Reducing My Carbon Footprint

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This charming fountain at the entrance to the park, is right outside my window.

I have been an environmentalist my entire adult life, I even started recycling when I was in my teens. With my children launched (the youngest moves into his own apartment July 1st) I have more flexibility in my lifestyle choices. Here are things I am doing this month to reduce my carbon footprint.

~ Moved to a studio apartment in a walkable neighborhood. While my automobile is a hybrid and gets excellent gas mileage, it still spews CO2. My new apartment has two grocery stores, a hardware store, the post office, countless restaurants & coffee shops, two Fair Trade stores and a host of other delightful establishments within a few blocks of my apartment. There is a little park, right outside my window. By only driving if I am going a distance of two miles or more, I reduce CO2 emissions, improve my health and save money on fuel.

~ I am eating vegetarian again, and have signed up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) where I know the farmers who locally grow my organic food. If you would like to know more about how important soil quality is to reversing global warming, I strongly recommend the book Kiss the Ground by Josh Tickell.

~ I am in charge of a landscaping project at the local Quaker meeting house to convert the plantings to native species. If you would like to learn more about how important native species are to a healthy ecosystem, I recommend Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy. It is not just enough to reduce our carbon emissions, we must put the carbon back in the ground, which is best done by plants and trees and farming techniques.

~ One half of my summer wardrobe is recycled. Since I am spending so much of my time gardening, I don’t need a lot of fancy clothes. I cut the legs off my old jeans and wear old T-shirts when I’m getting dirty. As I need to replace worn items, I am buying used items and re-fashioning them. If I need something new, I will buy organic cotton or fair trade wool or linen.

~ As much as possible, I am avoiding plastic products. I have a refillable thermos cup, so I don’t need to buy drinks in single use containers when I am away from home. Rather than buy plastic wrap for my food at home, I have bought this product.

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It is made of cotton, beeswax and oil. When its usefulness is through, in about one year, it is compostable.

Because I am composting my food scraps and recycling everything I can, I have little trash and I can put it in a paper bag to take out to the dumpster.

~ I’m taking the train to Chicago for a seminar where I am giving a talk. By not using my car to get there, I reduce my carbon emissions and give myself time to practice my speech.

Please share in the comments what you are doing to reduce global warming. I would love to get some new ideas to implement!

 

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The Rest of the Count: 2018

It’s a bit confusing to do the count in the middle of a move….so bear with me if I make an error or two. I’m pretty sure that as I settle into the new place that some things will go, and others will be added.

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Laundry basket, towel, wallet, sewing box, tote bag, sunglasses (and case) and glasses. 7 items

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Car, and cell phone taking photo. 2 items

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Inside the cabinet are the laptop and the file holder. 2 items under miscellaneous. Also in photo are the cabinet and plant counted under furniture.

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Memory box (1 item misc.) and to-go cup (counted under kitchen.)

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2 chairs, a mirror and a wooden box, counted under furniture. 4 items

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Bed. Also counted, but not show are the lamp (on son’s messy side of room) and the table which is at my other son’s apartment until he gets back in town.

If I haven’t lost you yet, that is 12 miscellaneous items and 9 furniture items.

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Son’s side of room. The apartment is a studio, which will be great for just me, but it’s like living in a hotel room for the whole summer with him here.

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The sweet little kitchen. You can see the fruit bowl, one of 4 kitchen towels, the drain pad, the cutting board and the kettle (which technically is son’s–but I may commandeer it) and in the corner: the trash can. 9 items.

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2 pans, 4 mugs, storage container, measuring cup, 4 plates, ramekin, 3 bowls. 16 items.

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vegetable peeler, measuring spoons, 4 knives, 4 folks, 4 spoons. 14 items.

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2 cooking utensils, masher, scraper, knife and knife sharpener, can opener, scissors, corkscrew. Not shown, but counted: the coffee pot. 10 items.

Total 50 kitchen items.

And in the bath a shower liner and small trash can. For a total of 122 items this count.

Though, I suspect it will change quite a bit by the end of the summer. So I will likely revisit the count then, after I get settled in and get this boy off to school.

Clothing Count 2018

This year I am doing the count in two parts: clothing this week and everything else next week. This is because I am moving to my new apartment in five days and it was less work to do it this way.

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Outfit 1 (with the sparkly sweater this outfit can be for taking son Mike to open mike night at the bars)

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Outfit 2. Here is the white T with rainbow hems and a pair of jeans.

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Outfit 3. Fine for grocery shopping or working on the book at a coffee shop.

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Outfit 4. The bottom is a skort, for modesty and above the knee for those humid, hot summer days.

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Outfit 5. You may recognize the top as the one I wore over the LBD to my son’s graduation last month.

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Outfit 6. The skirt is a little wrinkly. Rather than buy an iron, I will just take it out of the washer and stretch it between the clips on the hanger while wet. That will fix that!

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Here is the gardening get-up which includes: hat, linen shorts made from pants I got bleach on, shirt, rubber shoes and gloves.

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Washable (fake) down jacket, wool scarf I bought while in Ireland last spring and leather gloves I have used for several years. (3 items)

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This is a lined rain coat I bought for my trip to Ireland last year. I am moving to a walkable city and this coat will be more important that the washable one (which was crucial as a hospice nurse, as many of the homes had smokers and other noxious odors which clung.)

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Little Black Dress. I have had this item for several years. It is washable and has pockets. In the last year, I have worn it to 2 funerals and a graduation and a fancy gala-type thing. It is all how it is accessorized.

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The only sweater to survive the winter. I bought this one in Ireland and love the color, but it is really warm, so not good for layering and requires a really cold day. Sweaters I wore out include a black cotton cardigan and a grey cotton cardigan.

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Swimsuit and 2 pair shoes. I will need to buy some boots come winter.

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Comb, razor, nail clippers, hair clip, earrings, necklace. (6 items)

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2 baskets. The one on the left stores out of season items like sweater, swimsuit and the gardening outfit. The one on the right stores the undergarments: 5 pair socks, 3 bras, 5 panties, one pair of black tights.

Also seen in the above photo are the 9 hangers used for the outfits and coats. Not photographed, but counted are 3 pair of yoga pants. I just use my regular tops with the yoga pants in yoga class.

Total apparel and personal care items this year: 49.

[If you are new to my annual count; a functional pair like earrings or socks counts as one thing. An outfit counts as one thing. If you do not like my rules, you are free to make up your own for your own counting game.]

Sewing Projects

I know, I know…you were hoping this was the count post. That is next week. Today, I’m wrapping up the sewing projects for awhile since there is gardening work to do. Each project taught me a lesson.

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Here is the completed stars and suns sweatshirt. Lesson learned: don’t sew with poly blends–natural fibers all the way.

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This is a recycle project. Two cotton shirts that did not fit well, combined for a warm winter shirt. Lesson learned: keep construction simple. The grey shirt was wider than the colored shirt, which required some complex alteration of the inner seams.

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Detail of the shoulder seams. Lesson learned: I like using different colored thread.

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White T-shirt with colored hems.

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Hem detail. Lesson learned: it takes longer than I think it will when I start out.

I’m quite pleased with how the white shirt turned out. I’m not sure the other two projects will make it to the clothing count next week.