Saturday, May 29, 2010

Save some gas and $$$$

It's been over a month since the Gulf oil rig explosion started spewing oil into the ocean, and I've been trying to figure out how to reduce my addiction to oil. I can't get a hybrid just yet, so how else could I make a positive impact?

I've designated one day a week to not drive my car. I live in the suburbs, where public transportation is scarce, and walking or biking would almost be suicide, so that is one way I can curb my need for gas. (However, once the metro is extended further west, it'll be easier to go to DC using that method of public transportation. Can't wait!)

Another way is to reduce the distance I drive my car by condensing my shopping trips/errands. So when I have to go to the grocery store, gas station, post office, and Target, I try to do it all in one trip. If I forget something, I just wait until the next day. Or better yet, I wait til I have to take my son or daughter to their activities and do it while I'm already out.

I can also save some gas by walking if I'm going less than a mile. For instance, when I know I'm going to a strip mall that consists of several stores I need to shop at, I park in a central location and go from one store to the other. This gives me a little exercise and sometimes even saves me time by not having to look for yet another parking spot.

A few more gas saving tips: if you're going to buy a new or used car, why not look for one that's fuel efficient or even a hybrid.
Buy local products. The less distance that these products are shipped from one place to the next, the less fuel is being used and demand for oil is lightened somewhat. (And you're supporting the local economy while you're at it!).
One more tip: stop idling your car! It takes more gas to idle for a minute than it does to stop and start your car. I'm not saying to turn off the car at every red light, but try it at the bank, or at the drive-thru, or when picking up your child at the daycare line. It will make a difference.

There are days that I feel like a taxi for my kids, shuttling them from one activity to the next. However, if I can reduce my time in the car, it'll make me happy and my wallet even happier. We can all make a difference and reduce our demand for oil by making just a few changes.

Save gas, save $$$, save some wildlife too. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Watch less TV

So tonight is the series finale of "Lost" and concludes a week of season finales for network TV. This leaves us TV addicts with lots more time to do other things, like reading books, enjoying the outdoors, or spending more time with our loved ones. Of course, the kids will be out of school soon and, if yours are anything like mine, they'll be driving you and each other crazy saying they're bored or just getting on each others nerves. And it's easy to just put them in front of the TV or the Wii to entertain themselves for a few hours to keep the peace and your sanity.

How about finding alternatives to that? Take your kids to a craft store or even the dollar store and find some kits and supplies to keep them occupied for an hour or so. Rearrange your kids toys so it seems new to them. (I've done that recently and it's amazing how that rejuvenates the life of their toys). A friend of mine set up her kids' playroom to resemble a daycare with designated centers for different things. If you set up their costumes with a full length mirror they will play with them for hours, or at least enough time to figure out what else to do. Set up a CD player or iPod in their playroom and put their favorite music on and you'd be surprised how long they'll play and not even mention the TV.

As for us adults, while the children are occupied, or if you don't have children, the choices are endless on TV-less entertainment. Take a walk after dinner, ride a bike (with or without the kids), play board games, get some books at the library, go thru some of your stuff and purge, discover your crafty side and start scrapbooking or start a digital photo book.

Use your imagination! I'm sure you and your kids will find loads of stuff to do and won't even miss the TV... much.

Less energy used, more quality time spent. :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Welcome, everyone, to this new and exciting chapter in my life. I am dedicating one day a week to write very simple ways you can change your daily habits to make your life a little “greener”. People tend to think of being environmentally friendly as a waste of time, or that it takes too much effort. I would like to try to change this “convenient = disposable” society, into one that is more conscious of their impact on our planet. Please join me every week to find news ways to do this so we can all collectively make a positive change on our effects on OUR environment.

Now, I am FAR from perfect when it comes to being eco-friendly. I am not a vegetarian, although I have started to eat less meat. I don’t drive a hybrid, but I hope to in the future. I wear leather shoes, and I don’t live on an eco-compound in some small shack with no electricity. But I am aware of how to off-set the way that I live in order to make less of a negative impact.

I still would like to learn how to compost, and start a garden, and eventually even get solar and wind power in my home. But this is a process and it will take time to make all the changes that I’d like to in order to live truly “green”. Making a change for the better doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Each of us can make a difference by making small steps in the right direction.

So please join me every week for a new eco-tip. I’d like your feedback on whether making this change makes sense to you, or why you’re opposed to it, or just plain don’t feel like doing it. I’d really like to dig deeper into those of you who have never had the inclination to do anything environmentally friendly. What’s holding you back?

For those of you who have followed me on Facebook, some of these eco-tips will be familiar to you but I will be “recycling” them in order to share the info with non-FB users. I will try to be more in-depth with the tips since FB only allows me a small space to do so.

Thanks everyone!