Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day is Today!

Today is Blog Action Day and I am joining with more than 15,000 bloggers to blog today about the environment.

The environment—such a huge subject, and one I am not qualified to talk about in scientific terms. But it is something that is on all our minds and I think we can all do small things to help. Even if you are still not convinced that global warming is being caused by human action, you still must realize that the earth's resources are limited and human action has definitely negatively impacted the quality of our air, our water and our food supply. Personally, I think the evidence of our role in global warming is overwhelming and it scares the beegeebers out of me. So, while I help to support the scientists and initiatives that will make the essential huge differences, I am trying, in my own life, to make small differences.

You may remember the grocery totes I made several months ago. These will save trees and resources if I remember to use them. There's the problem! Ray and I each carry one of these bags in our cars and we repeatedly forget to take them into the store. Maybe this will help.

By the way, if you want my pattern for making my grocery tote, just email me and I will send it to you in pdf. form.

It wasn't that many years ago that no one ever needed bottled water. Now it seems like everyone you see is carrying a plastic bottle of water. I always seem to have a half-full one rattling around in my car. No more. We have good, clean water coming out of the tap in our kitchen. I just bought us each a nice refillable water bottle. I will feel good about not contributing to the mountains of empty plastic water bottles. If I can remember to use mine.

We have been planning to either build or remodel a house to suit our needs, for some time. That time has finally come. We've been thinking about this for a long time and several years ago I found these two books that promote a philosophy that makes such great sense to me.

Sarah Susanka, an architect, writes about building houses that are "not so big." This doesn't mean you cram yourself into a tiny little space, it means you plan your space for the way you live and eliminate wasted space. She, like me, has a particular distaste for the multitude of "McMansions" springing up all across our land, with towering ceilings and huge entry halls that dwarf the human scale. The idea of living rooms that never get lived in and houses so large that family members can spend whole days never encountering one another is not only wasteful and blatant consumer excess, it produces houses that never feel comfortable, cozy or easy to live in. As we plan the remodeling of our new home, I keep going back to these books for ideas. I like the idea that we are taking an old house and updating it—recycling it, if you will. It will not have everything we ever wanted in a house, but it will have what we need and then some. It will not require bulldozers and tree removal and the loss of yet another square of woodland or farmland or meadow, but will reuse land that has been occupied by humans for more than 50 years.

These are small things I am doing for the environment, as well as trying to be responsible by driving a reasonably efficient car and recycling and trying to use what I have before buying more. It's probably not enough, and I will be looking for more ways to reduce my personal impact on the planet. I'd love to hear what you are doing.

Links to other Blog Action Day posts by art quilters:


  1. Anonymous12:15 AM

    I find this all so frustrating. I recycle (our community makes it easy), use cloth bags, shop locally (though I often succumb to the convenience of buying all my groceries at one location instead of three), line dry most of our laundry (weather permittting) and ride my bike many places. However, out of convenience, we are still a two car family, and we travel twice a year by airplane --which I'm sure cancels out any and all of my other efforts at conservation. I also know that no matter how much us westerners do to conserve, there are developing countries which desperately want and need half of what we have; and the environment will suffer for that desire.

    Simply, we are too many people for one planet and nearly everything we do has a negative impact. But who of us are so committed to conserving the planet as it is now (it is in constant change and will continue to exist although not necessarily in a state conducive to human habitation) that we would remove ourselves and our families from the equation alltogether? Unfortunately for the planet, not I.

  2. Anonymous12:20 AM

    Here's an interesting article on the population problem:

  3. First off, thanks for the heads up on the Susanka books. I've put holds on 3 of them at my library!

    My main earth-friendly activity is water conservation. Recently there was a TV commercial that said if you keep the water running while brushing your teeth, [a family] wastes over 200 gallons a week. Don't know if that's true, but for years I've used no more than 4-5 oz. of water when I brush :-)

    We have a dog who gets fresh water with every meal. The "old" water goes into a pitcher next to the sink instead of down the drain. Then I have water handy to pour into/onto the dishes that need a little rinse before going into the (energy efficient!) dishwasher. And do you know that the EE dishwashers use LESS water than doing dishes by hand? (don't know how it evens out with the electricity use, tho!)

    I do lots more water conservation things**, but these are two painless changes that anyone can make - and it really does make a difference!

    **Our water usage is so low (comparatively) that the water co. installed a new meter at our house because they thought ours was broken!

  4. great post terry, I was not aware of this special blog day. We have also scaled down to a house that is adequate for our needs, and no more. And it is an old house that we are slowly renovating (I am still fantasizing about your wonderful recycle shop!)I also forget to take my totes into the store! But here we are very power conscious because our country wide power supply company has messed up BIG and did not plan for growth and maintenance, so the national power grid is in a crisis. We use energy saver bulbs, only use lights in the room we are in, have installed gas for cooking (Mmmm not that it is a good alternative from the renewable point of view) and turn the geyser off during the day and on again at bedtime. I am seriously considering adding solar panels to the roof, but they are very pricey.

  5. I posted about my little efforts to help the planet today. You inspired me!
    I love those Not So Big books and mine have many page markers (torn up pieces of magazine postcard inserts).

  6. Wonderful post, Terry! I have the same problem with the grocery totes that you do. I have some but keep forgetting to take them into the store! I'm going to go put a note on my dash right after I hit send on this comment!

    Thanks for the link to my blog action day post.

  7. Thanks for the reminder, I was wondering when this was...*smile*....I do try to do my share too.

  8. Love, love, love the Not So Big House series. We've been living that philosophy in our 40 year old 2-bedroom house as we renovate.

    And every appliance gets replaced with an Energy Star one as it dies, some of the new kitchen cabinet drawer fronts are made of maple from trees we had taken down on our property, we try to use "green" cleaners, paints, solvents etc.

    My next door neighbor is as close to living off the grid as you can get in a suburb of NYC. Solar power (he sells the excess back to the power co), grows his own veggies and keeps chickens & goats, wood heat, hybrid car.

  9. Anonymous9:24 PM

    It is the small things that count. If we would all just stop and think through our choices we would see a difference. Earlier this year when gas prices soared, I just mentioned that during that first gas crisis many years ago I had learned to plan my trips. All the younger people were fascinated and wanted to hear more--you know, saving all your errands for one trip out, mapping where you want to go so that you're not backtracking, crossing off the things that you really don't need. As a result, we're trying to trip plan at work-- to group our clients so that we're working in one area per day rather than zooming up and down the county all day. We're all using less gas and I can fit one more client into my day when I'm not on the road as much. I feel good that I'm doing at least that much.

  10. Here is something else you can do:

    Stop buying Brazilian hardwood products!

    Please check out this post and share it with your readers:


    You can find it at: