves, hats, etc. for myself or to give as gifts.
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(This is a recent lap blanket made from yarn leftover from other projects.)

6. I save fabric from projects to make crazy quilt pocketbooks or pillows. (The one below is actually a banner for my college reunion, minus the lettering. The leftover fabric will be used for tote bags and perhaps a pillow.)
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7. I make as many dishes from scratch as possible to reduce the amount of processed food in my diet.
8. I have reduced the amount of soap in our new washing machine by using a detergent suited for the machine that uses less water and detergent. How dirty can my laundry be if I bathe or shower every day?
9. When weather and lack of heavy bundles permit, I walk to the grocery store across the street, the post office down the street, and the library about 1/2 mile away.
10. We drive only one car to cut down on gas and maintenance, which sometimes complicates the schedule to get errands done, visit the nursing home, and other chores done in a timely manner.

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I also decided to make a list of what more we could be doing to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, with Repair as part of the 3 Rs.

1. Take shorter baths and showers to reduce the amount of water we use.
2. Cut back on plastic water bottles. (I purchased a stainless steel water bottle and keep one or two plastic ones that I refill, despite warnings to the contrary.)

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3. Reduce the purchase of new clothes and live with fewer clothes in my closet. At the same time, extend the life of my clothes by repairing tears and making appropriate alterations.
4. Write to non-profits who send multiple solicitations and ask to be removed from the mailing list, thereby reducing my junk mail and wasting less paper.
5. Walk to more places that are nearby, such as the local movie house and some restaurants.
6. Plan our chores more practically to reduce the mileage of coming and going all over town.
7. When baking, combine baking a potato, for ex., with a batch of cookies. Start with the lower temperature for the cookies and when they are done, move up the heat to bake the potato.
8. Make sure the dishwasher and washing machine are full before running them. Use the least amount of time on each to get the job done.
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My dark wash waiting to be filled before running a load.

9. Turn down the heat (or air conditioner) one or two degrees and wear a sweater (in winter) or short sleeves (in summer) to reduce energy use.
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10. Be aware of how many resources I use each and every day and stay conscious enough to make changes.

There are so many ways to reduce our impact on the planet, some of which may require more of our energy, time, and patience. However, if we want to restore the health of the planet for future generations, I think we can live with the ramifications of “verdefication” in order to celebrate Earth Day every day! Please make a list that you can live with so all of us can pass on Mother Earth’s bounties to future generations.

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