13 October 2009

No Impact Experiment

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Starting Sunday, October 18th I will begin participating in the No Impact Experiment. The website describes it as a "one-week carbon cleanse." As I read through the guide which gives details of the goals for each day next week, I was excited and hesitant. I feel as if it will be a breeze to work through this at home.

According to the Low Impact Living Calculator, my score is a 29. If the average LIL is 100, I'm doing great! But I think that's cheating. My home is MUCH smaller than the average home. I also live alone. I don't use as much as the next person. I wish there were a way to calculate my average compared to other apartment dwellers with similar living arrangements as me. That would be more accurate. Many of my friends are more granola than me.

Still, I feel that the "no impact experiment" will be a breeze at home. Where I believe I face a challenge is at work.
  • My computer is always on. During the evenings, I only log out. I don't actually shut down.
  • I go through a lot of paper trash. I print a lot! I'm better with paper. I need to highlight, circle, write on. I'm rarely at my desk and its hard to do the whole note thing on my phone...so I like to carry paper.
  • I go through a lot of food trash. While I keep a water bottle, tea travel mug and coffee travel mug...I still will grab a juice to go. Or I'll run to the nearest restaurant for lunch. Or sometimes I use the disposable dishes rather than the real ones.
  • There's also a lot of stuff outside my control and therefore I'm not sure how I will measure my progress.
  • I'm sure there are things I'm not even thinking of.
Not only am I concerned with how to work on this at my day job but I also am not sure how this will work with my night job as a Stage Manager. Starting next week I begin rehearsals with Redmoon Theater for Winter Pageant and how can I be a no impact Stage Manager? Just the thought of that had me googling, "green theater", "sustainable theater", and "eco theater." The results of that search will be featured in another post. I even googled "green stage managers" but did not find any good results.

In regards to both my jobs, this is where innovation and creativity will kick in. This will be the challenge and experiment. Even at home where some of my natural inclinations are geared towards granola tendencies...I will still have to push further until I've reached my ultimate goal in sustainability and wholistic living. That ultimate goal is still being articulated in case you are wondering.

I've begun to evaluate my lifestyle. I use many natural, organic, or naturally derived products and practice a few sustainable things. Some of the products on my list are the best I've found. Some things and practices can be improved upon. And then there will be a list of the many ways that I don't practice a granola lifestyle.

  • Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent (Although a recent article was published in which a new natural detergent beat out seventh generation. I'll have to find that article.)
  • Seventh Generation Liquid Dish Soap
  • Clorox Green Works Stain Remover
  • Clorox Green Works Wipes. (I know. I know. That's not really green. You should use old t-shirts as rags. Yeah, well I don't have old t-shirts. I purged through my clothes quarterly and give them to friends and then goodwill. And sponges freak me out because they just collect crap. And I don't want to reuse the same surface of towel that I wiped to toilet off with to wipe the sink off with. Any suggestions for improvements? I'm all ears.)
  • Dryer Max Dryer Balls. (I don't know if this is made from post-consumer recycled content. But what it does prevent is my purchasing of dryer sheets)
  • J/A/S/O/N Sea Fresh Toothpaste (I recently switched from Nature's Gate Toothpaste because it just didn't seem to do the trick. My mouth didn't feel fresh and tingly.
  • Nature's Gate Shampoo and Conditioner. (I've been using their shampoo since 2004 and it could possibly be classified as the love of my life. I recently purchased Aubrey Organics conditioner but its a bit pricey and I have certain green rules. Although I suppose I could be really green and make my own conditioner or use another common house product that could substitute for it. And I could do away with shampoo altogether and just use apple cider vinegar. There is a jug of it in my pantry)
  • Method MultiSurface Cleaner
  • Melaleuca Bathroom Cleaner, Tub and Tile Cleaner, Glass Cleaner and Room Spray
  • I actually unplug everything from the walls. (ever heard of ghost power?)
  • I unplug my laptop when fully charged
  • I grow herbs on my window sill. (Basil..just used some last night in my spicy tofu basil. I realized the restaurant didn't put the extra that I asked but I remembered I had a plant of it sitting feet away from me. I also grow spearmint, lavender, cilantro and two other pots that I can't remember)
  • On a consistent basis I used Swaptree, Craigslist, and Half.com to buy used or like new items and in the case of swaptree...I get to swap out items I no longer want for things I want for free.
  • Seaweed Skin Care Line by The Body Shop. (I've been using this for months now and while the product itself isn't green, The Body Shop is known as a corporate social activist practicing fair trade and working towards of goal of having all their products become organic by 2012. They even have a few lines out right now that are natural but I don't like the scents and I'm very particular about that. I also use their body butter, shaving cream, and spa line. None of which are organic but I love them. I am open to change though
  • Meatless Week? (I probably eat meat about once a week. Most meals contain tofu or vegetables. For me, growth would come in the area of trying more vegan and raw meals. I have cookbooks on each. I even have a vegan soulfood cookbook that I haven't put to use.)
  • I purchase organic milk, fruits, and veggies. (Hardly any of my baking ingredients are organic. Many of my food items aren't organic. I snack on granola but I also eat CheezIt's. Its like half and half.)
  • I use reusable grocery bags when shopping. (...only when its been planned. If I'm already out, that's not the case. I need to keep a reusable bag in my purse always. That's where I get caught up.)
  • I rinse my ziplock bags out (But what I could do is invest in some reusable sandwich bags. A lot of brands have been emerging as of late although they all seem a bit pricey. But considering how many ziplock bags I use, this may very well be worth it)
  • I take the train to work. (As oppose to driving. Would it be better to take the bus since they have more eco-friendly buses? Biking? Are you serious? In the winter of chicago? Its a 35 minute train ride. How long would biking it be? I don't know. On the weekends, I do bike to my theater jobs instead of taking the train)
  • I could stand to do more yoga, meditation, journaling and creative writing.

