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Friday, January 14, 2011

I Am NOT Perfect. Are You? Plus, The Truth About Energy Saving Light Bulbs

I've been thinking a lot about being perfect, and how it can make your (and my, and everybody's) life miserable trying to be.
We all want a greener future, healthier environment, less toxins and fewer worries. And hopefully we all try to improve our lifestyles and be as green as we can.

But striving for perfectionism is just not the answer right now, at least not for me. As hard as I try, I can't be perfect. And the more I try, the more it becomes obvious that I'll never be. Let me give you some examples of my imperfectness (oh, my PC didn't underline this word, suggesting that I misspelled it???):
  • On school day mornings, we're ALWAYS running so late that we NEVER make it to school walking (which we easily could), so my husband ends up driving our older one (I make up for this by picking him up walking at least,  99% of the time).
  • The other 1% of the time I use the car because I was out running errands anyway...
  • As hard as I try to exclusively compost all veggie and fruit scraps, eggshells and what not, at times I just can't do it. Our kitchen is way too small to store a compost bin (believe me, if you saw our kitchen you'd see that I'm NOT exaggerating). During the hot months we get hundreds of fruit flies, which makes the whole experience unbearable, and even recently they came back - in January!!! My family is not happy with the situation, so from time to time I take a break. Not perfect, but it keeps us sane, and we just aren't able to compost right here where we live.
  • Sometimes I order online which doesn't support local businesses and adds to our carbon footprint because of shipping and delivering. But you know what? Our financial situation sometimes forces us to look for the best deals around, and I'm sure the same goes for many people out there.
  • I stopped using energy saving lightbulbs. Gulp! What??? Yes, I did. And I tell you why: whoever invented them was not thinking the whole thing through and was just looking for yet another short-term solution, even though I'm not sure what kind of solution this was supposed to be. They're said to last longer (mine didn't). They're said to be practically unbreakable (I broke 2 of them within less than a year and know of many others who did as well). They're said to be so much better than the old kind - well, did you know they contain mercury? Did you know that you're not supposed to touch them when they break, leave the room and air it out, put a mask and gloves on, collect all broken pieces (and there's a million of those when they break!) with tape, put the whole thing in an airtight container and bring it to the recycle site, not in the garbage? Nobody knows what kind of impact these broken light bulbs have on our health, especially our childrens' and pregnant women. So think again. 

If I think hard enough, I'm sure I'd find a lot more to add to this list, but I hope you get the idea.
What are your environmental sins? Are you willing to share them with us?

At the same time, I try my best to be as green as I can in all aspects of my life:
  • Leaving the car in the garage as often as possible and walk instead
  • Shopping locally whenever financial situation allows
  • Shopping at thrift stores (also local!), farmer's markets, food co-ops
  • Cutting down on garbage by avoiding disposables whenever possible (home, school, parties,...)
  • Reusing everything possible (boxes, gift bags, envelopes, containers, clothing,...)
  • Eating an earth-friendly diet (organic, local, if animal products only humanly raised, no prepared, processed foods)
  • Using green cleaning and personal products (better yet self-made) - cuts down loads and loads of toxins
  • Break the habit of using water bottles!!! We use a filter and reusable steel bottles for many years. It makes my head spin when I think about how many plastic bottles we would have added to the landfill without this!
Again, this is just a short list of things to consider. What are your green tips? 
I know a lot of people from all over the world read my blog, and I'm especially interested in green living ideas from other countries - please share.

Happy green living!

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