Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Blog Action Day


Today is:
Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

The idea is to get as many people as possible blogging about the environment. Today. Right now.

(I was alerted to it by Lia.)

I’m not an good environmentalist. I do bad things: use plastic nappies, forget to switch my computer off sometimes, leave a bathroom light on at night for kids who are scared of the dark and I love a full, deep and very hot bath. However, since it’s Blog Action Day today I thought I’d note, for my conscience, some of the environmentally-friendly habits I have got into:

1. Recycled loo paper: I have bought recycled loo paper ever since it’s been on the market, or since I became a householder, whichever came first. It’s scratchier, but we’ve got used to having a little less loo-time luxury.

2. We use fluorescent light bulbs.

3. We allow daisies to grow in our grass for the bees to enjoy and don’t use any chemicals in our garden. We are happy to share it with nature and enjoy the company of a variety of birds, lots of bees, a few hedgehogs and a parliament of owls.

4. We participate fully in the local recycling schemes available in our corner of Germany (monthly glass recycling, separation of rubbish into compost, recyclables (paper, metal etc) and compost). We return empties to the shop for a small financial incentive.

5. We share bath water. The kids always share a bath, together or separately, and I either add some hot to that for my own luxury soak or offer my husband my bath water later. Romantic, no?

6. I use my car infrequently. I try to walk wherever and and whenever I can. All kindergarten drop-offs, play-dates, extramural activities take place per leg power. We are also teaching our kids to love their bikes, trying to inculcate the good German value of ‘why drive when you can cycle?’.

7. We’re teaching our kids to love nature. Ollie attends a forest kindergarten, where he spends three hours a day outside. He is learning that a stick and a tree and some chestnuts make good toys, just like cars. They also love technology, but we believe that the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

8. We try to shop local, going to the markets and consciously choosing products made closer to home. It’s not always easy because it’s hard to resist the delicious Italian or French products that turn up, but we are being more conscious about our shopping decisions.

It’s very small in the grand scheme of things but the words that should be highlighted are: participate, consciousness and habit. That’s the very least that we can do on an individual level – develop good habits, be more conscious of how our decisions affect the environment and participate in any local schemes available.

I’d love to hear what you are doing.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

18 thoughts on “Blog Action Day

  1. Me too! My husband gets offered my bath water too. I am not sure I’d take his though..

  2. Well…I don’t drive, I don’t watch TV, I rarely eat or buy meat and I go out a lot which means I don’t have lights on at home or use my cooking equipment so much (this is actually a recognised way to save energy, odd though it sounds).

    Also I download music so I don’t impact the world with a physical CD box or a trip to the store (now I’m really pushing it, I know…)

  3. We’re pretty good. I take baths with the girls sometimes, but the tub is only so big. 😛

    We don’t own a car, and we walk or use transit everywhere. We’re getting better with reusable bags-we’ve replaced 90% of bulbs to the florescents. We compost. We buy local products where possible. I don’t wear makeup. The recycling is mandatory here, so no choice there. I buy natural and organic more and more, when I can afford to.

    I’m trying to wean my family off paper towels-that’s hard. We’re almost done with diapers thankfully, but it’s the one thing I wouldn’t budge on. I’m bad at remembering my lug mug.

    We’re doing ok, but we could be doing TONS better.

  4. Charlotte, you say you are not a good environmentalist, yet you manage to list eight items right off the top of your head. Given more time to ponder the matter, and not just quick reflection before picking up little one from the kindergarten, I’m sure you would come up with eight more things as well.

    I don’t think many (any) of us believe we are doing enough. Yet, the fact that we are conscious of this, the fact we do try our best, the fact we are willing to do more, is rather virtuous, don’t you think?

  5. I participated in this too, Charlotte!

    Oh, and I got your email about NaBloPoMo and yes, I am doing it again this year! (I am insane)

  6. I just cannot get on board with #1. Can’t deal with scratchy paper at all.

    I recycle. Drive a hybrid car. Could do a lot better, though.

