Saturday, July 17, 2010

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Just a quick update on a few of the efforts I am making - following my own advice, so to speak.

The two steps forward are these:

I finished sewing all my produce bags and am preparing drawstrings in all of them today.  Then I'm just going to throw them in with my other shopping bags.  I had to stop at the market today and, at least on this visit, I am finding it not quite as daunting avoiding the plastic.  I am looking for the alternatives and am managing pretty well.  I am practicing waiting, when I can, to find non-plastic alternatives elsewhere. I couldn't find cauliflower, for example, that wasn't wrapped, so I'll try the health food store a few doors down from my health club for that and for finding some tea in bulk.

My regular market, Sweetbay, does a good job of offering its produce primarily in bulk.  They offer packaged alternatives for some things, but at least I have more options than the Publix store that only offers its kale, for example, in pre-packaged, sealed plastic bags, or zucchini on a styrofoam tray wrapped in shrink wrap. 

Keep in mind, our farmers' markets are all closed down for the season here in sweltering Florida.  They'll open again round about late September or October, so I have to do what I can with what I've got.  I am looking for things grown in the U.S. only, which is easier right now, since it is summertime and that means produce production for most of the rest of the country.  That is one good thing about Florida and that is a good variety of in-season produce pretty much year round, whether we are growing it ourselves or the northern states are growing things in the summer.  Ideally, I would have taken more time putting food by from our growing season for this one, but I really ran out of energy on that front.  I think if I make that project more of a community event - inviting friends in to help - that task would not seem as daunting. Something to think about for the future.

The second step forward is that I am revisiting the no shampoo (commonly known online as "no poo"), baking soda alternative to washing my hair and the vinegar rinse for conditioning.  I'd tried it once in the past and, as my hair was longer and pretty damaged to begin with, I think the baking soda dried it out even some more.  Also, I was using straight baking soda on my scalp, which was messier and probably too harsh.  I have a bottle of 2 c water to 2 T baking soda pre-blended in my shower.  I also made up a similar dilution with the apple cider vinegar and water. To that, upon recommendation of another person who does this, I added chamomile tea and some rosemary for fragrance (that I honestly don't really notice, but the ACV scent doesn't bother me either and it's aroma dissipates as your hair dries).  Anyway, using this mixture today, I was super happy with the results!  My hair is not greasy at all (though my hair is naturally drier to begin with) and just feels light and nice.  So, I'm going to stick with this for a while instead of trying the shampoo bar.  This is even less expensive than the shampoo bar and uses things I already have around the house.  I'll report back on how things are going.

My step back, really isn't a step back, but more of a disappointment.  I did a carbon footprint check of our family's impact using the calculator provided by the Global Footprint Network and despite that long list in my sidebar of everything we do, we would still need 4 and nearly 1/2 planets (40%) if everyone lived the way we do. :(  There is not too much we can do about this right now, because where our downfall comes in is that 1) My husband commutes about 50 miles to work (one way) every day - the only work in his field available in this area right now and 2) there is no public transportation nearby where I live.  So, while this doesn't make me feel like all is useless... how does one score, after all, if you are not doing all these things?... I am, like I said, disappointed.  It makes me glad that I am involved in our local Transition movement.  I am hopeful that we will be working as a group to pressure our local area to make efforts toward more public transportation offerings as well as safer routes for alternative transportation, such as wider bike paths off of busy roads.

Overall, I know I'm still moving in the right direction.  I continue to seek out alternatives and make changes every day.  It's an ongoing effort.
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