Friday, May 4, 2007

Why Not...

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Hooray!!!!!! It's HERE!!!!! That's right, my clothesline has arrived and one day, very soon, I will be able to post my own photo of it's loveliness. In the meantime, this will have to do. Those of you who know me in person probably understand how I can be such a geek about this, but I have to say that it is something that has made me actually happier about living in Florida.

Florida - at least the area I live in - has attractions, of course. And for my family, all of whom seem to be cold-natured (not in our hearts, of course - hee, hee), the weather is hard to beat. Yeah, summers get long, but winters were longer for us. Anyway, while it has its attractions, it is because of those very things that I feel so up against such a high wall when it comes to the values of caring about the planet. Folks come here for the "easy life" - not the simple life. Many are here for retirement and they're not interested in conserving energy like keeping the thermostat set to a higher degree or two in the summer. Actually, most places are so cold inside that I carry a sweater with me wherever I go. No, most new residents seem interested in playing and, you know, Florida is a good state in which to do that. But because of that, I have met few people who share my values and it's been a really challenging adjustment.

So, getting back to what I was saying, the whole clothesline thing has thrilled me, because it allows me to thumb my nose at the ridiculous deed restrictions that plague more and more people these days from actually living in their homes. I have said before, it seems like folks want to look like they're living in a magazine, instead of living real lives in their homes.

So, I'm excited about one more little thing we can do to reduce our impact. You know, one of the things that I find so compelling about living sustainably is that so much of it is just common sense, and yet because we have been used to living a certain way for the majority of our lifetimes, we often don't figure it out that it can be done differently - even when it might be looking us right in the face, so to speak.

Now that it's getting warmer out why not try turning off the shower while you're soaping up? I wet down, shampoo and rinse my hair quickly, wet my washcloth, and then turn off the water. I put conditioner in and let that sit while I wash and then turn back on the water for a quick rinse. It's a small thing to do... I have never felt the need to try to calculate savings, but I often think of the huge number of women in the world that walk to get their water every day. Water is precious. More and more (and more!) people are moving to Florida, in particular, and there is no doubt in my mind that the sources of our water are being depleted faster than they can be restored.

Another example of an obvious notion came to me in same said shower today when I realized that I did not need the light on. We have a window in our bathroom that lets in plenty of light at the time I shower and it was just one of those things that I just thought - mid-shower! - to try. I've been doing that lately in the kitchen too. It is often habit for me to turn on a light in order to work when I walk into a room that seems darker. But now I see if my eyes can adjust to the room and if I can do what I need to do without light. Showering is definitely one of those things and usually making lunch, if I am not trying a new recipe that needs careful following, is one too. So, why not try leaving the lights off for a while to see how well you can do a task without them? Again, it seems a matter of changing habits more than actually depriving oneself of a need.

Have you tried anything new lately that has led you to going more lightly on God's beautiful creation? And when we think of caring for His creation, we must remember that we are a part of that creation and by caring for it, we care for our brothers and sisters around the world. I get really frustrated when I hear people talk about "the environment" and people as if there were some disconnect between the two - as if somehow we can separate ourselves from the planet. I can see that it is easy to believe that we are separate if we spend all of our time in man-made office buildings, malls, subways, etc., but as the guest on the recent America the Green podcast said today, "we think we can just throw it away, but there is no 'away'!"

So, why not try one new, little thing today? Spice things up. Do things a little differently. Experiment. See what its like to try living in harmony with the world around you, following nature's example of "no waste." The earth, our friends, the animals, all your brothers and sisters and the children will thank you for it.
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