Getting Earth Friendly

Okay, some sort of Forces That Be obviously did not want this published. I had a post typed up for today, but the app I use to share writing between my computer and phone lost all but a few sentences of it. I have no idea how that happened, but then while I was trying to recreate it here my internet went haywire and sent me back a few pages, and when I forwarded back everything was gone. Thank you, WordPress, for your wonderful backup saving system. I nearly rage-quit trying to post this.

Every year around this time lists will be published outlining how to reduce your dog’s eco footprint. I plan to join in this tradition, but because I believe all change begins with oneself I’m going to change it up a bit. I’ve compiled a list of three things that I’m going to try and do this year to be more eco-friendly, and I’d love if everyone would do the same. Not every eco-friendly thing is feasible for everyone due to a variety of factors such as lifestyle and budget, and for some people certain options are more accessible than they are for others. I think if we can each improve on just three things, it will be a huge improvement overall.

I am going to hop on my soapbox for a minute though. According to my kitchen scale one average sized aluminum can lid weighs 8 grams. According to Google the population of just the USA is 313,914,040, which means that if everyone in the US threw away just one aluminum can lid each, 2511 metric tons (5,535,807 pounds) of tin would enter the landfills in one day. That’s not even including the rest of the world. It takes 200-500 years for aluminum to decompose. Even the small things add up, so please recycle everything you do use (even the plastic bottle caps. Those weigh 3 grams, which means 942 metric tons per day in the US), and try to limit consumption as much as possible. Not only is fresh food healthier than canned, but it’s usually cheaper too and most things can be frozen to preserve them. Dehydrated food is also an excellent option for anyone that travels and doesn’t have the freezer space to store fresh food. A nice bonus is that dehydrated food is much more compact and lighter than canned food, so you can store more of it in less space.

The good side to this is that if everyone reduced their consumption of pre-packaged foods by just one item a day, imagine how much less plastic and aluminum would be used.

Okay, off the soapbox and on to the original point of this post.

1. I’ve been making a conscious effort to eliminate GMO food products from my house, and the next step is to try and work more organic and local food into the budget. I’ll just admit it though: Organic food is expensive! Part of the plan to reduce fuel consumption and pesticide/chemical fertilizer impact in my household food chain is by setting up some potted vegetable plants on the deck. I had hoped to plant a large garden behind the house to grow most of my own produce, but it looks like that won’t work out this year. Two tomato plants are better than none though.

2. Riding my bike more. First I need to figure out what’s wrong with the gears on my bike and replace the ancient and rusted chain on it, but once that’s been sorted out I intend to use my bicycle for the bulk of my transportation. Suki loves riding in my backpack while I bike, so bonus points are that I can keep my dog entertained while being eco-friendly.

3. I’ve begun phasing out chemical cleaners in the house and replacing them with things like vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda concoctions. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice cleans my stove-top better than the specialized ceramic cook-top cleaner that was supplied to us when we moved in. Not only does natural cleaning not require extra elbow grease, but I no longer worry about getting chemicals on Suki’s food if I accidentally drop something on the stove-top. One warning about baking soda/lemon juice cleaner: It stains wooden countertops, so if you have those be very careful.

What are you planning to do this year to reduce yours’ and your pet’s carbon footprints? Let us know in the comments!

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