In January I confessed that I wanted a long-term future. I also confessed to using ceramic mugs and avoiding polystyrene foam. My theory behind the confession was that we control only our attitudes and choices. To test this theory I have engaged people in workshops I'm calling Greener Living here locally. It is a very simple logic that I am using to help people buy in to the green movement (if you will). For me it is simply conservation ethic, but buzz words seem to be the way of today, so I'm in.
The important part is to engage people to think about what effect their choices and attitudes have on others and the rest of the world (butterfly effect). It's daunting, really, so I'm mixing it with some hands-on DIY efforts to use less of the harmful chemicals to do the cleaning jobs that really only require elbow grease and patience.
Example: In the last workshop we learned about using salt, lemon juice, and cornstarch to shine up some old brass candlesticks. We mixed it, applied it, then scrubbed a bit and the folks were making those satisfied noises one hears when something works. Now, it didn't shine them up to looking new, but had we left the paste on for a while before trying to scrub, I am confident the result would have been much better.
In the end they were interested in what else they could do with safer cleaners, so a short discussion ensued and we are going to try making shampoo and laundry detergent this next round.
I am experimenting with the shampoo now, eager to get away from the chemicals I can't pronounce (like phthalates-linked to reproductive and developmental harm, and synthetic musks-linked to hormone disruption and build up in our bodies) and those which cause so much environmental damage (Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) that I find it embarrassing to confess that my household still uses them.
I hope you will give some more thought to your own choices and attitudes along with us. Send me some feedback if you would like the recipes we use and our opinions.