Week 27 – Learn to Can Food

Now that you’ve got your backyard garden planned, the next thing you’ll definitely want to take up is canning. Canning food is a great way of preserving fresh food to last year round (or even many years). Once you get the basics down, it’s fairly simple. It’s a great way to eat sustainably even when fresh food isn’t in season.   The most popular way to can food is the hot water bath method. Basically, you put your cooked food into a jar (making sure it’s hot!) and the place the jar in a big pot of boiling water for Read more…

Week 26 – Share Tools

When I first approached by partner (who is a mechanic and has a natural tendency to hoard) about the idea of sharing tools, he was immediately resistant. How could he trust others to take the same care that he would and ensure that things wouldn’t get broken? What if someone was using a tool that he needed? Who would be responsible for replacing tools that were broken? These are all totally good questions. The art of sharing resources such as tools can be tricky to navigate. Lucky for you, others have done a lot of the heavy lifting! Libraries: Lots of tool Read more…

Week 25 – DIY Deodorant

This week I’m going to give you a challenge – try making and using your own deodorant. This is a zero waste strategy that I started about two years ago and I haven’t looked back. I was super skeptical at first but this recipe got me through the hottest days of summer better than most off- the-shelf deodorants. So why DIY deodorant? There a few reasons: Less waste. Plastic applicators are an example of single use products that accumulate in our landfills. The DIY approach means you can use one of those amazing mason jars you’ve been saving up! Save money. This Read more…

Week 24 – Backyard Chickens

My partner and I bought a house in 2013 and just happened to inherit some backyard chickens. It was such a wonderful experience. I had been wanting to get chickens for a year or two but didn’t quite know where to being. Being thrust into chicken ownership was honestly the easiest way to get started.  The real truth? Chickens are easy pets. They are pretty self sufficient, require little attention, and give you fresh eggs every week. Once you get into the daily routine of feeding them and opening and closing the coop, the benefits definitely outweigh the chores.  There Read more…

Week 23 – Grow Your Own Food

Gardening! How I love you! I’ve had a long love for gardening but am still learning so much every year. Starting a backyard or balcony garden is easier than you’d think and the rewards are well worth the small effort! Reward #1: Let’s start with the obvious – you’ll have your own produce come harvest. Not only that, but I think you’ll find that the taste of your produce will surpass even market food. Don’t ask me why – homegrown food always tastes better. Reward #2: No GMOs, no pesticides, no big corporations. Just clean, honest, good food that came straight from the Read more…

Week 22 – Connect the Dots

So we’ve talked about food; we’ve talked about consumerism; we’ve talked about environmental impact and carbon footprint; we’ve talked about supporting local economies by buying locally. It’s time to connect these issues and understand how they are all a part of the bigger issue.  Author Anup Shah pulls a lengthy quote from Richard Robbins in the article The Effects of Consumerism on the Global Issues. It’s a bit heavy but I think it does a great job of summarizing how these issues we’ve talked about are all connected. Stick with it and we’ll talk about some of the solutions afterwards: Read more…

Week 21 – DIY Hobbies

We all look for different ways to unwind. Hobbies are a healthy way to relieve stress and relax with some self care. One of the changes that really inspired me to become more environmentally friendly was when I started picking up hobbies that taught me how to make things on my own. I found that there was a mental switch when I started to learn how to produce rather than consume. There is a rewarding feeling when you look at an object that you made yourself rather than one purchased at a store: a feeling of accomplishment that beats out Read more…

Week 20 – Learn to Fix Things

One way to keep stuff out of the landfill, save money, and learn new skills all at the same time is to learn how to fix items that fall into disrepair. Household items like appliances, clothing, toys, and tools can often be mended to “like new” status with a little time and energy. Today’s economy requires consumers to continually buy new things. It seems that the shelf life of everything from washing machines to shoes is made to fall apart faster and faster each year. Designed or planned obsolescence is actually a thing which makes me so sad. This is Read more…

Week 19 – Hang Your Laundry

Like many of the approaches to being more environmentally friendly, this week’s topic is easy to do, will save you money, and just requires a bit of planning. Hanging your laundry to dry is an easy way to reduce your electricity bill and takes almost no effort. Another added bonus: it’s easier on your clothes and will help them last longer! Here’s a great article the breaks down the benefits and cost savings. The biggest challenge in making this lifestyle change is that you need to leave the appropriate amount of time to let your clothes dry. This amount of Read more…

Week 18 – Compost!

Oh composting… how I wish I was better at this! I’m still learning this week’s topic, but practice makes perfect so I’ll give you some information on the research that I’ve done and some more information on what I have yet to try.  As an aspiring gardener, I know how important soil nutrition is which is why I started my composting journey a few years ago. I purchased one of the fancy rotating compost bins but I was worried that I wouldn’t get the right ratio of greens, browns, and food scraps. I did a lot of research online but got Read more…