Welcome to the first edition of my new blog LO-FI LIFE! "Lo-Fi" is about embracing faults and making more with less, which resonates with my soul and my piggybank! I'm also able to share my obsessions--music, parenting, delectable eats/drinks, vintage clothing, books, vinyl LPs, yoga, flea markets and hugging trees with you! Here goes ...
I remember flinging wish stones from the edge of the ocean, lakes and rivers of Alaska as a kid. The perfect flat stone combined with an extra flick of the wrist (technique was ultra important) made all the difference whether it lightly skipped across the water several times or sunk like the Titanic. I clearly recall the summertime sounds of buzzing bees, chirping birds and inhaling a mixed bouquet of water, fresh air, flowers and campfire smoke. Even the sunshine seemed to have an undeniable scent and color.
These are the childhood memories I cherish most. I wish the same for my daughter and her entire generation, so I worry that our carbon footprint may stamp out their chance to experience nature the way we did. I feel it's important to protect mother earth and all of her glorious creatures -- including US.
I also know from personal experience that being "green" can be overwhelming -- Climate Change, Fracking, Green House Gases, Endangered Species, Clean Water, Drought, Disappearing Bees, argh! There a few things you might do (one step at a time) to make a difference. One action taken by each of us adds up quickly so don't feel you have to tackle everything at once. Do what you can do, then keep doing it! Here are a few tips:
1. Reduce your water usage. Here is a quick breakdown of how much water is used on a daily basis in an average U.S. home: Bath (40 gallons), 5-minute shower (10 gallons), 5-minute power shower (20 gallons), Brushing Teeth With Tap Running (2 gallons per minute), Brushing Teeth With Tap Off (.25 gallon), One Toilet Flush (3 Gallons), Other Water Use (Drinking, Cooking, Etc 7 gallons), Washing Machine (40 gallons), Dishwasher (10 gallons), Washing Car With Bucket (3 gallons), Hose/Sprinkler (140 gallons).*
Easy Water-Saving Tips: Place a bucket in shower to run-off while waiting for hot water heater to kick in (or when it's time to replace water heater, switch to an "on-demand" type); Flush Less Often! This may be gross but my grandparents used to say "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down!"; Turn off tap while brushing teeth and use a 5-min timer in the shower or shut off water while lathering up; Fill sink while shaving rather than letting water run; Wash larger loads of laundry; Wash car with bucket rather than using hose; Rinse produce in a sink filled with water rather than using faucet sprayer.
2. Help Save Pollinators (Bees and Butterflies). Toxic chemical-based pesticides (Monsanto's Round Up, for instance) not only seep into our water supply, pollute the air and cause cancer, but they are killing our pollinators as well.* Insect repellents are killing bees and butterflies because they're INSECTS and if we lose pollinators, 40-50% of our food supply will disappear with them so buy local, organic produce, pluck weeds instead of spraying them or use natural pesticides such as garlic, red pepper or ladybugs!
Grow Pollinator-Friendly Plants such as lavender, yarrow, bee balm, zinnia, basil and many others. Maintain a fresh water source such as a bird bath or pond and change water regularly to prevent contamination. For a regional pollinator-friendly planting guide type your zip code in the "finder" at www.pollinator.org/guides.htm
MOM TIP: Bring your little ones into the garden to help you plant because tillin' the soil is good for their little fingers, their imagination and can be very calming. My daughter, Loden, likes to collect rocks, twigs, leaves and petals to make fairy houses.
3. Stop Using Plastic Bags: BYOB stands for Bring Your Own Bag (Recycled or Nylon) to the grocery store. Plastics are not biodegradable (broken down by bacteria) but sunlight reduces them into smaller particles which contaminate landfill soil and the ocean. There's a "trash vortex" in the Pacific Ocean where the northern jet stream and the southern trade winds move in opposite directions to create a large, gently circling region of water called the North Pacific Gyre. The plastic "confetti" is ingested by birds (1/3 of Albatross chicks die from being fed plastics by their parents). Whales often die from swallowing plastic bags because they look like jellyfish. Endangered species like Hawaiian Monk Seals and Green Sea Turtles are threatened as well. Fish consume the plastic and toxic chemicals and humans consume the fish so WE are ingesting the toxins.*
4. Change Your Lightbulbs: The EPA reports that if every household in U.S. replaced just one standard incandescent with an energy-efficient one (LED or Compact Fluorescent), the nation would annually save about $600 million in energy costs -- enough to power 3 million homes for a year! Turning off the lights is a good habit as well. My grandma was an "accidental ecohead" because she'd remind us to turn off the lights when we left a room. *
5. Love & Compassion can change the world so skip a "wish stone" for love! My wish stone is for people to join a charity organization to help protect Mother Earth and all her inhabitants. A charity close to my heart is The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization, of which I am a member. The folks at LAEO focus on Cooperative Ecology (All life forms are interdependent for survival) and they are dedicated to protecting our waters, oceans and Earth's Creatures. You may make a one-time donation or become a member at http://www.theearthorganization.org
I hope you'll find these tips helpful and I'd like to see/hear your ideas too! CONTEST: Please take a picture of yourself holding a wish stone while doing an eco-friendly activity! Tweet it along with the hash tag #Lo-FiLife and I'll choose a winner to feature in the next Eco-Based edition of my blog. Winner will also be the first to receive vid of an acoustic performance of "Skipping Stones" I will post directly on their FB or Twitter page! I've attached the Soundcloud link for the full album version off new STONE LP. Happy Skipping!