  • Shower Gel. (The shower gel that I use changes once the bottle is empty because I still haven't found a type that I love since high school. I'm not sure if I've even ever tried an all natural one. So that's on my to do list)
  • Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Ajax Cleaner. (I read somewhere that you can collect beach sand and use these in place of ajax. Unfortunately that isn't going to work for me. I need something else.)
  • Swiffer Dry and Wet Cloths. (Yes, I own a broom and a mop. But I'm very specific. I sweep my apartment with my broom first. Twice! Then I swiffer it. And on that swiffer cloth is dust and dirt and hair and its gross. So the broom by itself won't cut it. There is the whole reusable swiffer cloths I've kind of heard of. But that means I'd have to touch these dirt filled cloths, put them in a laundry bag and wash them. I'm not liking that idea. Any other alternatives)
  • Frebreeze Spray and Wood Spray.
  • Hand Soap. (This is an easy fix. Unfortunately there was a sale awhile back from Bath and Body and I bought all these exotic scents and I'm working my way through them. Once they are gone, I will buy natural ones. But I am picky, extremely picky about scents.)
  • Murphy Oil Soap Squirt and Mop (You know, I really like this stuff. I don't need to make a soap water. I squirt this on my floor and use my swiffer wet lavendar disposable cloths and it just makes me happy...in a non green way I know!)
  • Perfumes. (None of my perfumes are green. Unless Prada, March Jacobs, Armani, and Kenneth Cole start making an organic line...I don't even see how the god of green could convince me to switch.)
  • Makeup. (The little makeup that I have. Lipgloss, some mascara and a shimmer or two...its not organic. I know organic kinds exist.)
  • Art Journaling Supplies (I don't believe any of these are natural such as my paints, glues, ink, markers and such. And the journals are not made from post-consumer recycled content)
  • Oils and Incense. (I doubt they are organic or natural. Maybe the essential oils are. Is using oils better than using room spray?)
  • Toilet Paper. (No, I don't use Seventh Generation's and other eco labels. Why? Because I'm picky about the thickness and softness of my toilet paper and there's a specifc brand that I love and well, I haven't found a green version yet that is of the same quality. I am seeing more brands pop up but none with the same consistency of thickness and softness.)
  • Paper Towels. (Yup. I still use them. Why? Because I love Viva's paper towels. But when I explore the reasons I use paper towels..I could be more like my friend Amber and used cloth ones and wash them. However, I pay for laundry in my apartment's basement and I only do laundry about once a month. And I would need lots of cloth napkins. Goodness)
  • Deodorant. (Look. With this. I've tried a few brands. Most recently, Nature's Gate and none of them are working. I use Dove but am open to a natural version of Dove. Any suggestions?)
  • Tampons. (The idea of the Diva Cup and its counterparts scare me, freak me out, and really just gross me out. Having a cup like thing up my vagina that collects blood and I'd have to pull it out and pour it out. Yeah, that's not going to work.)
  • Recycling...or lack there of (Here's a horrible truth about me and yet an easy fix towards living a more sustainable lifestyle. i don't recycle. I know. Its horrible of me. But in my city, its not that easy. The whole blue bag thing was controlled by the mafia and was a lie apparently. And I don't own a car and my apartment management doesn't do the whole recycling thing. But I looked up the nearest recycling center. Its not too far from me. And perhaps once a week or every other week, I will rent a zip car and take it to there. Do I need to sort it out? I don't have to sort it at work. And if I have to sort it, where will I have space to to that in my apartment?)
  • I let my phones charge all night.
  • I have yet to complete the Space Clearing on my apartment.
  • I purchase all my clothes brand new. (One an item here or there is made from organic content. I don't have the patient to shop in thrift stores, although I'm not oppose to them. I know what stores carry my size without trying clothes on. I'm not a shopper. I don't like to look around. I go in to get what i need and leave. How can I do that with thrift stores? Any ideas?)
  • I fly to New York at least once a month, sometimes more. (Every single time I fly, in sort of cancels out everything else. But there is no way around it)
  • Stage Management. (I've never really given thought with how I can be a more eco-friendly stage manager. Whether that be through all the paperwork, how rehearsals, tech, or the production functions. This will be something interesting to explore. I have to have a prompt binder. And I'm not comfortable calling a show from my computer. What if something happens? I need to explore the Green Theater Initiative a bit more.)

This list isn't exhaustive. There are more areas to explore. This does give me a framework to begin to articulate a more sustainable life. It also excites me in regards to the No Impact Experiment.

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