I’m Cleaning My House With What?!

Check out my latest article. Then allow me to explain what prompted it.

Perhaps it’s just what they say about growing old: Some of your personality traits tend to become accentuated — the moody become downright grumpy, the frugal pinch even more pennies. I’ve become more environmentally conscious (amongst other things, but that’s the trait I’m choosing to highlight here). What started with recycling back in the early ’80s has turned into planting trees after every plane flight and, just recently, replacing almost every one of my commercial household cleaners with homemade, environmentally friendly versions.

Some of the concoctions — I tried almost every trick I mention in the article — were surprising, most notably the furniture polish made of lemon juice and olive oil, which looked more appropriate for that night’s pasta than my precious wood armoire. But I was shocked how well it worked. Even my real-wood Ikea products look tons prettier. And the boiling baking soda trick worked such wonders in the microwave that several of my friends scurried home to try for themselves.

One of the sources I didn’t mention in the article came from the UK Guardian, which I omitted due to the tendency of newspaper URLs to change frequently and, therefore, cause a dead link in my copy. Here it is, dead link in my blog be damned: http://environment.guardian.co.uk/ethicalliving/story/0,,1994096,00.html. I’m actually quite impressed with the Guardian‘s Ethical Living section in general and am wondering if it’s just the publication’s stance or a reflection of the country’s increasing environmentalism that prompted the addition to the paper.

What else have I been doing to reduce my carbon footprint? As much as I can, which I still feel isn’t nearly enough. Sure, I bought a Prius, but I’ve doubled my commute, and I haven’t cut my fuel consumption in half. I take the stairs instead of the elevator, have replaced most of my paper-towel use with reusable cloths, started practicing more-conscientious shopping (e.g., choosing items with less packaging, local produce, animal-friendly companies), etc. But what the hell else can you do, aside from dropping out of society and joining an island tribe (which I haven’t entirely ruled out)?

I’d move, in order to cut my commute, but that would mean living in the Valley. And that’s going too far, even for me.

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