3 Ways to Go a Little Greener

Lately it seems that we are all trying to go a little more green or get a little more green of the pastoral kind in our lives. From finding ways to spend more time out in nature to cutting back on our carbon footprint, here are three ideas:

Throw a block party.
At least once a year, on either the Fourth of July or Labor Day, we close our street and roll out the grills, lawn chairs, coolers, deviled eggs and oodles of desserts to commune (drink beer) out in nature. Though it may not be as outdoorsy as a nature hike, it truly is a “gateway drug” to getting people outside. This year, despite the heat, almost our entire block met for the Fourth. The kids played games in the sprinklers while we sat in the shade and caught up. Our neighbor Anne is the organizer and all she says she has to do is copy the flyer each year and get the permit from the city to close the street. If you put a flyer in our mailbox, we will come… and bring side dishes to share.   
At the block party, my daughter and two friends Lily and Caitlin drifted into the backyard to play in the playhouse. They were using their imaginations. If they had $30,000 how they would deck out the playhouse to live there? They had ideas where they could put solar panels, a fridge, a clothes line (yes), shelves, bunk beds, etc. Later, my daughter told me that Caitlin asked where they could put a TV. Both Lily and my daughter were adamant. “Why would we need a TV?” they said. “We have the Nature channel right outside our window.”

Do less laundry.
I love clean clothes as much as the next person, but if we could do less it would be better for the environment. After vacation this year, I noticed that half the clothes in the pile waiting to be folded were my daughters. It was easy to see as I was looking at a sea of pink. So we started a contest. Whoever had the least amount of laundry all week won. My daughter found it very easy to go from PJ to a bathing suit and back to PJ each day. I was doing great too. I could go from PJ to work out clothes to my swim suit. My daughter added the rule that interview clothes don’t count. But wearing the same workout clothes for a whole week was just too much. On the fourth day, I put on my shirt and could not breathe because it was so stinky. I cried “Uncle” and my daughter won. We’re not competing anymore but we still try to conserve on laundry for green reasons. And my daughter is absolutely hooked on wearing her PJ all day. So we created one good green habit…I guess.

Actually recycle.
My friend Catherine and I were talking on the phone. It’s one of her pet peeves that kids today don’t recycle. Particularly her own kids. She is a passionate environmentalist and you would think her two boys would follow suit. After all, it’s their plant next. So we were talking about this on the phone while my daughter was right by my side. “You don’t recycle, Mom.” She said a little too loud. Ack. I try to recycle but sometimes I don’t get it all. Catherine would be so disappointed in me if she heard. I held my hand over the phone and kept my cool. “I mostly recycle,” I hissed at my daughter. She pointed at the trash can. “No you don’t.” She said. Darned kids are too honest sometimes. Well, shame is a great motivator. I found a new more easily accessible home for my recycle bin and I’m trying harder to save the planet. .. one empty milk jug at a time.

Sleeping with the Laundry (Notes from the Mommy Track)Margee Moore is a marketing professional, job seeker and mother of two. Her book “Sleeping with the Laundry: Notes from the Mommy Track” is now available on Kindle.

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