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July 2009
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How far are you willing to go?

I’m a news junkie, I just cannot get enough of it. Recently I was reading an article on Vanessa Farquharson’s new book Sleeping Naked is Green. It is Vanessa’s story of her commitment to doing one ‘green’ act every day for a year. The book got rave reviews (and I’m going to go get one at Chapter’s today since Amazon didn’t have any used ones and the shipping on Amazon is a little pricey!) but it also got me thinking about the ‘green’ things I do.

I guess I’m not ‘green’ only ‘greener’

After reading some articles on her book and the things she given up (her car, her fridge, etc) I realized I’m just not all that radical, I’m more of a conservative ‘green’

Things I’m not willing to give up and why

  1. My fridge: I like to cook, I like to bake and I need a fridge to keep all my stuff fresh. With a full time civil servant job I just don’t have time to run to all the little markets everyday. Plus I make coffee every morning and it always needs a little milk. I like having fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks. BUT I do believe in having a smaller, more efficient fridge. Perhaps it’s a compromise but it’s one that is a necessity in my life.
  2. My car: If you live in Toronto and you ever have to get somewhere quickly you’ll understand this one. Recently my father had knee replacement surgery, which means he is home, alone, these days. There is no easy way for me to go visit him without a car. There is no subway line that runs to his house, the bus is totally inefficient — and when I’m going to make him lunch in the middle of the day I need to get there quickly. Could I bike? Not safely. My office is on highway 401 so any parallel routes might as well be designated as highways. But on the days when it is safe to ride I do and when I can I do take public transit.
  3. The dryer: Can’t give this one up either but I also don’t use it that often. My bf calls our laundry room the jungle. It is always full of hangers with clothes draped on them. But we’ve also had a really damp summer here in Toronto and to prevent the clothes from getting musty and smelly I sometimes throw them in the drier for 10minutes just to finish the job, especially with towels and sheets.

Things I believe in doing

  1. Buying local foods: Not only do they taste so much better but they significantly reduce the carbon footprint of food. I live near the food terminal in Toronto and it ships out all the produce for most of eastern Canada and the North Eastern US. As we try to eat healthier it is important to consider the health of the environment.
  2. My gardens: This year instead of many flowers, we have a few flowers in the front (locally grown) and a fairly extensive vegetable garden in the back. Instead of flower gardens in the back we have tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, beans, carrots, beets and shallots. And For the grass we use a manual push mower .
  3. Solar Panels: We are looking at installing power in our little work shed in the back and instead of running it off the grid we are going to install one or two solar panels on the roof
  4. Buy compostable containers. Now that plastic bags are infused with a molecule that makes them break down I only buys those and they go in my green bin. My eco-friendly dishwasher and laundry detergent all come in compostable containers.
  5. Not using an AC unit: I live in an old bungalow that isn’t equipped with central air. Although we do own a small AC unit on wheels it is rarely used (maybe once this year). With the ceiling fans and open windows we’re able to easily manage the temperature in the house.

There really are some major things I believe in doing and I’m trying to minimize my footprint as best possible. As my financial situation improves I’d like to get geothermal heating and cooling (although not sure how much I’ll use that cooling), an on demand hot-water system, more solar panels and anything else I can do to reduce my impact.

Comments

Comment from Vanessa
Time July 30, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Hey, thanks for the shout-out! Hope you like my book — I promise it’s not preachy and I will in no way make you feel bad for not unplugging your fridge. :) Also, as a fellow Torontonian, I can totally sympathize with using the dryer at this time; I keep leaving stuff outside to dry and then it pours with rain, and then it smells bad and I feel like I need to wash and dry it all over again. Ugh. And have you actually been to the Ontario Food Terminal? I kind of want to check it out because I hear it’s so crazy, but I’m not sure I want to get up at 3 a.m. to do so…

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Time July 30, 2009 at 3:03 pm

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