Our Eco-efforts examined
As we transition to Fall with some smoky reminders of climate change, it's a good time to assess our impact on Earth. There is a growing force of eco-friendly folk who have believe in climate change, but will lay all of the responsibility on corporations' doors. While it's true that as few as 70 companies are responsible for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions, individual eco-efforts can be empowering in the face of overwhelming data. Here is what some of our board members are doing and their goals:
Amye B. Board Secretary - Something that's a goal for me in 2021 is reusing existing clothing instead of buying new. Yes, I'll buy new socks and underthings, and I'm picky about used shoes. But I want to buy only pre-owned clothes otherwise. I'm glad there are companies creating ethically sourced, sustainable, built-to-last products. However, SKTL and the reduce (production) - reuse (what already exists) movement have taught me that maximizing the life cycle of existing goods may be the best line of defense in terms of environmental impact. When I'm done with clothes, I'll take a minute to see if they can serve another use for me before passing them along.
Jeanette J., Founder and Board Member - I cloth diapered and breast-fed my children, purchase secondhand clothing and household goods when possible, and in my family, we encourage receiving secondhand gifts. Much like SKTL, I try to repair before replacing when possible and I grow my own produce and even preserve seasonal produce.
Amanda M., Executive Director - Personally, I am most proud that my kitchen and my family (as they get trained) are now composting every food scrap and compostable packaging possible. It is silly, but I needed a new kitchen trash can and decided on a larger one with two 13 gallon bins. One is now labeled Compost and the other is Trash. We already separate recycling: aluminum cans, plastic containers, and glass containers - from paper and cardboard.
Kathryn D., Board Treasurer - I run my household like Amanda with our waste sorting. I keep conscious about not letting the water run while I brush my teeth. I volunteer my time for a great community resource focused on these very issues! That's actually where I feel I make the most impact, though, my next biggest impact will come from my goal of changing over to a hybrid car in a few years.
Mark S., Board Member - my largest reduction on environmental impact has been using public transportation for the last 15 years: trains overseas and buses here in Washington. A smaller habit is hang-drying laundry for 10 years. It all started with a conversation with a Japanese friend of mine who had a deep blue dress that I guessed was new. She said it was over a decade old, and I learned that it's super-common in Japan to air-dry clothing. Shortly after, I cut out the dryer except for underwear in winter and never looked back. Turns out, the EPA thinks it's pretty cool that I hang dry laundry!
Tip: Crusty towels and hard socks can soften up with the occasional cup of vinegar in your wash.
Lastly, I always look forward to our recycling events because my complex has only the most generic recycling, and putting waste where it needs to go is much more important than the public thinks.
Want to run your own household eco-audit? Check out this link from the EPA about what kinds of changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint.
Keep toxins out of landfills and soil!
Let's end on a shoutout to Home Depot for accepting fluorescent bulbs, rechargeable batteries, and plastic bags!