Day 275: How green are you?

5 10 2010

An article in yesterday’s Courier-Journal featured a Louisville couple whose green lifestyle shows how simple it can be to help the environment: Justin Mog and Amanda Fuller don’t own a car. (Fuller is the Interim Director of Bicycling for Louisville, the region’s bicycle advocacy organization.) They bike everywhere or use public transportation. The solar panels on their house provide enough electricity that they sell some back to LG&E. They don’t own a TV and they tend four vegetable gardens. They make it sound very easy. And it should be easy, but as with other things in life, I always have room for improvement.

I know several people who don’t drive and either take the bus or ride their bikes everywhere. As much as I love riding my bike, I’ve not started commuting to work yet. Carrick does on a pretty regular basis. My only excuse is the early morning hour when I’d have to leave the house and the details of transporting my work clothes. So I’m embarassed to admit that laziness is my only excuse. I could easily drive to work on Mondays, take clothes for the other four days and ride my bike those days. I just need to get off my butt and do it. It’s hard to break habits though.

Based on the green tips listed below from the Courier-Journal article, we already do quite a few things to be green:

— We signed up for the $20 annual rebate to allow the utilities to briefly turn off the compressor in our A/C unit to save on electricity.

— We pay $5 per month on our electric bill to support small-scale hydropower or other renewable energy sources.

— We buy local foods whenever possible and have a small veggie garden in our backyard.

— Eat less meat.
(Carrick is vegetarian. I don’t eat any red meat.)

— Ride a bike or walk, share rides on your commute, or take the bus.
(We could both be better at commuting to work.)

— Combine errands and don’t mow on air quality alert days.
(We could improve on combining our errands.)

— We recycle.

— Save energy at home by weatherizing, using Energy Star appliances, installing energy-sipping lightbulbs, using a programmable thermostat and setting it to save energy, washing clothes in cold water, drying clothes on rack our line, using low-flow showerheads, taking shorter showers.
(Except for rack-drying our clothes, we already do all the above).

— Take advantage of the air district’s Lawn Care for Cleaner Air program to get a rebate for an electric mower. Contact: (502) 574-6000.
(We have a push mower as opposed to gas or electric.)

— Install rain gardens and rain barrels to reduce stormwater flow into sewer lines.
(We installed two rain barrels last year.)

— Put dog droppings in the toilet or trash.
(We put them in the trash, but the droppings are in biodegradable plastic bags.)

— Don’t wash clothes during rain storms to avoid sewage overflows.
(This never occurred to us before.)
 
— Don’t dump grease down the drain.
(We don’t. We also don’t cook much.)

— Avoid too much fertilizer on lawns.
(We don’t fertilize at all.)
 
— Use commercial car wash or wash cars where water runs onto the lawn, rather than into the sewer or storm drain.
(I don’t remember the last time we washed one of our cars. We let nature do it. 🙂

We still have room for improvement, but we’re making progress.

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Whole wheat english muffin = 2 points
— 1 tbsp peanut butter = 2 points
— 1 banana = 1.5 points

Lunch:
— Pork tenderloin (small piece) = 2 points
— 1/2 cup wild rice = 1.5 points
— Diet Coke = 0 points

Dinner:
— Soft pretzel = 10 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Snack:
— Skinny Cow ice cream bar = 2 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.

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