Honestly, I am one of the busiest people I know. I have a husband, two little boys, one full-time job, three part-time jobs, two volunteer jobs, plus a couple of hobbies. Oh, and sometimes I like to sleep. So incorporating green lifestyle changes can be really challenging and I struggle with it often because some of the green things I can do for my home and my family take a little more time than non-green things. I don’t want to call the non-green things traditional because only a century (or less!) ago traditional ways of living and keeping house were what we consider green today. But then as time passed and people got busier convenience took over and we became a more disposable society.
As with most vacations, the Earthship let me slow down a lot. The wi-fi didn’t work as expected so I didn’t feel obligated to edit copy or grade electronic assignment submissions. I had time to sit, relax, reflect, and visit with friends. The air smells different in an Earthship because dirt, plants, and even some “wild”life are part of the decor. The air smells like nature; it smells clean and green, like it has the ability to recharge your soul. In the Earthship, all of the “green” things are incorporated into the style of the house and the lifestyle you would have if you lived in one; you are part of the ecosystem.
In my traditional home in a very northern climate sometimes going green isn’t convenient. We just got curbside recycling in Anchorage a year or so ago and there are some things that we still don’t recycle locally. The growing season here is short and intense; the sun is up for about 19 hours a day in the summer and we don’t start planting until Memorial Day. At the Earthship, bottles and cans could be reused as building materials. The growing season is year-round within the building. Most food scraps can go to the chickens.
I am hoping to expand on the list below and work on better integrating some of the things, teaching the kids the hows and whys of composting and getting them to be better helpers with a garden. To begin with, we are donating as much excess stuff as we can. We are getting a new puppy in the middle of May, a little beagle named Gaia (!), so we’ve also got to make sure things aren’t laying around and waiting for her to chew them up.
I created this list as a Facebook note, published in April of 2010:
I just expanded a list I started in January of 2009 – very, very far from perfect but we do quite a bit (we own too much stuff though, for real)
garden (limited success)
hard to buy local, but we do the Full Circle Farm box every other week
compact florescent bulbs
use cloth towels, not paper towels
use cloth napkins (I made them!), not paper
cloth pads and Diva Cup
use cloth diapers & wipes
use vinegar & baking soda to clean
use vinegar instead of fabric softener – now use dryer balls
making gifts instead of buying
taught myself to crochet so I can make cute stuff
use a clothesline in the summer – dry some stuff on an indoor rack year-round
buy used clothes
upcycle/freecycle/donate old things
buy little processed food (within reason because I also work full time and do other stuff)
read a lot – trying hard to not buy books
use reusable grocery bags
cloth snack/sandwich bags
drinking coffee at home or school – no paper cups (but I miss lattes)
have a solid, working budget (less money waste)
bring lunch to work