A Day in my Green-ish Life

I like to consider myself green. I try to live as sustainably as I can, and I am working to reduce my impact. So what does a day in my life look like, and how do my environmental sensibilities figure into it? Read on to find out.

I wake up in the morning before I’m strictly ready, because my toddler Jacob is climbing all over me. I have two children, which is arguably not a very green choice. But they are here and I love them, so that’s not going to change.

It’s Sunday, so today is farmer’s market day. I gather my carbon-producing offspring, and my re-usable produce and grocery bags. I love the farmer’s market because the food is fresh and local, which reduces its carbon footprint. Also, it comes with little or no packaging, so I’m not left with reams of plastic to throw away.

Re-usable bags

The Flour Peddler was at the farmer’s market. He converted an old bicycle into a pedal-powered flour mill. Carbon neutral flour! I bought some freshly-milled local spelt and some hand-cut local oats.

The Flour Peddler

I also bought bread, a birthday gift for a relative, tomatoes, cucumbers and some local organic hazelnuts.

Scooping local, organic hazelnuts into my reusable bag

Just outside the farmer’s market we found a salmonberry bush, and the kids and I couldn’t resist sampling. I love wild berries – they’re like the ultimate local food, and they’re free, to boot.


Jacob enjoys his salmonberries

At home I am working on toilet-training my toddler, Jacob. It’s kind of tedious and awfully messy, but in the long run I think that having him out of diapers will reduce my carbon footprint. Right now I’m using cloth diapers to reduce the waste, but if I didn’t have to wash them that would save water and energy.

I considered the environment in some of my other actions on that Sunday. I recycled and composted. I drank tap water and wore second-hand clothes. I worked in my garden and I even checked out some bicycles. I’m hoping to buy one, and I visited the bike store to help me get an idea of the type of bike I’m looking for. It’s a little shallow, but I’ll admit that my conclusion was I’m looking for a pretty bike.

Bicycle shopping

My day certainly wasn’t all green The kids and I drove to the farmer’s market, because it’s well outside of walking distance and if I were to take transit, it would be 48 minutes in just 1 direction. This is the major downside to living here in the suburbs. I also accepted a lovely mesh bag to hold the birthday gift, just because it was nice, even though I didn’t really need it. I am not perfect.

The environmental impact of my choices does affect my daily life, in big and small ways. And probably in ways that I don’t even think about. Is it enough? I’m not sure. But I choose to concentrate on the positive, and strive for improvements. Beating myself up is just no help to anybody, not even the Earth.

What about you? What sorts of choices do you make in your daily life to reduce your environmental impact?

This blog post was inspired by the Green Moms Carnival, which is hosted by the fabulous Beth who writes about plastic-free living over on My Plastic-free Life. Check out her blog on June 21 to see all of the carnival submissions.

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  1. I take the train to work, which apparently reduces my carbon footprint. We’ve gone down to one car (okay, one’s in storage, so we still have it, but it’s not running except for the once a month I start it up to move it around).

    I use reusable containers to pack lunches. I read books on my iPod touch so I don’t have to buy books. I converted all my bills to e-bills.

    Oh and we buy local as much as possible. I can’t wait for berry season. 🙂

  2. well done! i’m a firm believer in letting all the ‘little’ actions stack up – they do make a difference.
    i’m also a firm believer in ‘not getting something for nothing’ and as you point out, each choice we make has repercussions ie. water and electricity to wash cloth diapers, using transit and taking chunks of time in the day, and so on.

    i’m also niggled that green work tends to be women’s work, or more to the point, a mummy’s job. adding yet another task to the daily list of what a good momma is meant to do. IMO fathers don’t seem to get much involved in the family’s green initiatives until the mother has set them in place

    and PS: i giggled when i realised it’s my neighbour Rosie peddling the flour mill!
    pomomama aka ebbandflo’s last post … friday forte: SAHM, the myth vs realityMy Profile

  3. I’m planning to start at least one new green habit each month (and blog about it). June is the first month of my project, and I just finished making my own laundry detergent. I have washed a couple loads, and so far, I’m reasonably happy with the results, but I may try out different detergent recipes in the future. Like your desire for a pretty bike, it’s superficial, but miss the “clean” scent of store-bought detergent!
    We live in a very small apartment, but we have a nice big patio, so hubby’s project is growing his own herbs in pots – we’ll see how it goes! We also love the farmer’s market.
    Thanks for the inspiration, Amber!
    Amanda’s last post … Anecdotal "Evidence"My Profile

  4. Trying to stop my blog lurking and start leaving comments.

    Love this post, and definitely all those little things add up. I too am looking forward to the summer farmer markets and more outdoor, green activities with my lil one.

    One thing a friend of mine introduced me to (when not cooking organic at home 😉 ) was taking tupperware or reusable containers to sushi take out (or any take out really), they don’t bat an eye, and as a bonus I always get more edamame so another tip– bring big containers, they will fill ’em up! Same goes for restaurants you know you will need a doggy bag for!


