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I live in a town that is super committed
to a culture of consciousness
Each bag of trash, not exceeding 20 pounds,
costs over a dollar
to send to the landfill
in addition to our monthly pick up charge.
So, we recycle as much as we can.
Restaurants have multiple bins for trash.
It’s actually labeled for the landfill.
So you know that whatever you put in that bin
is headed for a hole in the ground.
That’s no joke.
We’re a one car family.
My husband sold his car
and put an electric motor on his bike.
Hardcore maybe, but then we live at over 1400ft.
And that’s a long ride home from work up hill.
Plus, he belongs to a car share program
which allows him to drive one of the cars in the program
when he needs it.
It’s a fairly inexpensive way to have use of a car
when the need arises.
Our behaviors impact our world.
I’m always amazed when I leave our town
and see only one receptacle for refuse.
Conservation and ecological thinking
are a way of life here.
How can we challenge our thinking
and be intentional about being earth friendly?
Daily Water Use Challenge
Everyday we use 80-100 gallons of water.
Do you have any guesses as to which activities use the most?
Let’s try a little exercise I used to do with my students when I was a classroom science teacher.
- Make a list of the things you do everyday that use water.
- Predict how much water each of those activities require.
- Write down your predictions.
- Test your hypothesis by determining a way you can measure your water use for these activities.
- Measure the amount of water used in each activity.
- Compare your findings with your predictions.
- Brainstorm ways you can reduce the amount of water you use.
Many people are conscious about water use especially if you live in an area where water restrictions are in place.
Over time communities have started using water saving appliances and fixtures to reduce the waste of water.
How do you measure the water you use?
You might try using an easy unit of measure like a gallon sized container for the bathtub. Fill it as many times as you can and count how many gallons.
If you are taking a shower, plug the tub and collect the water to be measured when you are finished.
Learning how much water you use,
can help you to be mindful of reducing your waste water.
Does your family garden?
Do you compost?
Composting is a great way to reduce the load headed for the landfill
and it has added bonuses if you have gardens- whether they are
or container gardens.
Some families I know just compost and don’t use it or they give it away.
There are a variety of ways to compost:
- Three bin set up– 3 collecting areas one for new material, one for the partially decomposed material, and one for the final compost stage. For this method, you have to move the compost around.
- Compost tumbler– a round barrel, usually with a handle, where you insert compostable materials and rotate the barrel. It only takes three months to make good compost with this method.
- Large black bin– or similar containers that are large and compost under cover.
Composting requires organic material to compost along with browns minus animal products and plant material too high in fiber (like woody stems, etc).
The animal products will smell and attract unwanted critters. The woody plant material will take a long time to decompose.
Want to learn more about composting?
- Composting at Home– from the EPA
- Small Scale Composting– from the Cornell Waste Management Institute
- Indoor Worm Composting– we tried this unsuccessfully, but I would love to try again.
At our house we have two compost bins. One is a tumbler and one is a bin for the finished compost.
To send food material to the tumbler daily, I think we could use a third bin for the in between stage.
Reuse & Repurpose Challenge
We’ve talked about reducing water use
and recycling organic material.
Now we’ll talk about reusing materials.
One way to reuse materials is to repurpose them.
Did you know that clothing and textile waste is a significant issue?
How about a few articles on the topic:
- Fast Fashion is Creating an Environmental Crisis– American produce more clothing waste than even the neediest people need.
- Textile Recycling Facts and Figures– The average American throws away 80 pounds of clothing a year. Read on for how to reduce your impact!
- How Fast Fashion Adds to the World’s Clothing Waste Problem– Take some time to view the information in the video below. Did you know that clothing and textiles added up this quickly?
If you’ve been reading or following for a while, you may know our daughter Rebeccca is a fashion designer.
She has been designing, drafting, and constructing garments since she was 8 yrs old.
One of her specialties is designing with an eye for sustainability.
Most of what she creates is made with rescued materials.
It was a statement of philosophy she included in her design portfolio.
So, let’s start thinking about ways to reduce our clothing waste!
Need some ideas?
How to Make Your Wardrobe Sustainable, Ethical, and Cute in Five Steps– Some guidelines for streamlining your wardrobe.
Capsule Wardrobes– One key to having a sustainable wardrobe and decreasing textile waste is to have only key items in your wardrobe that are versatile and you can mix and match.
- Find ways to recycle your clothing- donation is fine, but know that many times the clothing is not sold but recycled.
- Reduce what you buy- particularly true for adults and for growing kids. Buy only what kids need since they are growing.
- Repurpose before you donate or recycle- we wear a lot of denim in our home, but I almost never donate denim. After kids’ clothing has all been handed down, the jeans go into a pile for use in other projects. The same is true for all other denim. It’s a great reuse textile!
- Design a capsule wardrobe- I live in cardigans, tees, and jeans and variations on the same.
- Choose to buy less and better quality- clothing that lasts longer and doesn’t need to be repurchased saves money and waste.
More Earth Friendly Posts
Need more activities related to the earth?
Teaching Geography with Earth Science– How to teach physical geography with earth science.
Gardening as a Tool for Teaching Science– Get in the garden this spring and do some science!
Nature Journal Calendars– A whole year’s worth of nature journaling with a simple printable calendar for each month along with seasonal activity and book suggestions
How to Use Google Earth in Your Homeschool– Have you ever used this digital atlas? You can do a whole lot of earth studies with this tool.
This post wouldn’t be complete without a mention of our solar panels.
I’ll be sharing some solar science in an upcoming post.
What are some ways your family is purposeful about conservation?
Earth Day is April 22.
Consider some ways you can make an impact with your family.
And remember that
Everyday is Earth Day.