Friday, January 7, 2011

Just One Step

Our daughter made a comment the other day that when you really get into the eco-friendly lifestyle, you're more aware of how wasteful other people are.  Isn't that the truth.  Some of them just don't know there are alternatives, some have limited time and others just don't give a rat's ass.

Recently when Bill and I were at the grocery store, a woman was in the aisle, clutching a handful of coupons, staring at the 'Mr. Clean ' eraser things.  She commented that she couldn't make up her mind if she should buy the name brand with the coupon or the store brand, which would still be cheaper.  She asked which one I would buy.  I was polite when I told her that I was probably the wrong one to ask, as I would use baking soda to clean anything that needed the eraser thing, so I wouldn't buy either one.  As she was explaining in great detail all the money she saved by using coupons, I was looking at what she had in her cart.  There must have been at least 10 different cleaning products in there.  Sure, she saved $4 because of coupons, but she spent $20 or more when she probably had everything at home to make alternatives that would work just as well.  I have to admit that I was a little saddened because of all the plastic bottles, too.  I hope she recycled, but so many people don't.

I don't want this to be some kind of rant, so I'm putting out a challenge:  Can you take ONE STEP, just ONE STEP each month towards a better world for the future?  Even something as simple as taking your lunch to work one day a week, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of a hamburger, is making a difference.  Another easy step is to unplug things that you aren't using.  Or using a Brita filter pitcher instead of buying bottled water.  Or drinking one less soda pop a day.  Or using your slow cooker more often.  You get the drift, these aren't difficult or truly lifestyle changing, but it all adds up.

I am more extreme than ever since I watched 'No Impact Man', but I'm still looking for ways to be more eco friendly yet not too labor intensive.  And there's a comfort level that I want, too.

My latest change is the cat litter. Over the course of a couple of years, I went from purchased, silicone kitty litter to Feline Pine to making my own w/ recycled newspaper and baking soda to now scooping up straw bits and leaf crumbles from the garden into a 5 gallon bucket to store by litter boxes.  I have a coffee canister with some pine sawdust to sprinkle over the top after I scoop out the poops AKA composting toilet for kitties.  I have five cats inside, but I don't want my house to smell like I have five cats inside, you know?  Oh, I also scooped up a trash can full of straw/leaf crumbles and put that in the shop so it wouldn't freeze solid in the winter. It's easy to go out, dip up a bucketful and bring it into the house.  A lot easier than hauling 20 lb. bags back from the store, I'm telling ya.  Edited 3/9/11:  Well, that didn't last too long as the cats tracked it all over the place.  I think I didn't have enough dirt type stuff in it.  I also quit making the newspaper litter as I had to keep a batch going constantly since I have too many cats.  So, it's back to Feline Pine.  But I did read that some people use chicken scratch grains, so I might try that next.  Or a bale of pine shavings used for bedding.
Another edit 5/1/11:  Well, the pine shavings worked as far as odor control, but man, that stuff can travel when it's clinging to a long haired cat!   We even found a piece on our bed!  So, back to the Feline Pine.
Now, I admit that most people wouldn't go that far, or don't have a garden, etc, but how about makng the switch to a litter that is more eco-friendly like Feline Pine, Yesterday's News or another recycled litter?  No huge life changing step there, but it does make a difference.

Just one step - can you find some little thing to change each month?  Heck, you'll feel so good about yourself after a bit, the next steps will be easy!

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