Thursday, March 18, 2010

Prioritizing - The APLS post

If you're a regular reader, you've heard me talk about some of the 'green' or 'eco-friendly' things we do as a family, like not using shampoo, using cloth bags when shopping, hanging laundry indoors and out, composting, etc...a while back I joined a group of other bloggers in swapping stories, if you will, at a website called the APLS blog. APLS is an acronym for Affluent Persons Living Sustainably. Each month there is a topic posted and anyone can write in and share their own thoughts on their blog, as a sort of 'carnival' as we call it. This month I am hosting the topic here! For those of you that are 'tuning in' for this post, welcome! If you feel like looking around, you'll find I talk about all sorts of stuff ranging from foster care to my faith, from silly stuff to serious. Hope you enjoy getting to know more about me =) Moving on to business...

This month's topic is about the decisions we make, big or small, that affect our actions as self-proclaimed APLS. How do you decide what gets to be top priority in your green life? What types of activities are a MUST for you, and what gets left on the chopping block?

First and foremost, I should probably admit that 'going green' hasn't really been a priority in our house. We do our best to make God a priority in all things that we do. That being said, I hear people talk about their reasons for 'saving the earth' and things like that and I feel conflicted. On some levels I agree, but for us, we believe God created the Earth and we are merely stewards of what He has provided. This type of thinking drives our decision making on a base level but honestly, on the surface, there are other things affecting our decisions too....Steph at Greening Families wrote a great post about Deciding to Decide. Whatever your reasons for changing your lifestyle may be, it's good to get active and make a difference.
The title of my blog is "The Good Life", which it is, but there are plenty of tough decisions to be made to make this the best life. How do we decide what 'green' activities to spend our time on? I think when we started all this, I was looking for things that my hubby would get on board with...things he would participate in, like building us a barrel composter. I looked for things that were easy and convenient, like inexpensive cloth bags at the thrift stores, or even better - free ones! I wanted to find stuff that would be easy to do as a SAHM with an ever-changing number and age range of kids in the house. I took things slow and we found stuff that we didn't argue about! Well, truthfully we 'found' things that we did argue about, but those issues were tabled in favor of ones that we agreed upon.
As time wore on, I found myself pushing the envelope when I didn't use the dryer for almost 2 years. I already loved to hang wash outside but then in winter it meant lots of clothes hanging in the basement and racks in the hallways. Dave wasn't always thrilled with that, but I made a commitment to myself to keep it going and find ways to keep it from bothering him and getting in the way. This past winter he didn't even seem to notice it! We also chose together to go almost 2 years with only one car. (That has since changed, but that's another story for another time!) I decided to try and bike 100 miles over the course of the year. It was a fun undertaking, but thus far has proved to be unsuccessful! As for Dave, at first he didn't like getting up much earlier to catch the bus, but it didn't take long before he enjoyed the time. How did these types of things become a priority? I think we do them now without thinking...we tried them, there really wasn't any large reason NOT to continue and we found many things benefitted our family in various ways.
As for what kind of things get left 'on the chopping block'? Well, we are trying to reduce our waste in this house, particularly plastic waste. Right now that doesn't seem feasible though! We have 4 kids in the house. I would rather spend my time making the baby giggle, building trust with the 2yo, reading, singing and dancing with the 5yo, and just being there for the 17yo than fussing over how much our garbage weighs or if someone brought a plastic container in the house! The Farmer's Daughter is beginning to understand this all too well as she gets ready to become a mother for the first time.
Another issue that just doesn't warrant the time right now is the car issue. It's nearly impossible for everyone to get to all their appointments, practices, schools and such with only one car. It's not worth the headache. I would rather have a million kids than try to curb our gas guzzling, exhaust polluting ways! I am not super mom! Going Green Mama talks about multi-tasking and just accepting that we can't do it all - yay someone gets me! =)
We are slowly working on changing our diet to eliminate genetically modified foods, crappy meat, sugar, HFCS and out of season produce that has traveled a long way, etc, but sometimes the kids just want a banana and I'm just happy they are eating fruit! We have found lots of local sources for food but we're still figuring out how these more expensive items will fit into our budget. It's becoming more of a priority, but I don't feel like we can just quit our old ways cold turkey without a little help. We're just not there yet, but I am happy w/the progress we have made! Jenn the GreenMom feels the same way because she suggested we form a splinter group off of the APLS group.
It has been such a pleasure to read this month's entries! I have been enjoying the chance to get to know more about my fellow APLS. Thank you ladies for participating and please, if you are reading and want to 'chime in', please leave a comment!


Farmer's Daughter said...

Thanks for hosting this month! I'm glad I was able to participate. Baby Joshua was born on 3/12 :)

Robbie said...

Thanks for hosting this month! And congratulations, Abbie!

Wendy said...

Love the topic for this month! I look forward to participating for the first time.

crstn85 said...

Thanks for hosting. I really enjoyed this month's entries. For me the thing that has lost out in the shuffle of demands for my time is blogging. I still read blogs daily but there simply isn't enough time for writing between teaching and grad school this semester. Perhaps I will join in the carnivals again come summer!

Steph @ Greening Families said...

Thanks very much for hosting! Finding balance in life is so tricky, especially when the needs of multiple people have to be factored into the equation (I write as I try to keep my rested-so-extremely-energetic children quiet so my husband can sleep in a bit).

We're with you on the slow changes. Those are the ones we've had really stick.