Monday, July 21, 2008

Environmentally-Friendly Living

I've always been a tree-hugger of sorts. I was the earthy-crunchy-Birkenstock-wearing sort back in high school and college. I'm still there (that's where the whole cloth diaper thing came from), but my perspective is a bit different now. Back then, it was all about the environment and being kind to it. Now, it's all about God, His creation and God's mandate to His image-bearers to care for it. (Genesis 2) It's also about being good stewards with what we've been entrusted. That said, I just wanted to share some of what we've been doing in order to be good stewards of creation and our money.
1. Duncan has been biking to work twice a week. He is of a rare breed here in the greater Washington, D.C. area in that he lives and works in the same zip code. It is such a blessing. They have a locker room in his office building where he's able to shower and change once he gets there. I love that he's been doing this!
2. We didn't put on our air conditioner to leave it on (meaning we've had it on occasionally since the weather got really hot) until last Thursday. It was this day that it was 86 degrees in the house during the afternoon and a brisk 84 degrees after the kids went to bed. Duncan never wants to turn it on (stinkin' Northerner) and I've usually had my fill of hot and humid much earlier than this. Come to think of it, I've been pregnant 3 out of the last 5 summers! No wonder I was such a wimp! But I really grew to like having the windows open. I love to hear the birds and lawnmowers and goings on outside. I love how cool it gets overnight. We play outside far more when the air conditioner is off. But I am thankful that we have it (I know some of you don't!) and that we have the option to turn it on when things become unbearable.
3. We combine trips much more often and are quicker to forgo unnecessary ones. I would usually be out and about and all over the place with the kids this summer. But, I've tried to be content with being at home and making our fun there. Sure, we go to the pool and to Grandma's house. But I'm much slower to just go to the mall or to Target unless I have a particular need. Also, I try to park centrally when I'm at a shopping center and walk from store to store, rather than drive, even if the walk is longer than what I'd normally do.

How about you? Are you doing things differently this summer? I firmly believe that things have to change in this country. Public transportation has to get better. And we Americans need to become detached from our cars. How's that for my two cents?

Hope your week has started off well,


Megan said...

For us - the high gas prices have caused us to cut down on our summer traveling. The other thing we've started doing is composting - I love that we're able to put some of our waste to good use. Also, I've quit drinking bottled water.
Did you use cloth diapers with all three? WOW!!! That's an amazing feet...

Unknown said...

we have been doing what we can (the pressure here in chicago is tremendous). bill bikes to school and most other places (his goal is to make it through the summer on one tank of gas for his car) or takes the bus during the school year. we walk where we can, drive as little as possible, try to remember to use our re-usable grocery bags, recycle and reuse as much as possible, etc. but it never feels like enough. it actually has become somewhat of a stress item for me. i'm not sure how to deal with the guilt and pressure when i can't do it perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I don't like having MANDATORY environmental regulations shoved down my throat. For example, I hope we don't get charged to use plastic/paper bags at the grocery store. (Mostly these get reused at home as trash bags or for carrying items to and fro). The possibility of some laws regulating how much gas you can buy or what types of food you can buy (penalizing junk food w/ higher taxes) result in less freedom and less wealth-- we become poorer in a way... if our kids grow up w/out A/C that we take for granted, I see that as a form of poverty. I guess that is the lens that I view the current CULTURAL push toward caring for the earth.

Yet-- in Christ, we DO need to take care of His creation-- though I think Christ is the new Adam who rules over creation: why would he let it be destroyed? How does our family put this to work? We drive less (gas prices too) and are careful to combine errands. We are eating less processed foods... that's about it. I'm sure we could do more-- I look forward to living in our new home and starting a garden. Then we can learn to care for the earth literally and save gas and groceries too.

PS: You guys are definitely blessed (and smart!) to live so close to work!

--chris f

Annie said...

We try to only run our air during the hottest part of the day and when it IS running, it is only at 80 degrees. I can't believe it when I see "tips" on the news on "how to save money" and they tell you to change the setting on your thermostat from 72 to 75 degrees! Then I feel REALLY proud since mine is set to 80! :) Who really sets their air to 72?!?! C'mon!!! No wonder people's electric bills are so high!!
Nick is actually TRYING to bike to work too but has been discouraged by two flat tires within a week of each other. And we also have been combining trips and not driving when we don't have to.
We've been growing veggies in our garden and I bake bread (only when I have time - which isn't too often!) and let's see..... I've contemplated switching to cloth diapers and would LOVE to hear what you have to say about those and what you would recommend! Could you do a blog on cloth diapering?! With specifics and links and brand names you recommend and how much of each I need, etc...?! That would be so helpful, and it might get more than one person to do cloth.
So there....since you're probably rolling in the free time now that Linus is crawling...there's one more thing for you to find time to do! :)

Anonymous said...

I could be deeply attached to my car if I had, say, or hot red porsche. My 4 door? Not so much.

It is a matter of stewardship and being careful. But that would and should be true no matter what the state of the environment or gas prices.

Sweet November said...

We as you know do cloth diapers except on the 3 days Dylan goes to day care and on trips. We also use reusable bags at the grocery store. From reading this post and the comments I guess one area we can improve on is the air conditioning. It's been on and set at 73-75 since May. Anything over 75 and I'm sweating, even when I wasn't pregnant. I can't imagine living in a 80+ degree place but maybe since our condo is less than 1000 sq ft 75 feels a lot hotter. I don't know but regardleess it's something we should be more conscious of - especially on the days we're all at work or day care.