Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Continue On

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

I am moving so there won't be a new CTWW activity this week.

Please continue with our current challenge:


This week, ban plastic bags. Carry a reusable bag, use a box, or simply carry items loose. Say NO to plastic bags and don't allow them into your home.
OR ...

If your home is plastic bag free, please refuse to buy anything which is packaged in plastic (I know ... it's truly a challenge ... but I have confidence in you).

OR ...

Look around your home for plastic items and then, research non-plastic alternatives. If you are ready to replace the item, please do. If not, make plans to do so when the time comes.


Until next time ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Review & Giveaway - "The Big Tiny" by Dee Williams

At the age of 41, Dee Williams nearly lost her life. After collapsing in a grocery store, she was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. While in the hospital, she witnessed a tragedy ... the death of the woman in the next bed. Those experiences reminded Ms. Williams that life is short and gave her a new appreciation for the important things in life, namely her friends, family, and home.

While she loved her home, she now saw it with new eyes. She questioned the need for so many rooms and realized that they were filled with unused stuff. She thought about the cost of maintaining a large home and the time required to do so. Ultimately, she decided to downsize ... in a big way.

Review & Giveaway - "The Big Tiny" by Dee Williams

An Excerpt From The Big Tiny by Dee Williams:
"... I chose this path because the idea of building a house sounded like the old, fun me—the woman who thought it was a total jazz-up to hang by her thumbs fifty feet in the air, scaling some rocky crag to get a better view of the valley below. I chose this because I thought I could be happy living in a one-room house without running water or a refrigerator, and I imagined I’d learn something about myself by stripping myself down to the basics—by living with two dinner plates, three spoons, two pairs of pants, a dress, and my wool skivvies. And I figured I could be happy, at least for a while, living in the shadow of my friends Hugh and Annie’s house, in their old garden plot just off the alley.

I thought I’d find something in all of this, and I got more than I bargained for. I discovered a new way of looking at the sky, the winter rain, the neighbors, and myself; and a different way of spending my time. Most important, I stumbled into a new sort of “happiness,” one that didn’t hinge on always getting what I want but rather, on wanting what I have. It’s the kind of happiness that isn’t tied so tightly to being comfortable (or having money and property), but instead is linked to a deeper sense of satisfaction—to a sense of humility and gratitude, and a better understanding of who I am in my heart.

I know this sounds cheesy, and in fact, it sounds fairly similar to the gobbledygook that friends have thrown at me just after having their first baby. But the facts are the facts: I found a certain bigness in my little house—a sense of largeness, freedom, and happiness that comes when you see there’s no place else you’d rather be. ..."

When I first agreed to review this book, I thought it would be a Do-It-Yourself guide, of sorts. While it does talk about green building concepts, such as using recycled materials and minimizing waste, it speaks more to the realities of living in a very small space (84 square feet). It answers some of the questions I have about small homes. For example, where does one put (or in this case, park) a tiny house? Is it connected to water, sewer, and electricity or is it totally off the grid?

The book reads as a wonderful story. I felt Ms. Williams' determination as she filled a cart with lumber and I sensed her exhilaration when she cleared an overpass on the highway. I found myself quickly turning pages to find out why she was running across a backyard in a towel and why her dog took to hiding under the house.

Moreover, I understood that freeing ourselves from stuff and large spaces gives us the opportunity to experience nature in an intimate way.

The Big Tiny is appropriate for everyone. Whether you're interested in downsizing, building your own home, eliminating excess stuff, or simply slowing down to appreciate life, you'll benefit from Ms. Williams' experiences.

To buy the book, click HERE.

Giveaway


The generous folks at Blue Rider Press and Penguin Random House want to give one lucky Reduce Footprints' reader a copy of The Big Tiny. WhooHoo!

