Going Green

I thought it would be quite fitting to post about going green on St. Patrick's Day!  I've always been fairly aware of the impact that my actions have on the Earth, but over the last year or so I've really tried to make some changes so that I can do my part to save the Earth - it's a big job, but someone's got to do it!

My desire to take care of the earth and our environment started young.  When I was in elementary school I had a science and social studies teacher who had all of us just knowing that we were the ones who were going to save the rainforests.  Then, there were simple things like recycling, turning out lights when you weren't in the room, and not letting the water run while you brush your teeth.

All of those things are wonderful, little, easy things you can do to take care of the earth, but then social media (especially Instagram for me) really brought to light how much of an impact humans have on the environment.  When you see those photos of islands made entirely of garbage and the poor animals...I don't even like to think about it! Well, I decided I needed to do more.  These are some of the things I am doing to save the world (and making Bryn do most along with me as well!)!

Eco-bags.  I started bringing my own bags to the shops in Japan.  You had to bag your own groceries there, and they usually only gave you one bag to pack them in.  One day I noticed people putting little cards on their shopping basket at the checkout.  I finally figured out those cards meant you didn't need a bag because you had your own.  Also, you saved 15 yen!  From then on I always made sure to bring a bag with me to the shops.  The UAE was similar and many shops followed the European model of actually charging you for plastic bags if you didn't have your own (as infuriating as this is to most Americans the first time, I think it is GENIUS and firmly believe all stores should do this).  Now, Bryn and I both have several eco-bags that live in our cars so we never have to take plastic bags at the supermarket, or other stores.  (We try to remember to ask for paper bags if we forget our reusable ones.)

I've also invested in my own reusable fruit and vegetable bags so I don't have to take the plastic ones offered by the stores.  They weigh next to nothing, so it doesn't affect the price, and if they get dirty I just throw them in the washing machine.  Easy.

Re-usable coffee cups.  I realize that buying coffee at coffee shops when I have a perfectly good coffee maker at home is a complete waste of money, but I like it.  I've always loved the idea of a coffee shop as many of my past blog posts make clear!  Anyways, since I love to get myself a Starbucks from time to time, I knew I needed to limit the single use plastics that go along with that.  Now, I always take a cup with me.  My rule is, if I don't have my cup with me I cannot stop for a Starbucks, no matter how much I am craving it.  My Stojo cup is my new favorite reusable cup.  I love it so much that I got my mom, dad, and Bryn one for our upcoming trip this summer.  The great thing about this cup is that it's made from silicone, so it can collapse down to fit easily into a bag (or pocket if you have big pockets).  You can take the whole thing apart and throw it in the dishwasher too, so cleaning it is easy.  The baristas have all complimented me on my cup and love it - it makes me feel very cool, haha.

Composting.  Ever since Bryn got his vegetable garden he has started saving food waste...you would not believe the amount of food waste you produce each day if you cook at home - and that's with only two of us!  For months he just dug it into an empty garden bed (he also ordered some worms to help break it down).  He planted collard greens in that bed, and some in another bed that hadn't had the compost - the difference in the greens is night and day!  For his birthday, I got him a composting bin.  Now we put all of our food scraps, coffee grinds, and other compostable items into the compost bin. He's only had it for a month, but I will be sure to update of how that's going once our first batch is ready.

Those are just a few of the easy life-style changes we have made to help reduce our impact on the environment, or at least make a more positive impact.  There is only one earth and it is our job to take care of it.

It makes me feel good to know that I am trying to do my part. 

Both of the photos in today's post were taken on our trip to Savannah last week.  Not only do they have a huge St. Patrick's Day celebration (hence the water in all of the fountains being dyed green!), but I also found many things about the city to be eco-friendly.  There were lots of recycling bins near trash cans, paper straws in many cafes, and I noticed that one of the restaurants where we ate breakfast did to-go orders in compostable containers and bags.

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