Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day, I thought I'd share an update of the post I did here where I shared some of the ways I try to live lightly and sustainably on the earth.


  • heat with wood using dead wood from the farm and wood given to us from tree trimming
  • turn down the heat at night to save wood
  • use flannel sheets in the winter; smooth cotton in the summer
  • turn off lights when not in a room
  • turn on lights only when necessary
  • set thermostat to 81 degrees in summer
  • use ceiling fans in summer
  • transitioned to compact fluorescent lights for the lights we use regularly
  • unplug energy vampires
  • plan errands to save on gas
  • don't use unnecessary appliances (e.g. electric can opener)


  • plan/group errands to save on gas
  • use own shopping bags
  • shop for groceries at Aldi when I can't buy in bulk because shoppers are expected to use their own bags (or pay for them if you don't) and because I like the corporate ethic
  • don't buy frivolous items or engage in recreational shopping
  • buy used items when possible
  • buy paper products made from recycled paper

  • our current cat doesn't use a litter box and goes outside to do his business
  • don't use flea preparations unless absolutely necessary
  • only get necessary vaccinations for pets
  • make dog food from venison and vegetables from farm, supplemented with brown rice and oatmeal
  • plan to make dog shampoo using soapnuts, essential oils, and neem oil to deter fleas


  • have been using 7th Generation powdered detergent that comes in cardboard boxes (need to return to using soap nuts and essential oils)
  • use an environmentally-friendly stain remover
  • hang most of our laundry to dry by hanging clothes on new outdoor clothesline, hangers in laundry room, and laundry rack set up in bathtub
  • wash/dry full loads
  • wear jeans and sweaters more than once
  • compost dryer lint
  • recycle any containers
  • still plan to make own laundry soap for heavily soiled clothes
  • make my own cleaners
  • use rags for cleaning (made from worn out t-shirts, sheets, and towels)
  • use toilet paper made from recycled paper

Personal Care

  • use bar soap, shampoo, and conditioner (the soap and shampoo are packaged in paper; I need to find a source that packages conditioner bars in paper)
  • tried locally made bar soap on my hair with no negative results so I might eliminate the bar shampoo
  • might try the "no poo" shampoo method that uses baking soda and apple cider vinegar, although if plain soap becomes a good substitute for the bar shampoo, I might just try the vinegar rinse to replace the conditioner bar
  • use carrier oils to moisturize my face and body (I'm using the last of my almond oil and will find a more environmentally friendly oil to replace it)
  • make makeup remover
  • make deodorant
  • make toothpaste
  • plan to try olive oil based soap a recommended by Ariana Schwartz in Paris to Go
  • make own liquid hand soap
  • buy natural mascara
  • use other cosmetics sparingly and buy organic when possible
  • let hair air dry
  • use paper-based cotton swabs
  • have embraced my graying hair
  • still plan to switch to bar soap for hands in the master bathroom
  • Bill uses a safety razor, shaving soap, mug, and brush
  • bought a vintage Lady Gillette and use it with regular double-edged razor blades
  • shave with bar soap

  • grow much of our own food using chemical-free methods, of course
  • Bill hunts, fishes, and raises his own animals for meat
  • compost
  • cook from scratch
  • need to return to making rice milk once my replacement part for my blender arrives
  • bake bread and do it in bulk to conserve energy
  • make croutons from homemade bread
  • grow micro-greens and sprouts inside
  • make salad dressing
  • make vanilla extract
  • need to return to making vegetable stock
  • brew iced tea from organic, fair trade, loose tea leaves using green and black teas, plus rooibos
  • plan to make my own hot tea blends (I bought bulk herbs to do this and did a swap of excess with a friend)
  • need to return to buying milk in glass bottles from Virginia dairy
  • buy in bulk using own containers
  • buy online when it makes sense to save the gas and wear on vehicle, and instead to let the regular UPS truck deliver the goods
  • use cloth napkins
  • avoid use of paper/plastic cups, plates, utensils when we entertain a crowd
  • make my own cleaners
  • use rags
  • use paper towels made from recycled paper when necessary
  • store leftovers in reusable, lidded containers
  • wash and reuse ziplock bags when possible
  • wash and reuse aluminum foil
  • use dried beans most of the time, purchased in bulk when possible
  • use kitchen cloths rather than synthetic sponges
  • use copper scrubbers that can be recycled when worn out (this I learned from reading Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home)
  • use produce netting (such as from onions) as scrubbers when the copper is too harsh
  • use dishwasher to wash full loads of dishes


  • buy printer paper made from recycled paper
  • use printer only when necessary
  • recycle ink cartridges
  • print in greyscale/draft mode whenever possible
  • use scrap paper
  • print 2-sided when possible
  • turn off printer when not in use
  • turn off laptop at night
  • receive paperless statements for credit cards
  • pay bills online when possible
  • use refillable mechanical pencil
  • I've tried using electronic sources for my various lists and calendar but it doesn't work for me; I need to see it on paper


  • recycle whenever possible
  • reduce packaging (especially plastic) whenever possible
  • compost whenever possible
  • use various used plastic bags to line trashcans
  • drive only when necessary and plan trips to take care of several errands at one time
  • limit spending to necessities plus an occasional treat
  • buy energy efficient appliances and electronics when old ones need replacing
  • buy used electronics when possible (just replaced my e-reader with one I bought on Ebay)
  • keep vehicles as long as possible by doing routine maintenance
  • use library resources, including ebooks and online magazines
  • have some living plants in the house to clean the air

Any tips or suggestions?


Dani said...

Bravo. You are an inspiration.

David said...

Cherie, wow, I think you pretty well covered every thing. I have discovered a resource in my city that helps with my building projects. Free pallets are every where. I just finished up building a wooden storage box for a neighbor to store his firepit wood in. It took about three good days to bust apart pallets and re engineer them into a good rustic looking firewood storage box. The nails from the pallets were re used so the entire box was free. The only cost will be the hinges and latch for the box. It was a fun project to do. I built my Terra Nova Garden fence panels from pallets as well. There are thousands of projects on the Internet for recycled pallets. So that's my contribution to earth day all through out the year.

Have a great Earth Day.

Laura said...

That is quite a list. Very impressive. It gives me something to aspire to.

Cherie said...

David, I wish we had carpentry skills. I see so many amazing projects (many of which are made from free pallets) that we could be doing. Being a lefty, power tools are a little dangerous for me. The world is made for righties - which is why lefties are so "accident" prone. Love your firewood box project!