Last fall I
lost my mind and decided to go back to school. I’m now halfway through my Masters degree in Humane Education a.k.a. Learnin’ How to Save the Planet.
Of course, we all know I really just want some more of those fancy letters to add to my work signature.
Over the past year, I’ve struggled to find humor while bearing witness to the countless atrocities detailed in the coursework. I even considered throwing in the towel on higher learnin’ altogether. But speaking of towels (wait for it) – there’s still hope! On top of the recent move to tiny living, here are some of my favorite ways of ensuring the world’s chipmunks will have many, many years left to thrive:
1. (S)wipe Left on Paper Products
No, no, no. I’m not asking you to trade your TP for twigs. But getting into the habit of using dishtowels as napkins is the gift that keeps on giving! Who wants to dry their hands with 18 pieces of tissue paper anyway?
I love using soft, fluffy hand towels as much as…
2. Bag Lady
I’m obsessed with my reusable bags. Remember this?
No more once you switch to sturdy, waterproof bags!
3. From K-Cups to More-than-OK-Cups
Not only do they make gobs of compostable products for any coffee machine, they also sell reusable Keurig K-Cup pods that you can fill with your own coffee, then compost the grinds, for a totally waste-free caffienating experience.
4. Got milk? Yeah, and it’s nuts!
Swapping out any one dairy (or meat) item at any one meal for a plant-based option instead is a HUGE win for woodland critters and humans alike. I know, I know. “BUT CHEESE,” you’re thinking. Thankfully, the plant-based options for milk and cheese are becoming more convincing than ever – check out Chao cheese if you don’t believe me. (For more on the implications of eating dairy, which I know can be confusing – shoot me a note. And here’s a great article with lots of cool charts emphasizing the impact of small dietary changes.)
5. Compostest with the Mostest
By far my proudest accomplishment in 2016 was making this composting bin with Babs:
Since then, I’ve upgraded to an item that’s marketed as “the most beautiful composter in the world.” By tossing all of my raw produce, coffee grinds and compostable packaging in there, these bad boys have cut down my garbage by a whopping 75%!
6. It’s the Little Things that Count
Plastic straws, paper receipts, those little stickers on your fruits and vegetables – they really add up! Say “no thanks” when you can and hopefully these items, much like Scott Baio, will soon become a thing of the past.
7. This is Us. Not Buying New Sh*t.
Learning about the materials and energy required to produce every single new consumer good was enough for me to reconsider buying that battery operated armpit hair braider. Even recycling itself -turning those plastic Sprite bottles into a rug, for example- can demand intensive resources. Choosing refurbished or borrowed items will make you the Kevin to Mother Nature’s Kate.
8. Do you have your permission slip?
Because it’s field trip time! Visit your local farm sanctuary and be amazed by the animals’ stories. Did you know chickens experience REM sleep and teach calls to their babies before they’re born? They even purr! So cool!
9. Cabbage Patch Pets
Remember how Cabbage Patch dolls came with those nifty adoption papers? There’s a lot to be said for adoption – skip the breeders and pet stores and scoop up a rescue.
10. Fork You
Switching to reusable utensils (and dishware) was a “sacrifice” that played in my favor! I dine like a queen at work:
11. Warm Fuzzies
The best thing you can do for chipmunks? Love. Love them, love yourself, and love the land we share.
P.S. – Yes I did.
22 thoughts on “Save the Earth! It’s the only planet with chipmunks.”
Thank you, Beth!!
you is funny… and you is smart. Thanks.
And you is kind. Thank you!!
Excellent! I am all for cloth napkins especially! And by the way, I love the idea of putting NSFW as part of your credentials! I’m doing that from now on!!!!!
Do you know I only learned what “NSFW” meant LAST WEEK? Just in time to Google “nut milk bag.”
Man, every time I think I’m doing a-okay on helping the environment, there’s more stuff I’m slacking on! Strangely enough, the biggest struggle for me won’t be not buying new things (second-hand for life baby) but switching from paper towels. I LOVE paper towels. I’d say you can pry them from my cold, dead hands, but I’m afraid that actually might happen.
The paper towels are so hard!! I have a bunch of things I’m still struggling with – especially how much I still rely on my car. I will say, after a year and a half of using hand towels for EVERYTHING, I don’t miss the Bounty at all, but you will still find me at Starbucks, having driven there in my car. Baby (chipmunk) steps, right?!
Hey, I feel you! I’m reliant on my car too.
I don’t do all those things, at least I don’t think so, but I do several. I reuse plastic bags, boxes (Amazon, especially), books, and other paper and plastic wrapping items by making my packages to sell my Amazon books and things from my shelves and the local library’s to ship in. It is not a money intense thing (I save, but not hundreds and it takes time), but I know it helps and, heck, I am early-retired, why not? I also drink only unsweetened Almond Milk (and some decaf at Cracker Barrel) and bottled water. Also, I use a vegetable-based cheese from Mejier’s that is wonderful. So, yeah, try some things out. I love cheese and do eat some regular, but this veggie cheese tastes just great.
This is very impressive, Scott! I’m off to Google Mejier’s cheese!
If you can’t find it, ask and I will go look it up.
Yes! Great tips…. if we can get away from always buying new, we’d cut down on natural resources being used. I just bought a used Royal vacuum for $50 that performs better than the mostly plastic Dysons at 10x the price. It’s mostly metal and cloth and will outlast the Dyson – and most likely me. Cars are another big one. Too bad our economy is built on buying shiny and new.
Question though – isn’t almond milk problematic because of the obscene amount of water and other resources used to grow them?
Your vacuum could kick my vacuum’s ass! I really believe “not buying new sh*t” is one of the most impactful choices people can make. High five! (I finally started to realize how much money I’m saving, too! Double high five!)
Such a good question re: almond milk! So many “better” options are rife with their own set of things to consider, almond milk included for the reasons you mention. I’m pretty sure I could Debbie Downer anything at this point, so I just try to weigh the pro’s and con’s and encourage “better” when “best” is a stretch. (In my mind, ANY plant-based milk is better than dairy milk, for cows’ and human health’s sake. Plus, I think folks willing to try almond milk [it seems to be the most popular] are more apt to consider other options in the future. I think they’ll be making milk out of those wafer napkins soon!)
P.S. – Side note: Westsoy soy milk (unsweetened) is my favorite. (Let the Great Soy Debate begin!)