I want to be the mom who cloth diapers her kiddos, feeds them organic fruits and veggies, bakes my own bread and wears all-natural clothing - but hey, we're on a military salary here.
Though I recognize that over time many of these things pay for themselves, the initial outlay is impossible, particularly when my budget post-bills, gas and groceries is exactly $0. There is no room in our paycheck for large cash outlays right now. (I say our paycheck because though it comes in DH's name, I'm in charge of the books.)
When we got our tax refund (uh, yeah - I filed like five minutes after we received our W-2) we bought ourselves a new mattress (it actually felt like rolling up and downhill when we tried to snuggle at night) and socked the rest away into an emergency fund. When you live paycheck to paycheck, these tend to come up a lot.
To back up a little - we do what we can to help save our planet. I recycle most of the time, and we reuse and repurpose like crazy around here. (Those plastic coffee cans and wipes holders are pretty darn versatile.) I even use an old sheet cake pan thats lost its perfect rectangular shape as a moon-sand station, (and if your kids are playing with it, you know that the stuff gets everywhere!) We are huge fans of freecycle and craigslist, you may remember that I've mentioned that before. I've given away old couches and purchased bedroom sets, and even did an entire spring cleaning with the help of these two sites. We take short showers and only run the washer when it's full. I am pretty strict about turning off the lights. (If you aren't in the room, what on earth is the light doing for you anyway?) I even use old gift-bags to store toys with lots of parts - this keeps the pieces together and makes it easy to tote up and down the stairs. We keep our thermostat at 72 during the day and turn it down to 65 at night on the really cold nights and altogether off otherwise (no worries, people - I keep the kids warm with plush jammies and cozy blankets.) No to mention that we donate, donate, donate.
Even so - I want to do more. And now for the part that is So Cool:
Here are a few places, sites and organizations that can make being a little green a little easier.
Teensygreen I love this blog. Stefani is the kind of person I wish lived in my neighborhood. (Coffee?) Her blog has a great low-key, unpushy vibe, but is absolutely entertaining and even, dare I say, educational?
Do the Green Thing is a so cool Brit-thing that I highly recommend. Videos, ideas, neat sayings, images, games, and social networking, all in the name of eco-conciousness! Rah, Rah!
Miracle Diapers is a non-profit helping to save the world, one baby bottom at a time. By helping needy families with the prohibitive start-up cost of cloth diapering (literally mailing out a start-up kit) as long as they are willing to send it back when done, these people (who are utterly amazing!) are trying to do something about landfill overflow from disposable diapers - you don't want to know just how long it takes for those nasty things to decompose!