Earth Day 2018: Every Little Bit Counts

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Today is not Earth Day, but it is the last day of Earth Month. I specifically chose not to post this updated list of our green habits on Earth Day because I am a firm believer that “every day is Earth Day”. I believe that the small changes and choices we make every day add up, that we are only really “green” when we commit long term. How can you call yourself an eco-conscious person if you wait for that one day a year to do something good for our planet? And really, big changes all at once are overwhelming, so I like to set some little goals and make some little changes because every little bit counts.

Earth Day 2018 title image - mamanonthetrail.com

Take a moment to take stock of all of the little things you do every day that are eco-friendly. Go room by room through your house, think about your daily routine hour by hour, and use my list here as a guide.

I’d love to know what little changes you’ve made that will have a BIG positive impact on making our planet a greener, healthier place to live! And remember, it’s not just about using eco-friendly products and making eco-friendly changes in your home – it’s also about fostering a love of green spaces in the next generation, and teaching and practising environmental stewardship! Every little bit counts!

As of Earth Day 2018, these are all of the eco-friendly habits we’ve adopted, changes we’ve made, and actions we’ve taken to go green AND foster a love of green spaces…

Earth Day 2016 - mamanonthetrail.com

In the Kitchen we…

  1. buy food in bulk (or larger quantities)
  2. shop for bulk food using reusable bulk food bags (from Omaïki*)
  3. store bulk food in (used) glass jars
  4. meal plan and buy only what we need for the week to avoid waste
  5. cook from scratch and buy as little pre-made food as possible
  6. shop with reusable grocery bags
  7. avoid using plastic produce bags when we can (we have some reusable ones from gogoBags  on the way!)
  8. cook large meals and save leftovers to avoid cooking on another night
  9. store leftovers in plastic containers
  10. avoid using tinfoil and plastic wrap as much as we can (we just acquired some beeswax wrap from BOHO&HOBO and are excited to put that to use)
  11. pack lunches and snacks in reusable containers and reusable snack bags (from Kids Konserve*, Litsie Creations, gogoBags & Omaïki*)
  12. use reusable lunch bags
  13. use vegetable scraps to make broth
  14. keep the freezer full to save energy
  15. open the oven to heat the room after use
  16. avoid using the stove & oven in the summertime as much as we can
  17. avoid disposable cookware
  18. drink tap water
  19. use the same water glass multiple times
  20. use a dishcloth and a dish towel
  21. fill the sink one time and wash dishes from cleanest to dirtiest
  22. use an eco-friendly dish soap
  23. try to avoid rinsing dishes after washing
  24. use cloth napkins
  25. use cloth paper towels (from Marley’s Monsters) almost exclusively
  26. save grey water for houseplants

Earth Day 2016 - mamanonthetrail.com

In Huckleberry’s Nursery we…

  1. use cloth diapers
  2. use reusable fleece liners in the diapers at home (we’ve been doing this all along, but I hadn’t added it to this list yet)
  3. use cloth wipes made from old shirts and pyjama pants (plus some from Marley’s Monsters)
  4. make our own mostly all-natural wipe solution
  5. send cloth diapers and wipes to daycare
  6. send flushable bio-liners to daycare (from Bummis* but Omaïki* makes some great ones too)
  7. use Les produits de MaYa as an all-natural cleanser and moisturizer
  8. fill the drawers with handmedowns and handmebacks
  9. try to make informed and sustainable clothing purchases when we do need to buy some clothing for Huckleberry
  10. chose a mattress and mattress protector made of organic cotton
  11. repurposed shower cards as decorations and now we repurpose his artwork from daycare as decorations
  12. use a manual breast pump (I don’t pump any longer, but felt like leaving this here as I’ll be pumping again before the year is out)

 Earth Day 2016 - mamanonthetrail.com

In the Bathroom we I…

  1. use Les produits de MaYa to clean and moisturize my face and body
  2. use cloth make-up remover pads made from old t-shirts and pyjamas (if ever I wear make-up)
  3. wash with locally-made all-natural soap (from Shiva’s Delight)
  4. choose all-natural products from company’s like Green Beaver* when I need something more for my skincare routine (like lip balm, or a change in moisturizer, etc.)
  5. choose glasses over disposable contact lenses often
  6. use family cloth a.k.a. reusable toilet paper (from Bummis* and Omaïki*)
  7. use mama cloth a.k.a. cloth menstrual pads (from Öko Creations and Omaïki*)
  8. use a menstrual cup (from DivaCup*)
  9. shave my legs once every never (in the colder months, anyway)
  10. co-shower with Huckleberry when it works with our schedule
  11. only shower 1-2 times per week
  12. only wash my hair once a week
  13. use homemade natural dry shampoo (Maman Loup has the recipe)
  14. use 95% biodegradable shampoo & conditioner (from Down Under Naturals* or Live Clean*)
  15. installed a low flow shower head
  16. use the same towel multiple times
  17. turn off the water while brushing teeth
  18. use a bamboo toothbrush and all-natural toothpaste (toothbrushes are from Go Green Baby and BOHO&HOBO, and we love Green Beaver toothpaste*)
  19. use handkerchiefs instead of facial tissues (Kleenex) as much as we can (from Omaïki*)
  20. use old dishcloths and dish towels to clean
  21. clean the mirror with vinegar and water
  22. clean the sink and tub with an all-natural cleaning product (from Pink Solution)
  23. wash the dog with natural homemade dog shampoo

…and I guess Bookworm the Trail Dad does a bit of that too.

