http://www.one.org Dixie Peach: I Do It Because She's Fierce

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Monday, February 05, 2007

I Do It Because She's Fierce

Dictator Princess, that is. She's fierce in that cool girl way and since I always want to sit at the cool girls table, when she tags, I comply. It's a green meme - let's see how much I'm terrorizing the environment.

1. What do you for the birds and the bees? Pesticides, pollution and habitat destruction are taking a toll on the birds and insects that pollinate about 80 percent of the world's food supply (or about one out of every three bites of food we eat) - to lend a helping hand, plant a pollinator garden.
I don't have a yard but I have a balcony on which I plant flowers. The bees seem to dig it. No pesticides either. If the bugs eat my geraniums, then all I have to say is guten appetit!

2. Household products. Chemical or organic? Household chemicals contribute to both indoor and outdoor pollution. This year, use more natural cleaners like the Greening the Cleaning line or make your own using vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. More tips at eartheasy.com.
I'm a failure here. I'm way into grease cutting, lime scale cleansing, soap scum removing chemical cleansers that smell like limes and mountain flowers. Of course if I don't stop then the only way I'm going to smell limes and mountain flowers will be to open a bottle of chemicals because the real things won't exsist.

3. What do you do about junk mail? Junk mail kills trees so get off the mailing lists of companies you don't support. You can contact the firms yourself, or check out subscription services like greendimes.com or 41pounds.org that promise to lighten your junk-mail load. For more information: thegreenguide.com.
By law all of our old paper - newspapers, junk mail, real mail (shredded, of course), catalogs, etc. all goes into the old paper collection - there are collection points on virtually every block in the city proper. Germany's big into separating trash - there's biodegradable trash, glass, packaging (plastic, cans, foam, etc.), old paper and trash that doesn't fit in any of the above catagories. And most bottles and drink cans have up to a 25 cent deposit on them so they are taken back to the shops for a deposit refund.

4. Laundry: air-dry or tumble-dry? Make like Grandma and line-dry your clothes once in a while. It not only saves money, but also decreases your yearly carbon- dioxide emissions. Likewise, run your washer on cold whenever possible—and use it only when it's full.
I don't even own a clothes dryer. All of our laundry is dried on a drying rack that's in my spare bedroom. I generally wash clothes at 30°C and the washer is always full. I always have more dirty clothes than I have space on the drying rack.

5. Old gadgets: recycle or toss ‘em? We have to prevent electronics from clogging landfills. Everything from batteries, cell phones to computers can be recycled.
It's against the law in Germany to throw in the regular garbage any appliance, regardless of how small it is. There are collection points in the city where they can be disposed of for free. Things like paint are collected in every neighborhood on a monthly basis and the city mails a schedule of this collection to every household. Old batteries are collected in green boxes in many stores that sell batteries.

6. Lightbulbs - incandescent or fluorescent? Compact fluorescent bulbs use 70% less power and last ten times as long as incandescent. Also, turn off unused appliances and check out green power options in your area.
Some of my ceiling lights are high intensity power suckers but I very seldom use them. Most of the time we use only one lamp in the livingroom and I use the under-the-counter fluorescent lights in the kitchen. Our bathroom has a fluorescent light as well. I turn off all appliances after using them - no leaving computers or the TV on stand-by and I unplug the cell phone charger when it's not in use. Buying a new, energy efficient refrigerator, range, dishwasher and clothes washer last year has also saved us a lot on our electric bill.

7. Meat or veg? Meat production is energy inefficient. It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat. If everyone took a break a couple of times a week it could have a huge environmental effect. When you're shopping for that food, think local and, of course, bring a reusable cloth bag to the market so you don't have to take the plastic ones.
I'll admit we're meat eaters - probably five days out of the week. I do, however, try to buy from butchers that get their meat from local farmers - less animal transport. Same with produce - I buy from the produce sellers at the market that buy from local farmers.

I never use paper or plastic bags for groceries - at virtually every grocery store you must pay for any bags you use. If I'm using the car the groceries go in an folding plastic box. If I'm on foot I use a woven grass market basket or cloth bags. I never go anywhere without a cloth bag in my purse.

8. Loo paper. Virgin or recycled? The paper industry is the third largest contributor to global warming. If every U.S. household replaced one toilet-paper roll with a roll made from recycled paper, 424,000 trees would be saved. If every household in the United States bought recycled napkins instead of virgin-fiber napkins, we'd save a million trees. Alternatively, plant a tree. The net cooling effect of one healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
I'm afraid we're guilty of using virgin loo paper. I've used recycled in the past but I don't even think they sell any recycled loo paper at the store where I normally shop...I should look. For meals I only use cloth napkins. What I'm really guilty of is reaching for a paper towel instead of a cloth to clean up spills but wiping up a spill with a dishcloth skeeves me out.

9. Tap or bottled water? According to Newsweek, it takes a lot of oil to make and ship water bottles, and most end up in landfills. If you're squeamish (Americans really do have some of the best tap water in the world), buy a water filter. For comparisons, go to waterfiltercomparisons.net.
Always tap water. We're lucky to have very good tasting water - I have never found a bottled water that tastes better than my tap water - and our water is some of the cleanest in Europe. I do buy carbonated water for those guests who just have to have their fizzy water (read: think giving them tap water is akin to asking them to lap out of the toilet bowl like an Irish Setter) but a six-pack of water can last me two or three months. However when we do use bottled water the bottles are not thrown away - those are some of the bottles that have a deposit on them and they go back to the store for a refund.

10. Dating - metrosexual or ecosexual? Newsweek says two recyclers are better than one.
I suppose the one advantage of being a quadriplegic is you can't be accused of being the one that threw the empty Nutella jar in the garbage.

I won't tag anyone but it would be interesting to see what you folks around the world are doing. As the fierce, fierce Dictator Princess would say, gank it if you wish.

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3Comments:

Anonymous Belinda said...

I must admit I was really bad at caring for the Enviornment prior to my move to Germany. Being here and being forced to recycle is actually one of the best things about this country.

How've you been Ms Kim? <3 hope everything is getting better for ya this year. Lots of hugs for ya!

9:56 AM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Life's pretty good here, Belinda. I've missed you though! We need some sock talk!

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Kendra said...

Hi, thanks for letting people know about GreenDimes! GreenDimes is happy to help folks reduce their junk mail by getting them off direct mail lists and unsolicited offers, and opting them out of the catalogs they no longer want (while keeping the catalogs they do want!). AND GreenDimes plants a tree for every member every month.

Through the end of March you have the chance to do even more good by signing up - GreenDimes is giving new members 25 BONUS TREES! Already a member?
Then refer a friend using your GreenDimes Friends tab and we'll give both of you 25 bonus trees. Learn more at www.greendimes.com.

Thanks again for the post,
Kendra at GreenDimes

12:08 AM  

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