Saturday, July 23, 2011

Do you know what you are bringing in to your home?

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I bring in to my house and the effect that it has on my enbironment, my health, my pets, my friends and family and the world around me. Everything that we purchase and bring in to our homes has an effect. It is up to us to decide whether it has a good or bad effect.

Lately my focus has been on air quality in my home, specifically air fresheners. According to countless studies done by reputable groups ( air fresheners are not only ineffective but they produce volatile organic compounds that are harmful to life. I considered researching every product that is available and determine what is not harmful and what I can make on my own to produce safe products (on a side note, a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and water can eliminate odors, even the odors from the litter box!!) But then I discovered that someone had done the research for me!! Makes my life a lot easier!

GoodGuide is an organization that has been researching products and items since 2007 and ranking. The research is based on life cycle assessment, environmental engineering, chemistry, nutrition and sociology and ranks products for health, environmental and societal effects. Seems pretty reliable and is a great resource for my purchasing needs!

Have fun researching and making informed decisions for a better world!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


This is my ideal life, a quiet, simple life of mutual respect and the upmost goal of the common good. Maybe I should move...

Aropa- an attitude of giving and sharing, a lifestyle

In the heart of Polynesia, in the middle of the Solomon Sea, lies the isolated yet highly populated Anuta Island. The small volcanic island is a barely more than 800 feet across with one of the highest population densities in the world comparable to Bangladesh. The people of Anuta Island have a simple lifestyle consisting mainly of fishing and farming. At the heart of the Anuta culture is the idea of Aropa, an attitude of mutual giving and sharing. The idea of aropa is most closely translated to our english word compassion. The 300 member community manages its minimal resources responsibily, ensuring that everything is shared equally, no one goes out and no one takes more than their share. The concept of preserving the economy and the future for generations to come is highly evident in the way that they live.
This idea of aropa is one that I hope to incorporate in my own life and I encourage and implore my fellow mankind to consider what we are doing, how we are living and what we are leaving behind.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Me and My Green Thumb

For those who were interested in the reusable mop pads that I ordered from an Etsy shop here is the link:
Sorry it took so long to reply to that, I am somewhat technologically inept...

I am patiently waiting for them to arrive in the mail now that the strike is over. My poor floors are waiting a little less patiently motting just isn't cutting it! I can hardly wait to mop my floors again! (never thought that I would actually say that...!)

In the meantime, I have been working quite a bit (which is part of the reason why I haven't responded to the inquiry or written a new blog!). I have also spent a fair amount of time in my front and backyard. Who knew having my own yard would be so much fun and so much work! Having a well established and well taken care of yard is great, there are very little actual weeds, its mainly just grasses in the middle of the flowers. I have always wanted a flower garden that requires little work and has natural Alberta plants that grow well in our climate, are hardy, require no fertilzer or pesticides, are very natural and still look great! At first look in the flower beds, I thought that I had my work cut out for me with a lot of weeding and a lot of time. But after spending some time out there contemplating, which is what I call it when I stand around doing a whole lot of nothing, I decided that now was my chance for my "natural" flower garden. I have decided to nickname it my jungle! Its really not that crazy but I think it looks great and very natural. I have done some weeding in it, removed some saplings from the tree and planted two new plants, a rose bush and a rhododendron. Honestly, I didn't do my research in advance to find out if they were naturally growing in Alberta (should have picked an Alberta rose!!) I chose them because they were on sale at Canadian Tire, super cheap! But I can justify some of the work that I have done in that all the yard waste I have produced has been collected and composted by the City of Red Deer going towards flowers and gardens around the city.
And for those who have not seen my new place, here are some pics. Now to do something with the inside...

The front yard

The side of the house and front door

My overgrown stump which I happen to love. Makes me think of a tree spirit

The side door with its overgrown plants (I don't even know what they are)

The back door with its immense ferns

The back yard (notice the compost bin!)