Earth Day 2016 - mamanonthetrail.com

In the Laundry Room we…

  1. wear pants, sweaters and some tops multiple times before washing
  2. spot wash when possible
  3. wash most laundry with cold water
  4. hang most laundry to dry inside year round and outside when the weather permits
  5. use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets (from Moss Creek Wool Works)
  6. alternate between eco-friendly laundry soap and regular laundry soap as our budget permits
  7. do the laundry later in the evening to avoid consuming too much electricity during on-peak times
  8. turn unwearable items into new items (like wipes, handkerchiefs, cleaning cloths, and more)

Earth Day 2016 - mamanonthetrail.com

In Our Lives we…

  1. keep houseplants
  2. avoid buying products in aerosol cans
  3. reuse packaging when possible
  4. recycle whatever we cannot reuse
  5. wash our recycling containers with our dishes
  6. recycle electronics, batteries, ink cartridges, light bulbs, etc., appropriately
  7. try to throw away as little as possible
  8. try to repair items before getting rid of them
  9. use reusable water bottles
  10. buy secondhand
  11. donate to local secondhand stores
  12. host clothing swaps for adult & children’s clothing
  13. host book swaps
  14. participate in our local Buy Nothing Project
  15. replace products that run out with a more eco-friendly alternative
  16. walk or carpool when possible
  17. have just one car for our family
  18. run multiple errands at a time
  19. park in one place and walk to run a few errands
  20. eat in restaurants that source locally
  21. keep the heat/AC low
  22. turn heat/AC off when we are away
  23. use natural lighting as late as possible
  24. turn off the lights when we aren’t in the room
  25. use CFL and LED bulbs
  26. turn electronics off at night
  27. unplug electronics when we are away
  28. minimize TV time and maximize outside time
  29. use electronic to-do lists instead of paper ones (I also have an erasable pen for when I need a paper list)
  30. opt for paperless billing and pay bills online
  31. print as few things as possible
  32. file our taxes electronically
  33. take the stairs as much as we can
  34. try to cultivate a minimalist lifestyle (slowly but surely)
  35. use a green-energy web service to host this blog! (check out Green Geeks*)

Earth Day 2016 - mamanonthetrail.com

On the Trails we…

  1. try to “take only pictures and leave only footprints”
  2. unplug
  3. bring tap water in reusable water bottles (from HydroFlask and HydroBlu)
  4. use our HydroBlu water filtration products to filter water from natural sources
  5. bring snacks in reusable containers and reusable snack bags (from Kids Konserve*, Litsie Creations, gogoBags & Omaïki*)
  6. carry out our trash in a reusable trash bag (just a small wet bag)
  7. leave trails cleaner than we found them
  8. stay on the marked trails
  9. abide by park/trail rules
  10. bury or carry out Kirby’s doggie waste (and we’re looking forward to making that a little more eco-friendly with reusable poobags from Koselig Kids)
  11. use designated washrooms/outhouses
  12. use family cloth for #1
  13. continue to cloth diaper even when hiking/camping
  14. use eco-friendly and all-natural skin care products for the outdoors (from Les produits de Maya and Honey Pot Herbals)
  15. volunteer as ambassadors to our local branch of Hike it Baby
  16. help teach the next generation to love and appreciate nature
  17. partake in fun activities outside, like hiking, camping and geocaching, to help our son learn to appreciate nature and all it has to offer

Hey! That’s 17 new changes since last year! Go us!

(Changes that are new this year are in blue).

Earth Day 2019 - mamanonthetrail.com

No great change is made overnight nor in one fell swoop. These things take time, and little actions often, to add up to big changes. Every little bit counts. Keeping that in mind and the fact that we are on a budget and some of these changes take money, I have come up with a few more changes to make in the coming year.

By Earth Day 2019, these are the items I would like to see added to the above list…

  • use only the new reusable mesh produce bags we’re receiving from gogoBags
  • use reusable tea bags from gogoBags
  • refuse disposable products while we are out
  • pick up litter every time we are out
  • donate to AND volunteer with environmental organizations like Leave No Trace Canada and A Greener Future
  • engage in environmental stewardship projects with our students and our son

REDUCE – REUSE – RECYCLE – REPLACE – REFUSE

What are the most creative ways that you have greened your life? Do you see anything that we could add to our list? I would love to read your suggestions in the comment section below.

 

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