March was neither lion nor lamb for me this year.... just rainy and FAST. April is already here, and the moment for my monthly environmental inventory has arrived! You might remember that last month I procrastinated to the point that I had a very late start on my March goals, but I think perhaps the time-crunch was motivating...
My goals and progress for last month were as follow:
1. Add potatoes to my list of organic switch-overs, joining spinach and apples. Eee, to be perfectly honest, I didn't buy any potatoes after all during those last two weeks... So yeah, it's technically been added to my mental "buy organic" list, but I haven't put that fact into concrete practice. No check mark deserved here yet unfortunately...
2. Buy potato bins; till garden This item and the following one were originally just one resolution, but I'm splitting it into two parts to report on its progress... This half gets a check mark, hurrah! The potato bins unfortunately haven't arrived yet though, due to being back ordered. Having a very vague understanding of the growing seasons etc for all the different vegetables I'm hoping to grow, I'm nervous about the delay on planting but what can I do? More research obviously, to get a clearer idea of what I'm actually doing, but other than that not a lot. The garden is indeed "tilled," in a ground-broken-up-unevenly-by-shovels kind of way, which we'll probably fine-tune a bit when plants actually enter the picture. Initially I got carried away with the digging and went too far in one particular direction... temporarily the "garden plot" looked very much like a plot-plot. As in, the graveyard variety, if you take my meaning. Later we went back and dug another square coming off of the side of the thing, mostly so that the neighbors wouldn't get the wrong idea and send the police over to investigate.
2.5 Buy vegetable seedlings and plant if appropriate for type/weather. This one is hopefully going to happen tonight or tomorrow. Lately a prolonged deluge in the style of the Biblical Noah has made any kind of outdoor activity pretty difficult, so didn't get as much accomplished as I had initially planned. =/
3. Purchase petri dishes (I still think this would be a fun experiment). Use only homemade cleaners, and environmentally-friendly dishwasher detergent (my weak point... the green dishwasher soap is so expensive. =/) Err, no petri dishes as of yet, but otherwise mission accomplished! As promised, I took the plunge and finally bought 7th Generation dishwasher detergent. I haven't noticed any change from the Electrasol capsules we had been previously using, which is nice; some people complain of a whitish residue left on their dishes after using more environmentally friendly brands, so I was glad to not have any issues with it.
4. Use alternative transportation at least three times a week. (Preferably four) Done! Between riding to work some days with my roommate, and getting better about catching the shuttle other days, I used alternative transportation three times a week for the rest of the month. Ironically, the last time I actually did drive I got a parking ticket... further motivation to take the bus. =/ According to the tracking website, my alternative commute totals for the year are: 31 clean-commute days, 165 miles of vehicle travel eliminated, .08 tons of pollution kept out of the air, and $82 in gas/maintenance savings. The part that impresses me the most is realizing how quickly those miles add up... especially seeing as how I only live about three miles from my job...
5. Use canvas bags while shopping at least every other trip (for reals this time yo) Also accomplished! Having canvas bags sans store logos, and keeping them in my car, really did the trick for me. Also, there may or may not have been a time or two when I walked into the store only to remember and return to my car for the bags... there's something to be said for the motivation of knowing that when you fail you're going to have to admit it to people. I totally need to start posting my goals for other areas of my life too... :P
6. If adding any lamps in my new place, use only CFL light bulbs; switch over existing light bulbs in kitchen fixture as well. OH man, have I got a story to go with this one... When I moved in to my new apartment I rather stupidly didn't pick up on the fact that the kitchen light fixture had one of those little dimmer slide on the switch, so recently during two weeks that my roommate was out of town I got more and more frustrated by an progressively, and seemingly inexplicably, dimmer kitchen. By the time I set goal #6 the lack of light had become obnoxious, so I figured I might as well take the opportunity to switch the bulbs over to CFL. This I attempted a few nights later, while doing some cleaning. Probably twenty minutes after substituting my nice, bright, energy-efficient bulbs for the old clunky ones, I noticed a faint odd smell. Puzzled, but not particularly alarmed, I continued to wipe down my counters. Then one of the light bulbs began hissing at me. I kid you not, it was a distinctive, malicious hiss. I, being the easily-startled anxiety-prone individual I am, threw the light switch off in absolute terror and with a leap that probably would have impressed Superman, bounded into the living room to observe from a distance. My poor lightbulb made a soft popping noise, and gave a tiny smoky gasp.... then nothing. It was more than enough though, as I was convinced that either I had ruined my apartment electrical system (yes, indubitably in its entirety), had sparked a fire in the wall that was about to burn the whole place down (oh tragic blaze!), and/or was going to die of some kind of gaseous poisoning from the smell that was now quite prevalent. A call to my boyfriend reassured me on the first two points, but I slept shivering under blankets that night with all the windows open to be certain of preventing the third. Dearest boyfriend, you may not realize how close I was to insisting you come over... but I was brave and did not, and you better appreciate it! :P The moral of the story; obviously, my light fixture called for a very specific shape and type of bulb, and I was foolish to disregard it. I've been avoiding changing light bulbs since the incident though, so I'm afraid I haven't managed to complete this item after all.
7. Find and execute an idea regarding a new use for something that would otherwise be thrown away. Done! I was kind of proud of it too, so I made it a post for Thrifty Green Thursday. Look here for the scoop on this one. :P
My new "green" goals for April are as follow:
1. Add potatoes to my list of organic switch-overs, joining spinach and apples. (again)
2. Buy and plant vegetable seedlings (and then keep them alive!)
3. Continue to cut down on the amount of paper goods used; purchase only recycled paper goods; do research on a frugal way of procuring cloth napkins.
4. Use alternative transportation at least *four* times a week.
5. Always use canvas bags while shopping, except at the International Farmers Market (customers bringing in bags apparently makes them nervous)
6. If adding any lamps in my new place, use only CFL light bulbs
7. Find a new use for something that would otherwise be thrown away. Anybody got green 'repurposing' ideas I should try for this one?
Let's hope for a great month with lots of progress! As always, I appreciate anonymous cyber accountability, but would love to hear about your own Green exploits, or any encouragement or ideas you might have for me... Together we can save the world one day at a time! :)
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