Being Socially Responsible

by Cate on April 28, 2007

I had planned to write about something else tonight, but scrapped it in favor of a different plan. Timing is everything. A specific thought or message hitting you at just the right time can make all the difference in what you do with that information.

Hearing about Oprah’s Pajama Program a few weeks ago spurred me into action, and I, along with The Neighbors, my mom and my sister, shipped out a bulging box filled with brand new pajamas for little ones that desperately need it. And I went one step further, and signed up as a volunteer with the group.

This week? It’s about going green. Before we put our house on the market, I was pretty good about recycling, but once the For Sale sign went up, I admit it … I slacked off, in an effort to make the house, yard and surrounding areas look as neat and tidy as possible. Having all the cardboard, plastic and aluminum by the back door just didn’t look that attractive, so I stopped for awhile. It was quite selfish of me. I should have just looked into alternative, more attractive, containers, but I’m back on track now.

It’s easy to forget how little things day to day will impact our world, and the world that we leave our children, and I am resolving to be more conscience of my actions. I am fairly careful about not wasting things, and doing what I can to preserve our planet, but I could be doing so much more, in even the smallest of ways. Yup, Oprah did it to me again. A message caught me at the right time, and really took hold.

She recently did a “go green” episode, filled with little things that we could be doing to protect and save our environment. Simple things like cutting down on paper product usage, changing the cleaners and lightbulbs used in your home, using a reusable water bottle instead of a disposable one, using smart strips for your appliances, eschewing plastic produce bags at the grocery store in favor of eco bags, recycling paper, plastic and cardboard, and so much more. I’m not one to jump on a soapbox, but these little tiny changes that we (and I’m sometimes just as guilty) really CAN make a huge difference.

In case this message might be hitting YOU at the right time, here is a list of resource information from that episode, and here are some specific small changes that were discussed.

And for those of you that happened to catch the show, seriously, all I needed to hear was that story of the polar bear swimming in the cold waters for over 50 miles because there were no glaciers for him to climb on due to global warming, and his sad ending. An animal angle will bring me to tears any time.

If you’re already green, or going green with me, what are some of the small, but easy, changes you’ve implemented to make a difference?

Photo from Oprah’s site.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Erika April 28, 2007 at 2:22 pm

Great post Cate. I don’t watch Oprah myself (where do you find the time!) but I’ve been feeling green myself lately. One thing that we’ve done is bought one of those Laptop Lunches for my daughter, so we’re not wasting all those plastic baggies and containers for lunches.

We’ve also switched all our lightbulbs in the house to the energy saving ones, and now that it’s nice out, we’ve switched from drying laundry in the dryer to hanging it up every day.

We’ve even stopped using paper products- instead of using paper towels, we use washable 100% cotton cloths for washing windows, and dish towels for everything else. I only use cloth napkins- which take mere seconds to sew up out of old fabric remnants. Our next step is to pickup some reusable shopping bags and try that out. Every little bit helps and sets a good example for our kids.

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Sara April 28, 2007 at 11:50 pm

The polar bear issue was also mentioned in the Al Gore documentary. It seems to hit people harder than anything else!

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Cate April 29, 2007 at 1:05 am

Erika – never heard of Laptop Lunches; what are they? Lightbulbs is on my list too, as soon as we finish our current supply. The littlest things/changes can make a big difference. I never really game much thought to the plastic bags you use to get produce in the grocery store, but have switched to the eco-bags. Like Oprah mentioned, there are some things that people will be unwilling to give up, but at least we can make changes in other areas.

Sara – just rented the Al Gore movie this afternoon.

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Erika April 30, 2007 at 1:36 am

Laptop Lunches are what Jennifer uses at Vegan Lunchbox. Here is the url to the Laptop Lunch website. They are a little pricey- but definitely worth the price.

http://www.laptoplunches.com/

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Charise May 1, 2007 at 6:33 pm

We recently switched all our lights to fluorescent bulbs, and I have a giant canvas tote I take grocery shopping with me. I also usually use tupperware rather than bags for my lunches.

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