Friday, September 13, 2013

Conscious Living Wk. 1

Today I'm switching things up, I'm branching out, I'm letting you guys into my lives a bit more with a series I've been putting together in my brain called Conscious Living. 

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I had thoughts to call it lots of things, but in the end I wanted it to be clear that I am no expert in conservation, recycling, etc. The goal of this series is to share my families journey to living a life that reflects what we believe to be important for our Earth and future.

The Story:

A few years ago my husband and I started paying a lot more attention to the environment and how we were affecting it. 
1. This is partly because my daughter began LOVING Earth Day& in that week we learned about Earth Day in Homeschool. If you have the chance to read the book "You Are The Earth" by David Suzuki DO IT

David Suzuki Foundation/Book Link

 For Earth Day, Lily insisted decorations were needed.

We also recycled old crayons to make heart shaped earth crayons. 

2. It was also partly due to a documentary called "No Impact Man" that we watched on Netflix. I've watched it at least three times. It's a very compelling story of a man& his family living in New York City. Their goal is to live for one year without creating a carbon footprint. This means no car,  no elevators, creating no trash, using no electricity, buying all local produce etc. 

 Afterwards, I realized a change needed to happen. 
 We knew that there was a lot we could change, but we decided to start small. It started off with the simple task of recycling more. We had already been recycling for years, but we were lazy about it. If it was obviously recyclable, we recycled it. That's it. Otherwise tons of recyclable materials were ending up in our garbage can.  

Each year since then we have made a  few goals to improve the way we live. 

In the next few weeks I'd like to break down the changes our family has made and why we choose to live a more conscious lifestyle. 
If you'd like to join me in discussing your families experiences in reducing, reusing, recycling, composting, gardening, canning, etc please grab the button above and let's make it a party! 

Here is a great documentary called TAPPED, though it is about bottled water, it also discusses the amount of unrecycled plastic that is mucking up our oceans and destroying it's beauty. 

Click HERE to view the documentary or you can view it on Netflix. 

For this post I'd like to focus not only on the reason we chose to change our lifestyle, but also to dive deeper into what changes in regards to the 3 R's we've made. What are the three R's? Oh, let me tell you!


It is a common misconception that the biggest of these three R's is recycle. In fact, many people leave the other R's out completely!! It's super sad for me because the R's are placed in order of importance. That's right. The LAST is recycle, not the first. 


Our "new" wagon

In the US, we have a culture that puts a lot of importance on "stuff." The stuff we wear, the stuff we put in our house& in our cars, all kinds of stuff.  When you look at it all what do you see? Does all that stuff make you happy or does it clutter your life and distract you from what is most important? 

In all honesty, I use to be a huge consumer. 
I thought buying a new stuff, having the newest clothes, purses, and car were what made me successful and, in the end, that's what would make me happy. 
But face it, there will always be someone with a bigger house, a boat, for goodness sake a personal plane ... you will never top everyone. 

In order for my family to reduce what we buy, we started looking at what we needed with a more critical eye. 
If we can buy something at the thrift store, we do. If I can't make a clothing item for my children (which I usually can), I buy it at the thrift store. Buying new is the last resort. Craigslist. Ebay. Facebook Swap Sites. With the number of people in our world, there are plenty of items for us to share. If there's an item I need, I look first for a used item and I try not to let myself get impatient. 


When baby #2 came, we switched to cloth diapers.

Paper napkins. Paper towels. Disposable diapers. Disposable wipes. Plastic forks, knives, spoons and plates. 
We rush to buy the most convenient products, unfortunately, those products create a ton of waste that can be avoided. 

For my family, reusable products are a must. Not only do we save money, we also help the environment. We have moved to a paperless household (except for our toilet paper) and have made efforts to stop buying products that are made to be thrown away. This includes using cloth diapers and cloth wipes. It's a dirty job, but so is parenting! 
My last efforts were to move from conventional menstrual pads, to making my own cloth reusable pads. It took a little getting use to, but it feels better on my skin (I make them using minky material) and I get less crampy than when I used tampons. 


Thankfully we have curbside recycling though it's usually brimming. 

Did you know that recycling ONE aluminum can saves enough energy to power a television for 2 hours? and Recycling ONE glass bottle saves enough energy to power a computer for 30 minutes?

Once we started watching what ended up in the trash, we reduced the amount of waste we were producing by half. We now create so little trash that our family of 4 needs to move to a smaller garbage can and we put our trash on the curb half full every 2 weeks compared to filling it every week.
It has made a huge difference. 

So, year one we met our recycling goal. 
I hope you will join me next Friday when I'll be discussing our families year two move to composting and how easy to make the switch! 

1 comment:

  1. This is so great for you and your family! We have been making a concerted effort for the last five years and I love the impact it has had on our kids. They are 10, 12, & 14 now and these choices have all become habits. We have recently had to go carless (not by choice - blog post coming soon!) which has certainly stretched us. Best of luck on this new path; I am excited to see how it goes!


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