Monday, April 18, 2011

Finding Green in Everyday Life

As I write this, I am watching a couple of young squirrels chase each other up and down a tree in the woods just beyond our backyard. Adorable and energetic, it occurred to me they represent the attraction Earth's nature has always had. We are drawn to watching the wild in its habitat. We are curious, awed, and sometimes inspired to keep it safe. A view from a window can draw us in and even offer a respite or serenity. We are part of this Earth and it is part of us.

Most of us do not need anyone to tell us we need to go green because we already live green. There are really very few people who do not do at least one or two acts of green living these days. Green living has become part of our lives--if only because our municipalities ask us to recycle or we buy organic because we think it is a healthier choice. Many grocery stores are no longer providing bags but are encouraging customers to bring their own. And more companies are producing products in a more concentrated form to avoid using more packaging. We are becoming more and more green whether we realize it or not.

When companies make decisions to provide more eco-friendly products or use less packaging, it makes it easier on us as consumers. We need not search far and wide to find products that are considered eco-friendly. Whether we make those conscious choices or not, the green of it remains. Our purchase and our use of those products makes us all green. Sure, there are many things we can do to be more green, more eco-friendly, but when governments and companies make decisions that guide is in a green direction--we all benefit.

Much of our vernacular in defining someone who lives an eco-friendly lifestyle includes words, such as tree-hugger, environmentalist, conservationist, and naturalist. These words seem to imply a sense of extremism--someone who would never use a paper towel or ride in a car or even live in a traditionally constructed home. Unreasonable as that may seem, we seem to impose these same guidelines on ourselves thinking we are not green if we are not going green all the way. There must be an all or nothing thought process and behavior. There must be a sense of perfection clearly leaning towards one side of something. Although the quest for perfection in all things is admirable, the attainment of perfection is rarely possible.

Having said that, I would never begrudge anyone their quest for perfection should that be their chosen path. Anyone attempting such a feat deserves great respect. On the other hand, I think those who juggle life, career, family, creative pursuits, volunteer and charity work, traveling, and hobbies deserve respect for giving so much of themselves to so many. All in all, we are a world filled with people of varying talents, gifts, and abilities. Would it be fair to require that we all behave in the same way? Defining ourselves in such a confining way can deter many of us from ever wanting to do anything green at all.

I think we, as human beings, are always on a quest to improve some area of our lives at any given moment. It is part of our nature, our evolution. If we are living green, can we live greener? Why, of course. Even if we have been able to find a focus and reach that stage of perfect sustainable living, there will always be something new to learn or some new tool that can assist us in that quest.

Some ideas -

How to remember to bring those reusable bags to the store:

-Store the bags in the front seat of the car, so you will see them when you grab your purse or list.

-Keep a note in the car to remind you to bring them inside the store.

-Keep the bags hanging in the area where you hang your coat.

-Use the folding bags that can be stored in your purse or pocket.

Make it easy to recycle:

-Store the recycle bin under your sink or by the door to the garage.

-Temporarily keep notes around to remind you what can be recycled until it becomes second nature.

-Recycle aluminum, plastic, and paper products. Check with your landfill as to what items are being accepted for recycling.

-Compost newspaper, cardboard, tea bags, dryer lint, pet fur,and cotton from pill bottles.

-Start a recycling bin at work or at your church.

-Bring your own bottled water in an aluminum reusable bottle instead of buying bottled water. If you do buy bottled water, recycle the bottle.

Finding the green:

-Take reusable containers with you to the restaurant to hold leftovers instead of using the plastic or Styrofoam provided by the restaurant. (My husband and I love using the Tupperware Flat Outs for this purpose. They fold up nicely to store in the car.)

-Try to slowly add a new green living habit into your life as often as you can. Do this at your own pace. If we feel overwhelmed, we rarely stick with something.

-Make things fun. Include the kids, the family, or the neighbors. Green living does not need to be drudgery.

-Stop and think before throwing something out. Is there a reuse for it? Can it be recycled? Would someone be interested in having it?
©Michelle A. Potter


  1. This is a good post with ideas we can all use to make our planet a better place. Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. Have a good week.

  2. Compostable cotton in pill bottles? We have had nasty pieces of plastic foam (which I am using as shock absorbers under my keyboard) for ever.

  3. @Christine Thank you, Christine. I am so glad you enjoyed it. Have a good Earth Day week!

  4. @Elephant's Eye Hi Elephant's Eye. You have found a great way to reuse something. We still have cotton in many of our supplements and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. A great post. We do so much all need to work together to renew this planet.

  6. @Greenearth Thanks, Greenearth. It is about working together. Happy Earth Day!