This giveaway is open worldwide and will last for one week. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Images and permission to reproduce excerpt from Penguin Random House



I received a copy of "The Big Tiny" in order to write this review. I received no other compensation. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and reflect my honest opinion of the material reviewed.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Ban Plastic Bags

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:


Is your kitchen greener today than it was last week? Our challenge asked that we make at least one green improvement. For my part, I focused on the kitchen in my new house. We're making it as green as possible. There is, however, one area which I have resisted ... a dishwasher. I don't particularly like dishwashers and would rather not have one in my home. But research shows that the new, energy-efficient models use less water than hand washing. My electricity will be solar generated, so the energy used by the dishwasher won't be an issue. For those on the grid, I've learned that the new models use less electricity than it takes to heat the water used in hand washing. Since living green is not about my preferences but rather about what's best for the environment, I've decided to get a dishwasher.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Regina kindly mentioned CTWW in this edition of The artists Daily.

Alicia has achieved a lot but still has some changes which she hopes to make: "We had to buy a new fridge this past year and got a really nice energy efficient one which has made a big difference! We use cotton kitchen towels and have for about 15 years now. I can't begin to say how much money we have saved by not buying paper towels not to mention the paper not going to the landfill or hopefully trees saved! We are needing a new aerator for our sink so we will be looking into getting a good Eco Friendly one. We are also wanting to get some new dishes so it's time to start looking into which ones will work best for us. We bought a new set of stainless steel cookware recently and are thrilled with them. No more toxic Teflon!"

Mary shared her ideas: "Good challenge! Switching to cloth or other reusable towels instead of paper towels is probably one of the simplest things to do! It's also possible to look at what food you have in the kitchen where you could get something organic or local to be greener and healthier. Or maybe try to use your leftovers into new dishes. For example, rotten bananas can be good for baking!"

Deborah accepted the challenge and says, "Re: CTWW Greening the Kitchen Challenge: I find that the kitchen is usually the most logical room to make greener first--and it is often the easiest.In our home we 'greened' our kitchen by: Installing an efficient Berkey water filter instead of running tap water to "get out some the lead and impurities".Composting wastes. Saving orange and lemon peels to make a Citrus Vinegar Cleaner. Reusing glass jars and bottles.Using cloth rags and napkins instead of paper. Using glass containers for storage instead of plastic. Find more tips for greening the kitchen in these posts from Urban Naturale: http://urbannaturale.com/8-great-ways-to-make-your-kitchen-greener/ and http://urbannaturale.com/food-for-thought-26-eco-smart-ways-to-keep-more-food-out-of-the-trash/."

Lois is a rock star. In Change the World Wednesday; Green Kitchen she talks about all the ways that she's greened up her kitchen. I am in awe! Be sure to read through the comments because she does mention one area that she's decided she could improve upon and is weighing various options.

Our second rock star of the week is Argentum Vulgaris who wrote Change the World Wednesday – 9th Jul. Read through his post and see if you can find something which would make his kitchen greener ... I sure couldn't find anything.

EcoGrrl found an area to concentrate on: "Our kitchen is pretty crazy green as it is, having not used paper towels or napkins for years, using antique cast iron skillets for the majority of our cooking (gotta love Griswold!), buying our organic dry goods in bulk (we bring our actual containers to the market, no plastic bags), composting 100% of food waste, growing food in our garden or picking it locally, then preserving (my husband is harvesting our garlic today, woo hoo!). I sit here typing this looking at the echinacea my husband picked for me from our garden and put in a vase I've had for years, looking our at the growing peppers and tomatoes and onions and corn in the garden, see the energy star appliances in the kitchen, and am pretty darn happy :) But there is always room for improvement in every household!!! The dishes I bought 8 years ago from Viva Terra (great eco catalog by the way) are all chipped on the edges and so the next step is to find some dishes (sustainably made or antique store finds), and transition these ones to outdoor/picnic use. Any suggestions out there for eco-friendly dishes beyond the recycled glass ones that are super expensive?" Any suggestions for EcoGrrl?

Katie has a very systematic approach to greening her kitchen. She's focusing on food storage. Read Replacing Plastic with Glass and Stainless Steel [#CTWW] to find out how she's making the switch.

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @GreenQueenofMod (aka @AndreaPtak)
- #remodel your #kitchen—replace petrol-based linoleum with marmoleum ow.ly/yY7Le I did! #green pic.twitter.com/YkvCPu1ilr
- Use a food scrap caddy for transfer to your garden worm bin. I do! ow.ly/yYaGo #WormWednesday pic.twitter.com/yo2DbkByVy
- Green you kitchen. Mix and match dishes from #Goodwill or #yardsales rather than buy new. I do! #thrift #reuse...
- #remodel your #kitchen—Paint existing wood cabinets rather than replace. I did! #green #frugal #reuse pic.twitter.com/D2F5k32BGF

From @VioletsBuds
- I've been greening my kitchen with @NatureJunkieMI #unsponges & want to add #unpapertowels

From @ApoenaGI
- Como reciclar la esponja usada y vieja utilizada en la cocina. http://t.co/ZnMLMFNhp2 The kitchen greener #CTWW (and recycle old equipment and used in the kitchen sponge: http://ow.ly/zbctc )

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@89linz @a_kiasi @alfonsoruiz61
@allnaturalkatie @andreaptak @anthonykp25
@apoenagi @beatepdx @belleggiairene
@bethsegreen @biggreenpen @catcophony
@chrymroman @chrysalisdesign
@collegegogreen
@compingcrazzy @counselorholley @crazykids6
@dataindiatweets @dawnyd1 @debsmikdav1
@dieselelephants @ebooksindiamag @ecoexpert1
@edsguild @emmaholmes_ @finbelieber00
@florianrevault @freshcleanersaz @ginavalley
@givetreegifts @greenglobaltrvl @greenqueenofmod
@groovygreenlivi @hawtwyre @herbgir1972
@immortaltwit @kayelleallen @kel_inthecube
@krmbalclothing @laalicia @ladyjcmuses
@ladyreaderstuff @laurabermanz @leslieveg
@lovehedonia @lukemitchell__ @marjoriemcatee
@michellekellycw @mimibarbour @mireille_24
@momfindsout @nanielynn @norysgomezdiaz
@parthenon1 @pberk @phebeohyes
@polart_designs @rckweddings @realityarts
@redpandanetwork @rikkilover10 @ruralmoms
@rwfrk @sfcouncil @shannongrissom
@smanuel1123 @socialavenues @spafloating
@superbsolutions @susanheaney @theworld4realz
@tiptoehome @treesgroup @ttptrending
@violetsbuds @w_angels_wings @wencdj
@whopaysthepiper @whywelovegreen @xoxo_sila
@zaelyna @zenfarmz @zoeisntapenguin

My Final Thoughts:

Green changes are often about our attitude. If we look, we can (almost always) find ways to improve. It requires our willingness to take that look and then, implement the best solution. Sometimes we allow our personal preferences to interfere with doing the right thing. It's at those moments when we have the greatest opportunity to shine ... to set aside our emotions and put the the earth first.

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Change The World Wednesday - Ban Plastic Bags
Plastic bag use has risen in the UK
Plastic bag use has been called a pandemic (an epidemic of infectious disease that has spread through human populations across a large region). These ubiquitous bags cause a lot of problems for the environment. Here are some facts:
  • Approximately two million single-use plastic bags are used, worldwide, each minute.
  • According to the BBC, only 1 in 200 plastic bags in the UK are recycled.
  • A 2011 article in Rolling Stone stated that American shoppers use more than 500 plastic bags, per consumer, per year.
  • There are about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in every square mile of ocean.
  • Plastic bags remain toxic even after they break down.
  • It costs 2-5 cents to manufacture one bag. It costs 17 cents to clean them up.
Let's commit, or recommit, to banning them from our lives!

Here's your challenge ...

This week, ban plastic bags. Carry a reusable bag, use a box, or simply carry items loose. Say NO to plastic bags and don't allow them into your home.

OR ...

If your home is plastic bag free, please refuse to buy anything which is packaged in plastic (I know ... it's truly a challenge ... but I have confidence in you).

OR ...

Look around your home for plastic items and then, research non-plastic alternatives. If you are ready to replace the item, please do. If not, make plans to do so when the time comes.

July is "Plastic-Free Month". Are you ready to ban it from your life? I know that you are!

Until next time ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!