Friday, January 2, 2009


I can't decide if I regret discovering my friend Robin's blog or not. :) No, I don't regret it. Really. But it has stirred up a lot of unwelcome guilt.

My latest such trip is from a book I got for Christmas: Affluenza. I asked for it at Robin's recommendation. It talks about how consumerism is killing our society. Sending us into bankruptcy. Deteriorating our families. Destroying our health. Dividing our communities. Frankly, it's darn depressing.

I'm only half-way through the book. But the first half is all the bad news. Thus, my depression. I assume when I get to the section on the cures for this epidemic, I'll come away a bit more hopeful. If not, I'll bawl Robin out for getting me down like this.

As I wait for the good news, however, I'm going to give myself a temporary boost by reminding myself of the small steps I've taken lately to become more "sustainable" (what a weird term). I'm not listing these for you all in an effort to be boastful, because Lord knows, I have little to boast of in this regard. But I want to encourage you all to join me in taking a few small steps toward a simpler, healthier lifestyle -- healthier for you and for the rest of our world.

1) I bought three reusable "green" bags (which are, interestingly enough, not green but a lovely shade of teal blue) to carry my weekly groceries. I love these bags. They hold a lot of food and are easier to carry than either the paper or plastic alternatives.

2) I'm now buying organic, hormone-free milk exclusively. This is mainly for health reasons, but apparently is good for the environment, too. Unfortunately, it's not good for my pocketbook. But I don't suppose I can argue anymore that I can't afford it . .

3) I'm being much more conscientious about my recycling. Some of this is because Sioux City's recycling program accepts more that Voorhees'. But I'm also using some of Robin's tips, like using the plastic liners inside of cereal boxes for the things I used the plastic grocery bags for.

4) I'm trying to buy less processed food and cook more from "scratch". That's a tough one. My kids are quite fond of the processed junk. OK, OK . . I am, too.

5) I'm trying to remember to unplug things that I'm not using that may be draining energy--like the cell phone charger.

6) And then there's the energy-efficient stuff already in place in our new house -- the washer, dryer, dishwasher . . and the solar-energy we use from the southern windows. I probably can't take credit really for those, but I will anyway.

Well, it's a start, right? I invite you all to check out Robin's blog for more information and ideas: And you might check out Affluenza, too. But I'd suggest starting 2/3 of the way through. Less depressing, I hope.

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