Monday, April 21, 2008

A Little Greener Every Day's First Challenge

First, I must wish you all a Happy Earth Day! 

Now, on with the business at hand. The other week, I had my first contest. Today, I'm issuing my first challenge. I was inspired by the Crunchy Chicken blog's very intense challenge, the Extreme Eco Throwdown, for the month of May. She's asking readers to pick something like giving up electricity, giving up driving, or buying nothing that contains plastic for an entire month. 

Although I was inspired by the challenge and awed to see how many people are rising to it, I don't see myself actually participating in one of her challenges. I don't know if I'm just not ready to take these extreme steps yet or what, but I think I need smaller, less intense challenges to start out with. And I have a feeling that the majority of the readers of this blog are ready to take another step further into being green, but not the giant leap Crunchy is suggesting. 

So, here are my challenges. If you feel convicted, pick one and let me know which one. Instead of taking the challenge for an entire month, we're going to do one week. The first week of May. From May 1-7th. 

Challenge #1
Take no shopping or retail bags. No paper. No plastic. Carry your own reusable bags, and if you don't have one with you, buy only what you can carry out in your two hands.

Challenge #2
Take what is known as Navy showers. Here's how they work. Turn the water on. Get wet head to toe. Turn the shower off. Shampoo and soap up. Turn the shower back on. Rinse off. Turn the shower off. Get out.
Now, you may need an extra "turn the shower back on" if you need to condition your hair. But you get the idea. 

Challenge #3
Commit to trash free lunches if you eat lunch outside the home daily. What does this mean? It means that when you are done eating your lunch, there should be no trash to throw away. It probably means you will have to pack your lunch daily in reusable containers. No take out containers, ziploc baggies, disposable cups, paper napkins, etc.

Challenge #4
Hang dry ALL your laundry for the week. And no, you can't just let it pile up for the week and not do it at all. Well, you could, but it wouldn't count for this challenge.

Challenge #5
Read one of the following books: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver or  Affluenza: The All Consuming Epidemic by John De Graaf, David Wann and Thomas H. Naylor. Extra brownie points if you get the book from the library, buy it used, or borrow it from someone.

These are personal challenges. If you can get the others in your household to take the challenge, too, that's great. But if you can't, go it alone.

Personally, I'm going to attempt #1 and #5 (I'll read Affluenza). 

I encourage everyone reading to pick one of these challenges. They are very doable. Think about which one you'd like to take and post your choice in the comments section. 
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Janine said...

You know, I've had those tupperware individual sandwhich containers sitting in the cupboard since I bought them:) Time to start using what I have and ditch (figuratively)the plastic baggies.

Allison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allison said...

I am up for your challenge. The biggest challenges will be #3 and #4 because I would need the backing of my family and that will take some serious coaxing. When I hung my son's shirt out to dry he wouldn't wear it because "it was too rough". And my husband is getting tired of all the plastic bags and bottles taking forever to dry in the dish rack. (I had left over plastic that I just can't throw away so I wash them.) BUT I am up to try your challenge.

Robin Shreeves said...

Janine and Allison - thanks for rising to the challenge.

Allison - It sounds like you are going to attempt all five challenges. Really? Let me know if you narrow it down, but if you feel like going for it all - good for you!

I'm going to put a little side bar on the blog about the challenge.

Janine said...

Happy to say I hung some wash out to dry today. It actually dried faster than I thought it would but I'm wondering about my kids (and husband's) reaction to the different feel. Although I ironed my husbands shirt afterwards and that helped the feel, don't know if I'm quite up to ironing more though. I did run the dryer for my towels, socks and our unmentionables but at least it only ran half as long:) Getting there, any tips on not stiff clothes?

jmb said...

I refused to shell out $195 for a clothesline (really that how much I saw one for) so I built one myself over this past weekend. It is beautiful. Once I get my blog started I'll post some pictures. I am going to hang dry all spring/ summer. I agree stiff clothes make for grumpy kids, but there has to be a solution somewhere online. If I find it I'll share.

jmb said...

I've got it! Get the crunch out of line drying by trying one of these:

1. use less detergent
2. add 1/2 c. vinegar to wash cycle
3. snap out wrinkles before hanging
4. hang thickest part (waistband of pants) facing down
5. hang dry in partial shade.

Hope this helps!

special thanks to

Robin said...

Thanks for the anti-crunch recipe, JMB!

Elizabeth Kachur said...

Great blog, just found it today!

I am going to do the challenges #1, 2 & 5. If my allergies were not so fierce, I would do the clothesline as well.

Great idea!

Robin Shreeves said...

Welcome Elizabeth. I've added you to our list.

Just curious. What book are you going to read for #5?

Allison said...

Challenge update: I can't do #4. I can hang about 25% of my clothing inside but my allergies to grass are in full force this year. So the thought of hanging my clothing outside terrifies me.
I am still working on the others. I messed up a few times with the shower because I was feeling sick so I took longer showers. But I just tack on more days to the end.