Don’t Pave My Paradise

Happy Earth Day!

As a preservation carpenter and a horticulturist, my parents have always inspired me, with both actions and words, to protect Mother Nature. Not only so I can enjoy a clean and beautiful earth, but that future generations at least have a chance to enjoy what so many of us do already. This is naturally based on the assumption that the Mayans weren’t right, of course.

From an early age, my dad taught taught us all to recite “Reduce, Reuse, Refuse, Recycle, Compost.” This ditty affects every decision I make, whether or not I am actively thinking about it.

Saving the Earth is definitely habit-forming.

Reduce.

Reduce consumption and buy less. Wash regular plates, cups and utensils instead of using disposable ones. Use stainless steel or bpa-free plastic water bottles instead of buying bottled water. Buy used goods (Hello, Goodwill!) instead of new ones. I get some great clothing, cookware, and dishes at thriftstores…but I draw the line at socks, underwear, and head-wear. Some things just have to be brand new.

Consume less electricity. I try to unplug appliances I am not using (toaster, coffee maker, Kitchen Aid) and shut my computer down every night–it definitely makes an impact on our electric bill, too!

Reuse.

Find a use for objects other than throwing them out. Dave and I save old pickle jars and jam jars to keep some of our own homemade food in, like granola or pickled eggs. I also like to reuse jars to package food gifts.

I have also turned old t-shirts into produce bags, I wash and reuse all my plastic food bags, and donate unwanted items instead of throwing them away.

Refuse.

“No bag, please.” 

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard my Dad say this, and it has become a habit for me at nearly every checkout counter. I bring tote bags for big shopping trips and keep a foldable shopping basket in my car at all times for quick trips. If (and let’s face it, when) I forget them, I still say “No bag, please” and carry out the loot myself.

The earth shouldn’t have to suffer for my lack of forethought.

Recycle.

Did anyone ever watch Rocko’s Modern Life? I can’t help but think of the song “R-E-C-Y-C-L-E recycle! C-O-N-S-E-R-V-E conserve! Don’t you P-O-L-L-U-T-E pollute the rivers, sky, or sea or else you’re gonna get what you deserve.”

Not only does it help you learn how to spell 🙂 but it’s an important lesson that what you give often is what you receive, especially when it comes to our planet.

Recycling is one of the easiest things we can do. Follow this one basic rule: don’t throw anything in the garbage that can be recycled. Plastic containers (check the number on the bottom), aluminum cans, paper & cardboard, glass jars, etc. can all be recycled.

Compost.

If you live in a house, you can compost nearly every food scrap or leftover, besides meat or cheese. If you have outdoor pets, beware of throwing chicken bones or anything your furry friend might dig up. Compost makes a great garden addition!

I will admit that, living in an apartment, I do not compost, but when I move to a house, I fully intend to pick up the habit again.

So instead of having to compost, I instead devour every bit of my meal so I don’t have to throw it away. 🙂 Easy to do when you create another delicious egg sandwich.

Fried Egg Beaters, sauteed grape tomatoes (a new favorite way to cook them), and homemade guacamummus (avocado and hummus mixture) on jalapeno focaccia bread.

Remember when I said yesterday’s was the best egg sandwich ever?

I lied.

This egg sandwich knocked it out of the water and is now the best. egg. sandwich. ever. Until further notice, that is.

Served with a sliced banana mountain sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered peanut butter. And an unphotographed (my camera battery died) cup of Coconut Cream coffee.

I’m so glad I live on an earth that makes it possible for me to enjoy breakfasts like these.

Do you have any favorite tips for saving the earth?

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