Well. That was a pretty long food coma, huh?
I'm slowly re-emerging from post-holiday lethargy. I know—you thought the Adolfs had gone off the green wagon. You thought we couldn't handle the pressure of forgoing Christmas traditions that involve non-LED lights. You thought we'd cave and let Santa bring crappy plastic toys that will soon litter the landfill. You assumed we couldn't handle the pressure of a non-battery-driven, non-electronic Christmas.
Yes, I failed miserably at the greening of our holidays. I knew I would. I hate to say it, but I know how I am at Christmas time. I am a holiday fanatic. I love the lights, I love aimlessly driving around, looking at decorations. I'm the first to suggest that we pile in the van (not Prius) and drive to the zoo where there are millions of energy-wasting lights. You can drive into the “Deer Forest” and feed the animals out of your car, all while wasting gas as the car idles with the heat on, doors open. I try to be good and order presents online—but then they arrive, with the non-recycled boxes, plastic, and styrofoam peanuts consuming the house. I still send the old-fashioned Christmas cards and will probably never embrace e-cards. We bake too much, indulge too much, and throw away too much. It's a glutton's dream.
So, I suppose, I've been a little ashamed to write about our family's “green-ness” after our holiday lapse. There were, however, a few things we did right:
We recycled. A LOT.
In Christmases past, I must admit to throwing away bags and bags of trash, just to get the clutter out of the way. This year, we made a very concerted effort to recycle anything and everything we could. During our present-opening frenzies, both at home and at my sister's house, we took the time to separate paper, cardboard, and plastic that could be recycled. We took bows that weren't crushed and put them away to reuse. In past years, our trash can overflowed after Christmas. In fact, our neighbors next door, in addition to their two trash cans, had at least a dozen trash bags at the street post-Christmas.
We didn't even fill one-third of a trash bag. We had a very large recycling run.
VERY large. I still have piles of boxes that need to go to recycling. But at least they're not headed for the landfill, as in Christmases past.
We turned down the heat. WAY down.
This fall, when it began getting chilly, I think I shocked Peter by my insistence to keep the thermostat down. OK, in truth, it's really not that far down. However, I'm the one who usually keeps the temperature set at 72 degrees. I'm cold. Always. When I get tired, I freeze. And, since I'm always tired, I'm always cold. Still, I was determined to keep the temp at the more environmentally friendly 68 degrees. I know, I know...it's not that great. Lots of the greenies of the world turn it way down, and there's a cult of green gurus who try not to use heat AT ALL. Have you heard about these environmental gods and goddesses who forsake heat? Good luck to those dedicated souls...but can't people die without heat?
Anyway, as a mom, I'm a little torn. Our daughter has no body fat—seriously, the child is a stick. We do feed her, I promise. So, while trying to maintain my stance on our lowered thermostat, I've encouraged the kids to add layers. Personally, sleeping in my old Bradley University sweatshirt is not winning points with Peter, but hey—it's warm, I love it. Still...there are times, especially in the morning, when I'm trying to get Kristen out of bed...and it's cold. Darn cold. And I wonder why I can't get that child up and moving in the mornings? There are some mornings she puts her coat on over her PJs. It's kind of pitiful.
Someone, who will remain nameless, has been known to sneak the thermostat up a degree on really cold nights. Huh. I thought I married a tough Swiss man.
Garden Delights is going e-commerce—and I'm committed to running a very green business.
Yes, there's never a dull moment at our house. My heirloom plant business is expanding, with the website going live very soon! Now, it's one thing to grow heirloom plants sustainably and sell them locally at the Farmer's Market. It's quite another challenge to run an e-commerce business, shipping plants across the country, while utilizing only green materials for sustainable growing and packaging. Still...I've found some great vendors, terrific green packaging options, and even some ways to offset the environmental impact of the transportation involved in shipping. Stay tuned...I'll be reporting on my attempts to start the business and keep its green mantra, while continuing to get our family back on track to reducing our environmental impact.
So, friends, Happy New Year—a little late! Did you make any interesting resolutions this year regarding the environment? Want to share them here? Maybe we can help each other be more accountable and meet our goals. (Oh...and besides being better to the environment, I also plan to drop 20 lbs. And exercise every day. And not set unattainble goals. HA.)
Here's to 2010!