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Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
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    What's Been Your Biggest, Coolest, Eco-Friendliest Change This Year?

    Thumb_green
    Did you finally give up using paper towels?

    Did you switch out all the incandescent bulbs in your house to LEDs?

    Maybe you gave away your car and bought a bike.

    Or planted a huge organic garden to grow more of your own food.

    Started raising chickens in the back yard? (Free range, of course!)

    Finally got a clothesline so you can use the sun to dry your laundry?

    Whatever environmental change you made, we want to hear about it...by December 30!

    Book_icon If you let us know how you went "eco" in 2010, we'll automatically enter you in a contest to win a free, autographed copy of my latest book, Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World.

    Just leave a comment on this post with the following info:

    * The change you made.

    * Why you made it.

    * How much it cost (or saved you).

    * What you plan to do next.

    If you've thought about going green in some way but have yet to make it happen, do it now so you can tell us about it.

    What's the biggest change I made? I stopped getting printed newspapers delivered at home. I did it because I hated to see all the paper wasted, especially on advertising supplements that I never use. Right now, it's saving me the cost of the subscription. Next year, I think I'll have to start paying to read the paper online. But this wasn't a cost issue for me as much as it was an environmental one.

    Next?

    I'm looking to you all for inspiration! Please share your changes. We'll highlight your stories on December 31 when we announce our prize winner.

    Thanks!

     

     

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    Jen Mueller

    I'm sitting here thinking, hmm, we didn't really make many lifestyle changes this year . . . oh wait, we put solar panels on the roof! Power bill down by 75% in the first month - should average out to at least 50% less power from the grid each year.

    Diane MacEachern

    I haven't eaten beef or pork for decades, and I've given up eating fish and chicken just about (but not quite) all the time. I don't think I'll go vegan, though -- but I'm considering raising my own laying hens for the organic, free range, kindly laid eggs. We have raccoons and foxes and various rodents running around in our neighborhood so building a foolproof pen will be key.

    Diane MacEachern

    I'd love to hear more about your solar switch. My house is "passive solar" - lots of windows on the south side, super insulated, lots of deciduous trees for summer shading. We opted to keep the trees and forego solar when we built, but I wish we had some kind of direct solar option (like solar hot water).

    Condo Blues

    I've been doing one small green change each month. The one I am most proud of is joining a CSA. It forced me to cook out of my food comfort zone and try new foods even though I'm an adventurous eater by nature.

    I also changed 303,736 light bulbs, well my small changes equaled that to changing that many light bulbs. So little things really DO add up!

    Diane MacEachern

    Wow - how did you figure out the light bulb calculation?

    Anne

    Our home has been "green" for several years. However, I felt like I could do more but didn't know how or where to start.
    My daughter started preschool this year. And the first thing I noticed almost everyday I dropped her off at school, is a big truck idling for at least 15 minutes with no one inside. It's not even that cold.
    So, I started the Idle Free campaign for my daughter's preschool, which uses the community building. The preschool families will proudly display Idle Free decals in their vehicles. The building will have a permanent metal Idle Free sign.
    I am very excited about this because I feel like it's the first real community contribution I was able to do.

    Christina Marlett

    We made 3 major changes this year.

    1. We switched from Kleenex to Hankies because we wanted to stop throwing out money with every kleenex, save some trees and get rid of red irritated noses, especially on our kids.
    I can't tell you how much we saved but it has been significant because we just used some old cotton I never ended up sewing with and cut it up. I would never go back! (Although when our parents come to babysit our kids they bring their own boxes of kleenex and leave them behind because they think we can't afford it:)

    2. We did an Eco Party for my daughter's 5th birthday. Instead of gifts, people send their child with $10. We pool half of the money to buy one special gift that she actually wants and the other half she chose which charity to give it to, which was the World Wildlife Fund. No wrapping, no people driving to stores, no plastic, sends a good message, LOVE IT!!!

    3. I started my own website and blog about Green Living. http://www.greenerparents.com Come over for a visit to check it out.

    Diane MacEachern

    I love all your changes. The Eco-Party donations are brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Diane Jukofsky

    This year my husband and I moved to Oregon after living 21 years in relatively low-consuming Costa Rica. The change to the ultra-consuming US was shocking & yet we were able to adopt green habits we couldn’t practice in Costa Rica.

