Being Green: staying local, reducing waste and recycling.

March 5, 2013
Signs of spring are sprouting up all around these days. It won't be long before the lilacs, tulips and freesia buds open. Peach blossoms are already opening. Winter greens are delicious, if a bit slower in these colder days, but the nights are warming and soon the leaves will be abundant. On warm days it's great to be out in the garden, getting things ready for the coming spring and summer seasons. Gray and rainy days are perfect to go through closets and cupboards to find those items you no longer have use for or the clothes that are ready to be passed on to the next wearer. Homeless shelters and animal shelters will appreciate the donation of many items. Call them to inquire what they can use or possibly sell to raise money. Alternatively you may want to have your own garage sale or sell items online. Whatever you do, don't put them in the trash. Someone might be able to use the items you no longer want or need.

In Sonoma County:

A Philosophy; choose a starting point and move forward.

Some years ago a woman with whom I was working on a local non-profit project gave me some interesting advice. The project was intended to aid our community and I was responsible for making reminder calls to those who were participating. One woman fluffed off her participation and I found myself frustrated after being unable to persuade her to reconsider. My co-worker said 'We all learn things in our own time. You can only help those who understand and are ready to make a change.' It was good advice.

As in all things, the most important thing is to decide where your passion lies, and start there. Either by studying or simply taking a new approach to something. Below are various areas where we can make simple changes -- that starting point -- to make an impact on our environment and community.

Living Green; our daily efforts

Living Green is a mindset that is as unique to each person as their fingerprints. We all can develop things that are important to us and achievable. The best approach to starting a green lifestyle is to start small, with one or two things that really touch you. Every person can make a difference, and it doesn't matter if it seems small. There are other people who are making their own efforts. If we all understand the problems, and make some simple changes, we can collectively have a positive impact on our space.

See some easy ideas for living green.

Eating Local Foods; what is a locavore?

The definition is somewhat general, and very specific to each individual who cares to be part of this experience. Here's a link to a definition, but to simplify, a locavore is one who chooses local foods instead of those grown outside the community. Two of the ways you can do this is to grow some of your own food, and to shop at local farmers markets.

Read more about eating local.

Backyard Gardens; the most local you can get!

Growing edible foods in your garden space is a wonderful and economical way to have fresh, local food. Of course, summertime is a common time of year to grow edible foods in your garden, but there are things you can grow year round. Click here to learn more...

Eating Wild; you might be surprised...

what's edible in your own garden. Do you try to eradicate those dandelions? Do you have wild greens in your garden? Click here for some ideas of wild foods easily found.

Recycling & Reuse; it isn't just about putting out the paper and plastics.

A friend from San Francisco was telling me about how in SF, people put things they no longer want out on the sidewalks and others pick them up and take them home. That's recycling!

There are also benefits to purchasing previously owned items. It prevents new resources being consumed to make the item completely new from scratch. (Plastic and synthetic manufacture processes contribute adversely to environmental and health concerns. Sweatshops - including child labor - do still exist. Why kill another cow, calf or pig so we can have a new pair of shoes, slacks, handbag or jacket?)

See more simple recycling philosophies.

Reducing Waste; some easy ideas

We advocate the concept of having the things we believe make our lives enjoyable and help us feel we've achieved success. We also know that it is possible to have such a lifestyle without having a large impact (footprint) on our planet. Our decision to address a small part of this and work to make a difference is what led to Imelda's Closet.

we then begin to consider how to have the things we love and still not "consume" quite so much. For some people, cleaning out the closets means filling the trash can or a trip to the local landfill. For others it's a trip to their local or favorite charity. You may not realize how many great and useful items are donated to non-profit organizations on a nearly continual basis. When a thrift store needs to make room for new donations, old, unsold inventory will most likely go to a landfill anyway.

Click here for a few things that can be done to make a difference.

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