Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Going Green for Lent

Okay, so since I was thoroughly frustrated with that environmental action book (see below), I decided to do my penance by creating a Lenten discipline for myself, my students, or anyone who would listen. Here's a plan that will cost you a little money (not too much) but really it is mostly about time. Besides, if you do it, you will actually save quite a bit of money over time. More importantly, it is better than just feeling guilty all the time.

A Revolting Christian's Guide to a Greener Lent:

February
25 – Ash Wednesday. Do an energy fast today, and vow to combine future shopping trips; learn the patience of waiting before going out to buy just one thing.
26 – Thursday. Spend ten minutes picking up trash in your neighborhood.
27 – Friday. Go online and find instructions for that compost pile you keep saying you should have. Make a list of needed items.
28 – Saturday. Buy the items needed for your compost pile. Save gas by combining this trip with other errands.

March
1 – Sunday. Leave your car at home. Walk to church if possible, thanking God that you can.
2 – Monday. Wash your dishes by hand, not by running water constantly but by filling the sink with hot soapy water and a second one (or a plastic tub) with rinse water
3 – Tuesday. Read the contents of your cleaning solutions and throw one away.
4 – Wednesday. Mix vinegar and soap and water to make your own cleaning solution.
5 – Thursday. Take a walk & give thanks to God for any nature you see.
6 – Friday. Locate any drafts in your home and put weather stripping on your list of things to buy for your next errand run.
7 – Saturday. With Daylight Savings Time coming tonight, change your smoke detector batteries. Start a battery collection to take to the city and dispose of properly.

8 - Sunday. Leave your car at home. Walk to church if possible, thanking God that you can.
9 – Monday. Check to see if your light bulbs are all energy efficient. Consider replacing light fixtures that are not good candidates for those bulbs. If necessary, add light bulbs to your shopping list.
10 – Tuesday. Vow to turn off your computer each night and to hit the off switch on your outlet box so that you are not wasting passive energy on all those lights (printer, monitor, etc.)
11 – Wednesday. Walk to a park on your lunch hour.
12 – Thursday. Give away something you don’t need any more.
13 – Friday. check your thermostat and make sure it is not running full speed at times you know you are not home. Lower the heat temperature by one degree if you are not down to 68 or less.
14 – Saturday. Buy or order on line fair trade coffee, tea, or chocolate if you use any of these things.

15 - Sunday. Leave your car at home. Walk to church if possible, thanking God that you can.
16 – Monday. Make an inventory of all the items in your house that waste passive energy such as cell phone chargers. Learn to unplug or buy outlet strips with an off switch
17 – Tuesday. Turn off the computer and the tv and read a book.
18 – Wednesday. Remember your basement, attic and outdoor lights? Make sure they have been replaced with energy efficient bulbs too.
19 – Thursday. Write the Mail Preference Service to reduce your junk mail. www.dmachoice.org.
20 – Friday. Add clothespins to your grocery list. Hang a rope in the kitchen window for drying reused plastic bags
21 – Saturday. Visit 10,000 Villages web site or store (if you have other errands) and buy gifts in advance for birthdays, weddings, etc.

22 - Sunday. Leave your car at home. Walk to church if possible, thanking God that you can.
23 – Monday. Bring an energy efficient bulb to your office and replace one of the incandescent ones there.
24 – Tuesday. Purchase enough cloth bags to cover all your groceries and other shopping items. Store them in the car so that you always have them with you.
25 – Wednesday. Visit the library instead of the bookstore.
26 – Thursday. Start a pile of unwanted catalogs that come in the mail, and write to each to ask that you be removed from the mailing list.
27 – Eat a meatless meal and vow to do so at least once more a week than you do now.
28 – Saturday. Hang a rope in your basement (and/or outside) for drying your clothes.
29 - Sunday. Leave your car at home. Walk to church if possible, thanking God that you can.
30 – Monday. Clear your bookshelves and give away any books that, a) you will never read again, or b) will be more helpful to someone else.
31 – Tuesday. Pay bills on line. If you set it up through your bank, you do not have to go to each company’s web site. You can also elect to get the bills electronically and save even more paper.

April
1 – Wednesday. Save your garbage and recycling. Stopping to pick up your half empty bin costs the trash industry (and, therefore, you) time and energy. Put the bin on the curb only when it is full.
2 – Thursday. Buy a low flow shower head and install it.
3 – Friday. Ride your bike or walk to work or school.
4 – Saturday. Stop pretending you will wear all those clothes you have. Donate the ones you have not worn in a year to a local charity.

5 – Palm Sunday. Leave your car at home. Walk to church if possible, thanking God that you can.
6 – Monday. Look around the house and identify things that clutter your life that you are only holding on to because of memories. Take a few pictures and decide to give them new homes.
7 – Tuesday. Get your car serviced before traveling home for the holidays. Inflate the tires properly.
8 – Wednesday. Before you lay in extra food for the Easter feast, clean out the refrigerator and reflect on how much food you have wasted by letting it go bad. It’s Holy Week. A little guilt is appropriate!
9 – Maundy Thursday. Go to church! Wash your car at home and save money and water.
10 – Good Friday. Go to church! On this second fast day of Lent, think about what you are willing to sacrifice on a permanent basis, not just for Lent.
11 – Saturday. Start a garden, if you haven’t already. If it is your first time, or you live in an apartment, make it an herb garden, in pots if necessary.
12 – Easter Sunday. Give thanks for the resurrection and give some food so that others can too..
13 – Now that you have looked at the small things, joyfully start considering the big projects such as insulation, solar energy, etc.

2 comments:

Banan said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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Kevin M said...

Thank you!