Saturday, February 27, 2010

No. 8 Swiss Top Ten: It's Easy Being Green

It's really, really nice living in a place where respect for the environment is totally mainstream. Nearly everything can be recycled here...with ease...and more importantly, everyone does it. People ride bikes...even 80 year olds, women with small children, those with a load to haul...and they do it all year round, even when snow is thick on the ground. When they do drive, it's likely to be the smallest car they can possibly manage and normally only 1 per family. You can get everywhere via tram, bus, train, boat, bike or foot.

Also, I don't know any Swiss who dries their clothes in a clothes dryer. They hang it out to air dry. Outside if the weather is good, inside if it's not. These are wealthy people I'm talking about, folks. It's a choice. It may seem like a small thing to you, but I'm constantly amazed at how many inconveniences such an affluent society is willing to put up with for the sake of the greater good. It's inspiring!

We've been working on ways to green up our home life even more. Here are some things we do at the moment:

-air dry all our clothes. we have no dryer...typical Swiss family! I have a love/hate relationship with this one :-)
-recycle everything (glass, paper, plastic bottles etc)
-reusable grocery bags (have done this for as long as I can remember)
-buy organic food (have done this for years, too)
-use eco laundry detergent/fabric softener
-use natural cosmetics (me)
-natural toiletries for the boys (shampoo, bath soap, etc)
-use cloth diapers (part time)
-use cloth napkins at meal times

things we'd like to improve on:
-less plastic! It's getting harder and harder to buy anything without plastic...crazy! I want to do the majority of our shopping at the farmer's market to try and avoid this
-bathroom cleaning products...the ones i use are fairly eco, but i think we can take it a step further
-shampoo! we're totally mainstream on this one...haven't found a natural one that we like. the next step is to try and make one myself!
-use cloth diapers more than part time (i love them. this is mainly a laundry issue. I need to get organized!)
-less electrosmog in our bedroom. our house has very little electrosmog in general, but our bedroom has too much, scary.

I'm sure there's more. I'm really into all this right now! I'm so grateful for all the environmental lessons I've learned since moving here. It's definitely one of the top reasons to love living in this beautiful place!

What are your green aspirations?

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