  5. You’re amazing! I still have so, so far to go. We compost, use reusable containers instead of ziplocs as much as possible. We garden and we recycle as much as our small recycling depot here will allow. My biggest project right now though is learning to make from scratch what we used to buy from the store. I’ve learned to make my own pita chips, next up…learning how to make my own pitas…
    Kimberly’s last post … SnatchedMy Profile

  6. I feel like I’m green at heart but in practice, I have a few blind spots. Of course, I always use cloth bags but sometimes not (when I forget). I walk almost everywhere and prefer to shop up the street so I can walk with the baby rather than drive (but sometimes we drive if it’s far enough away). I drink only tap water and am passionate about water fountains. We use disposable diapers most of the time but somone gave me some cloth pullups so that’s on the agenda. We compost of course. We grow herbs, fruits and veg in our backyard, and I try eat seasonally and locally in the summer (but I have hard time resisting mangos). We have a pushmower. Weeat in most of the time and I prefer to go out for food rather than do takeout as the garbage is appaling (but we do do takeout on occasion). Baby’s clothing are still hand-me-downs and everything from crib to car seat are second hand. Maybe I should be blogging this…!
    harriet Fancott’s last post … Mamaaa! Glee wraps up with a quickie adoptionMy Profile

  7. We compost and recycle. We often wear second-hand clothes. We drink tap-water and line-dry our clothes. When my boys were babies, I nursed and used clothe diapers. We are members of a community garden from May until November. We try, we don’t always succeed, but we try!
    Earth Muffin’s last post … Just FYI…My Profile

  8. My new addition is thin mesh bags for produce at the grocery store. Super light so they don’t add much when the veggies get weighed. I’ll get to try them out this weekend!

  9. I am incredibly jealous of your farmer’s market. Our old one never had flour, or cakes, or gifts. Often, someone was there selling bananas and oranges, as if they could possibly grow in Northern OK. I can’t even find a faermers market down here now. 🙁
    Summer’s last post … Always Check Your Own Backyard FirstMy Profile

  10. I love how easy you make living green sound. It really *is* easy but I think there are still a number of people who think it takes too much effort. Your life sounds a lot like mine minus the flour peddler. I want him to come to my town!! He’d make the 100 mile diet so much easier!!

  11. Thank you for your honesty, and for keeping it real. Hope you find a pretty bike soon!
    Francesca’s last post … Sunday biodiversityMy Profile

  12. I love salmon berries!!

    We try to be as green as possible, but we don’t think about it a lot. We just evolved into living this way and it feels right. We compost, recycle, eat vegan, buy second hand, don’t drive, use no disposable plastics that you buy (bags, wrap, etc), we use cloth napkins/dishtowels over paper, try to eat locally as possible, bring our own bags, use cloth toilet paper, a menstrual cup, line dry when possible, wash on cold, make our own cleaners etc etc.

    For us, these we all very easy steps. They have happened slowly, and it is hard to remember a time we didn’t do these things. We have some things that are harder though, and some that are easier. We aren’t perfect. But I am not trying to be the perfect environmentalist, just live simple and gently as possible.
    Amber Morrisey’s last post … Nursing Our Future, by the Holistic Moms NetworkMy Profile

  13. cypress sun says:

    I would love to have fresh hazelnuts down here!!

    Several younger (40s & younger) have taken over the farmer’s mkt concept in my town, and have created a primarily organic option. A friend runs a CSA where he actually delivers door to door in his electric car.

    I love it, and I love to see posts like this one because I’m always reminded of something. Just when I think I’m doing all I can…somehow I’ve gotten sucked into some sort of mainstream convenience.
    cypress sun’s last post … possibilitiesMy Profile

  14. Look like you all had a wonderful time. Those hazelnuts look so delicious. mmmm

  15. My favorite farmer’s market hasn’t started up yet. In the meantime, we are working through our first summer of getting a CSA share. It’s a trade off too because they deliver it to me.
    Condo Blues’s last post … Chalkboard Paint Kitchen BacksplashMy Profile

  16. Amber, I loved your post. it has been so much fun getting to “know people better” through these posts! I would love to see the peddling flour peddler!

    And like you, I’m in the market for a bike. . Sadly, I’m afraid it might be much cheaper to buy new than to fix the old rusted one that our neighbor gave my son. (Which will then raise another green dilemma just in trying to be greener!)

    Thanks for your contribution to the carnival!

  17. I am sending you the get the bike of your dreams vibe, and just know that it’s an investment you will not regret. I have had three bikes in my day – my first was second hand, my second was because it has sparkles in the brown paint and i saved my allowance for it for a long long time ( a good lesson yes?) That bike my mom sold when i went to college, someone is hopefully loving it as much as I did – and then yrs later i bought one to accommodate and commute a toddler – stolen unfortunately. Point is if they are not sold or stolen you will have them forever. I adore your humor Amber.
    karen hanrahan’s last post … Belly ButtonsMy Profile

  18. Great photos! I’m impressed you all can get such variety at your farmers market. Have to admit I’m a little jealous!
    robbie’s last post … Fancy Nancy tea party: Coming soon!My Profile

  19. Your farmers market sounds great. Ours is tiny!

    I have no idea what salmonberries are but they look yummy.
    Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green’s last post … Gift Tips From AnnaMy Profile

  20. Way to go, Amber! You are trying everyday and that’s what matters. I say go for the bike, and thanks for sharing :).
    Katy’s last post … Book Review: Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking FootprintMy Profile

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  1. […] Reason for Buying a Bike: Amber Strocel’s post, “A Day in My Green-ish Life,” reveals that she not only takes the most beautiful farmers market photos ever, but that her […]

  2. […] Reason for Buying a Bike: Amber Strocel’s post, “A Day in My Green-ish Life,” reveals that she not only takes the most beautiful farmers market photos ever, but that her […]

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