Below are some of the successes that I've been able to count in my progress thus far.
Personal wasteNot to brag or anything, but I'm a superstar! I'm excited to see how many more steps in the right direction I can make between now and 2012!
I live with three boys. One of them is very eco-conscious. Another has no idea what it is to be eco-friendly, but is open to the idea. The third flat-out makes fun of me when I do something green. So considering this is the dynamic in my house, I simply cannot measure how much garbage leaves my house in a week to figure out how much progress I've made. Or can I? Since taking the 90% Waste Challenge, I have noticed that it's not just me who's putting less in the trash and more in the recycling bin, for instance. The boys are becoming more receptive all the time. It makes me so happy to see!
Now, we are putting our little kitchen catcher bag out only every second week, rather than previously filling a whole bag and often starting another. We have a "no junk mail" sign on our mailbox now, and have not received a flyer or advertisement since. I have bought a backyard composter and our Green Bin (food waste bin for composting meat and such) is getting fuller every week, thanks also to my roommates. Overall, it has been a huge step in the right direction, and the boys are coming along for the ride!
I recently had my computer crash on me. And you know what? I'm tickled pink! I got to buy a beautiful new laptop that has the Energy Star symbol and consumes a fraction of the energy that my old clunker did! What's more, I've been successful in limiting clothes washing to off-peak and "training" my roommates to do the same, and our energy bill this month was cut nearly in half as a result. It's amazing the difference that small actions can make!
I hardly go to the grocery anymore. I have been spending a lot of time in small health food stores, giving them my business not only because they carry organic, natural and Fair Trade products, but also because they seem to do it for all the right reasons (e.g. that they feel it's right, not that they are nervous of losing a market share, like large groceries could be). I just love my organic pears, my Fair Trade rice, and my Tom's of Maine lemongrass deodorant (which, by the way, has the freshest and loveliest smell of any I've tried, natural or not!). And vegetables? Well, I've harvested dozens of cucumbers, tomatoes and beans from my own organic garden in the past month, so I've been eating like a queen!
I'm also now 100% vegetarian! This means buying bulk quantities of legumes and nuts, which is fine by me!
Fitness & green space connections
I wrote in my Green Plan that it was essential to spend time in nature. As a result, I've been reaping the benefits of getting more acquainted with nature, not to mention getting more exercise! I walk a minimum of 30 minutes (usually an hour or more) a day in the area surrounding my house, where there are lots of parks, and most days this week I even got to take my friend's dog with me for a little extra company! Not only am I feeling great because I have been eating lighter, I'm connecting with nature while also getting fitter and visiting with my friend and her dog often, and all in all it's a really wonderful thing.