    In Costa Rica we paid an entrepreneur to come by our house in his gas guzzling old truck and haul away our recyclables, which he could then sell. In Oregon, the county comes by once a week in efficient vehicles to pick up our sorted recyclables along with other trash.

    In Costa Rica, we lived in a town house with a teeny back yard – not possible to compost in such a small space and in a tropical climate. In Oregon, our rental home has a compost pit tucked into a corner of the backyard.

    In Costa Rica we bought a small home from which we worked, so we had no say in its construction, which was not very good or ecofriendly. We are building a home in Oregon, so we have a chance to make as many green enhancements as we can afford. The Central Valley in Costa Rica has an ideal climate – it’s never so hot you need air conditioning, never so cold you need heat. Not true in Oregon (though even on the hottest days this summer we didn’t need the AC in our rental house). The house we’re building is super energy efficient – triple the insulation as usual, with heat pumps, efficient wood stoves and more. To share our research with others, we’re blogging in the Oregonian about this adventure in eco-homebuilding: http://connect.oregonlive.com/user/EcoBeavers/index.html

    Our new house will be three narrow stories, to have as little footprint on our five mostly forested acres as possible. We’re rehabilitating the damaged wetlands on our property – a chance we never had in Costa Rica, which unfortunately has lost most of its original wetlands to development and pollution.

    So 2010 was a year of major changes for us, as we’ve moved from one rainforest region to another. One constant is that we will aim to be good eco Oregonians as we tried to be good green Costa Ricans. A major contributor is that we will continue to work for the Rainforest Alliance (www.rainforest-alliance.org), which we helped launch when we first moved to Costa Rica a couple of decades ago.

    Diane MacEachern

    Diane, Thanks so much for the great comparison between Oregon and Costa Rica. Pretty eye opening! Good luck with your house construction - it's an exciting, if sometimes nerveracking process. I have a sneaky suspicion I met you or your husband years ago when your CR adventure was just beginning. I'm glad we've reconnected.

    denise yribarren

    For months I have been dragging my feet to use a hand-me-down solar oven. I decided that this year I won't fear change and possible failure! I looked on line and found some relatively easy recipes for solar cooking.

    Really, the biggest challenge is remembering to reposition the oven every few hours to follow the sun. So far, I've made chili and granola. Bread will be my next challenge in the solar oven.

    I am well on my way to eliminating plastics in my kitchen. (This was a real test for creativity!)

    My goal is to try a new project every week. It feels good to grow as a person in pushing myself in trying new challenges

    Thanks for all the inspiration!

    Denise

    Kathy H.

    This year I stared composting. It cost about $50 for the compost bin. I did it to reduce the amount of garbage going to the dump and also to cut out fertilizer for my grass and flower beds and now I don't need to buy topsoil either. Next year I plan on replacing all of the light bulbs in my house. I already started but dang I have alot of lights so its going to take a while.

    Sherry

    In May I bought a dozen cloth napkins at a garage sale for $3. Now we use them all the time! Combine cloth napkin with cloth rags and I've completely eliminated my use of paper towels!

    I'd like to eat meatfree more often, and switch to local grass fed beef when we do eat meat. My family loves meat so that will be tough sell, but I'll work into it slowly.

    In the years to come (hopefully not 2011) I want to buy a more environment friendly car, but that will have to wait until the vehicle I currently drive dies.

    Lynne

    I finally got it. I read up on chemical ingredients in our products, and finally, it clicked. I am making all of our own cleaners, I'm buying organic when I can, I rid our home of chemicals, I switched our products to ones with a shorter, greener ingredient list. I am buying from more small local farms. I'm off of water bottles. I am buying organic fair trade coffee. And I'm blogging about it. www.greenertoday.blog.ca
    This year, I'm changing our lives.

    Diane MacEachern

    Lynne, That's so inspiring! I'll be looking forward to reading your blog and getting inspiration from all that you learn!

    Beate

    Oh, it's so much part of my life now that I forgot my biggest change this year - I opened an online store offering organic and fairly traded children's clothes.

    Diane MacEachern

    You opened a store? That's incredibly impressive!! Good luck with it, and thanks for sharing!

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