  7. I’m with yogamum on number 1 — although I can’t buy the really soft kind, because it’s too thick for the pipes in this old house. We share bathwater here too, but I’m terrible about the plastic freezer bags. I really need them. And I don’t wash them — I throw them out. I do recycle the plastic grocery bags. My trips to the grocery are so full, I have to use plastic. I can’t imagine carrying totes for my grocery trips — I’d need like twenty.
    Teaching kids to love nature is very important — that’s probably the best things we can do as parents.

  8. I am pretty bad too…but here’s a start.
    I participated on the blog action day! Wrote on my blog:)
    we changed our bulbs to CFL’s..fluorescent! It’s great!
    we recycle!- most of the time! (yes we are soemtiems a lazy family)
    we shower almost all days.- rarely take soaking baths.
    we planted 7 trees last year – none this year(too busy with my 6 month old). Bad!

  9. That’s pretty much the same for us, though I missed out on blog action day altogether. Lightbulbs, walking, recycling (recently, dudelet’s been raiding the recycling bin for materials to ‘make things’ having taken the constant admonishments on Cbeebies a little bit too much to heart), showering, loo paper, local organic distributors. Could do more, though.

  10. I am here via the blog action day site. It’s great that you do your bit. Funnily enough, that is the essence of my post for the day too. Thanks for sharing.

  11. OK, so as I was pushing the stroller around today, I was thinking about your post. We also walk everywhere. In fact, when we bought our house, we let a lot of luxuries go, in favor of having a house that was within walking distance to all of their schools, the library, and the farmer’s market. And we do make a habit of walking. Even though my older boy just hates that right now.
    And, when we need something, like ice skates, or new sporting equipment or hiking boots for a school camp out; we make a habit of sitting down with them to figure out another way to “make do” without buying one more thing. That has been the best education overall — as they’re starting to think that way — running to Target is not the first thing they think of.

    And the feed, finally? I’ve had you on my reader for quite awhile. (Thankfully.)

  12. The important thing is to try. Once you master one new thing, such as taking bags to the store instead of getting plastic ones, then it’s time to try something new. Not everything will work, but each change has an impact.

    Oh, and we tried to use the recycled toilet paper. Never again.

  13. I don’t think I am consciously ‘green’ but I do have green habits, I suppose….eg. never leave the tap running when I brush my teeth, recycle clothes as much as possible before washing them, use recyclable shopping bags, walk rather than drive or use the bus, use cloths rather than paper towel, switch off a light every time I leave a room, switch off appliances at the plug…etc etc etc..

    I guess I should try harder.

  14. Methinks the bit about the daisies in the garden may be stretching the truth a little? 🙂

    Very friendly you are – very good, big tick. I will think and action and get back to you on my bit – like using my private plane less.

  15. Hi Charlotte,

    It seems you have still a great deal of actions to perform before becoming a good environmentalist.

    But I’m also very pleased to read you
    – share nature with your kids
    – you recycle all possible stuff
    – you shop locally
    – you don’t use pesticides

    This is really an excellent start!


  16. We live in the middle of the country, which means driving everywhere – not so good, but we plant loads of trees, are careful with our water, use long-life bulbs, use reusable shopping bags, compost everything biodegradable, garden organically, but then we leave a lot of lights on at night as my husband is an insomniac and likes to see where he is going when he wanders the house….!

  17. We now recycle almost everything – paper/card, plastic and tin via a kerbside recycling programme, glass at the local glass dump and organic waste in our compost bin. If we throw away 2 small grocery bags of rubbish a week it’s a lot! I also recycle or give to charity all my old clothes. I use public transport 5-6 days a week (walking everywhwere is just not an option in a city the size of London!) and use the car mostly to do one big grocery shop on weekends. Lights get switched off as people leave the room; we have no tumble dryer and no dishwasher; and I try to limit laundry to one light and one dark load per week. I shower probably about 10 times more than I bath (although when I do bath it’s up to my earholes… but I do offer the water to my husband afterwards!). And our heating and hot water are only on for an hour in the morning and 2 hours at night – not continuous like most people in this mad country! Also, our thermostat is kept at about 20C, not the tropical climate that some people prefer.

    But then I fly home to SA every few months to see my family and all my good works are ruined 😦

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