My jungle

My jungle and future fire pit

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Green Life Interupted

Thank you Canada Post.
Thanks to the strike and lack of service the next step in my green life is taking a bit longer than I had anticipated.
I love the swiffer vacuum and mop. They are convenient, easy to use and do a good job. But they also cause waste and depending on how much you use them it can be a fair amount of waste. My new house is three times as large as my old house and thus requires three times as much cleaning! My swiffer vacuum is getting a lot of use there days! So I decided to look into a way to continue to use my swiffer products which I love, keep a clean house and decrease the amount of waste that I produce. While looking for rewashable and reusable products for the swiffer, I contemplated making my own but then remembered how busy I I looked for someone else who makes them. I found my new swiffer cloths on etsy and ordered them right away hoping that they would arrive soon so that I could start using them but then came my hiccup...Canada Post on strike. So now I must wait even longer to use my new swiffer cloths and decrease my waste products. In the meantime, I have put together my new compost bin and have started using it. I'm excited to avert waste products from my garbage and make good soil and fertilizer for my flowers!

Monday, June 13, 2011

My New Compost

Ahh, I finally found some time to write again! Worked all weekend...late nights, early mornings meant no time for blogging! But I found some time and am happy to write again.
At my old place I composted leftovers veggies and such but the bin I used was not a real compost bin and therefore did not do a very good job. Now that I am at my new place and hope to stay for awhile, I really wanted a real compost bin that would do the job. My boyfriend had great intentions of making one but then we found one for a decent price at Canadian Tire. Although I am trying to buy as little new as possible, I justified this purchase in that the cost of the bin at Canadian Tire was cheaper than the lumber required to build one, and that this bin was made out of recycled materials. Not buying anything new kept me from accumulating excess "stuff" and encouraged me to buy used, so buying a compost bin made from recycled materials fits along the same lines. I can hardly wait to start using the bin, composting my leftovers and fertilizing my garden!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A wannabe tree hugger

Well, here it is, my first blog post! I have been thinking about doing this for awhile now but just haven't had the time or courage! Don't expect me to write everyday but I will try to write when I can and when I think I have something good to say.
So, a little bit about me. I grew up a country girl (not a farmer as some people seem to think!) in the middle of nowhere Alberta (Hoadley, Alberta, look it up, it is actually on the map but there is nothing there!). Growing up in the country gave me ample opportunities to live green but also many opportunities to live not so green. I now live in Red Deer Alberta, finally feeling like an adult, finished university, got my degree, got a house and a real job and a fiancee, so its about time I started making my life more green as well! This blog will hopefully encourage me (and you if you feel so inclined or inspired!) to live greener, happier and healthier!
Currently I recycle as much as Red Deer will allow (which is limited) but we also try and keep plastics that can't be recycled and take them to Edmonton when we go up there, I compost but I need a new compost bin for the new house, buy toilet paper made from recycled materials, buy paper made from recycled materials, buy organic clothes and materials when I can find them, wash laundry with cold water, use eco friendly cleaning products when I can, etc. (can't think of every little thing right now) It all seems like such small things and requires very little sacrifice on my part so my goal is to start making bigger sacrifices and doing more. My latest goal has been to buy nothing new. I started just after the new year and have done not too bad thus far. Of course, personal items don't count! I have only purchased a very few clothing items and wear them regularly which is some justification. Even in the process of moving to the new house I have purchased very few new items. I was inspired by a newspaper article in the Globe and Mail about a family of five who managed to buy nothing new for an entire year. Seemed like a huge task but I mainly wanted to apply it to my life in regards to clothing (of which we all have plenty!!) and household items (of which I also have plenty and can find plenty more gently used). I graduated this past weekend with my Bachelor of Science and even borrowed a dress from a very good friend of mine so as not to spend extra money on another dress that I might never wear again. Atleast this way the dress will get more use because she hasn't even worn it yet!  It hasn't always been easy and I have had to drag myself away from stores countless times and remind myself that I don't actually need it even though I may want it...but I have also survived about six months of buying very few new items so it can't be that hard!
Small things do add up, but both my fiancee and I want to do more and make a much bigger impact on our world