  7. Dave@gardeningonadimeApril 18, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Thanks for the grocery bag tips. I keep ours in the front passenger seat. EVERYTIME I throw them into the back seat, you can bet I'll forget them until checkout. Good stuff here. We'll be back. And, thanks for paying us a visit today.

  8. Great essay. You have so many important tips and one I never though of was taking a reusable container to a restaurant. This one is really important too.

  9. I really love that squirrel shot. It's so adorable. I hope you don't have to wrestle with it to get to your fruits. :)

    Great tips. I tend to leave the bags in the car instead of bringing them down with me to the shops. Yes, a reminder would help. I usually keep a small plastic bag in the pouch to be reused.

  10. I enjoyed this post. Too often I think books and magazine articles tend to shame and almost bully their readers, implying that if they're not doing it all, they're not doing enough. I think it's unfortunate, there's no room for eco-elitism, we should all be lauded for all we do, large or small, to improve the environment. Love your tips at the end. I think I need to sew a piece of elastic to my shopping bags, with the other end attached to my car seat. I have the devils own time remembering to put them back in my car! Maybe I need two sets so I can rotate them? ;)

  11. @Dave@gardeningonadime Thanks for stopping by, Dave. I have gotten better at remembering the bags. The one I keep in my purse helps a lot when I forget.

  12. Thanks, Donna. We can never finish all the food that we eyes are always bigger than my stomach. However, I love having some for later.

  13. @One One, thanks for stopping by. So far, we have been lucky with the squirrels. They haven't done too much damage. I like your tip of keeping a small plastic bag in the pouch to be reused...great idea.

  14. @Curbstone Valley Farm Hi Curbstone Valley Farm. Thank you for stopping by. I think it is more important for people to join in than to be chastised for not doing enough. We are all in this together, after all. And I would like one of those elastic thingamajigs, too. :)

  15. Many great ideas in this post. I strive to be green. I wish more of my neighbors felt the same way.

  16. We are of the same in mind when it comes to caring for our Mother Earth. I carry a foldable reusable bag in my handbag just in case I forgot to take them out of the car when buying groceries. I hope the big corporations produce things that last for many years and not disposables. Eg a computer laptops and is expected to last 2 years and handphones even shorter life but I extend it to 5 years or more until there is no more spare parts or software that support my dinosaur.

  17. I have a container in the back seat of my car to store my shopping bags. I use them in other stores too. I also have a cloth bag that fits very easily in my purse that I whip out at Staples or Target. I think the clerks are very surprised by how much will fit in that bag. I wrote how to make that cloth bag (I got mine from daughter in China) at this blog entry
    The newest thing is to take reusable vegetable bags to the store. My daughter gave me a set to use. Much better than plastic bags. She has them on her etsy greens and jeans.
    Sorry to be so long winded. I'm really a fan of reusable. More people should be!

  18. A very apt observation, accompanied by gorgeous pictures. Being conscious of the environment is so simple, every one of us could incorporate it into our daily living. It takes reminders like this post to let us know that it's not hard to do our part and preserve the beauty. Thanks!

  19. Great post and such great ideas to continue living green! If everybody do their part in keeping and living green. Mother Earth will be happier and healthier!

  20. @Jennifer@threedogsinagarden Me too, Jennifer. I just keep hoping that as more and more people add even the smallest of acts to their lives we will all come together as green. Thank you for stopping by.

  21. @Autumn Belle You and I are very much of the same mind. My husband and I are always waiting a long while to buy new phones, televisions, computers, and other electronics because we feel it is too soon to discard the other ones. I understand we have an intensely fast technical market, but it does seem silly to constantly change. Perhaps more and more companies will offer trade-ins. Thanks for your wonderful comment!

  22. @Marcia Hi Marcia...I think your peasant bags are so colorful and handy. I have so many reuseable bags, but I may use that as an idea for a gift. Thanks for your tips!

  23. @Kate/ Beyond the Brambles Hi Kate. Thank you for your kind words. There are so many things we can do, and many of them are such small things.

  24. @p3chandan Thank you, p3chandon. I think Mother Earth will be smiling on Earth Day when so many will be happy to participate in green acts. I hope they take that towards the whole year.

  25. fabulous ....we just need to try to do OUR part whatever that is...every month I see ways we can do better...great reminders and helpful hints...the Blogging Saves Trees badge..checking it out!

  26. Great ideas in there but oh how gorgeous is that squirrel!!

  27. @Donna Thank you, Donna. I am so glad you enjoyed the post. It is always a pleasure to welcome you.

  28. Thanks for stopping by my site today. Your site is beautiful and lots of great links and tips. Thanks for putting in all this hard work for the rest of us!

  29. @WickerRooftop You are so kind. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a supportive comment.


'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

Thank you for visiting The Sage Butterfly blog. I enjoy reading your charming reflections very much. Have a great day!

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