How Green Is Your Valley?
Greetings from the planet Earth, where if you can't reduce your shoe size, you can reduce the size of your carbon footprint.
It is easier being green than you may think. Baby steps, my friends, baby steps.
In our household, I reduced our garbage to one bag weekly. We've increased the number of recycle bins that hold newspapers, towel rolls, pizza-box cardboard, ice-cream buckets and assorted biodegradable items.
I've prohibited the running of water during the brushing of teeth. Lighting means compact fluorescents. Bottled water has been banned, except for state emergency. Laundry is washed cold with eco-friendly products by Method or the Kansas City, Mo.-based Zum (www.indigowild.com). Produce is organic and locally grown. Other food comes no farther than 100 miles.
Sheryl Crow's new CD is not only great music but also is packaged in paper instead of hard plastic. Buy it and send a message to the music industry!
On Earth Day at Target, I bought a tote made of recycled Kool-Aid and Capri Sun juice packs. New Jersey-based TerraCycle Inc. partnered with Honest Kids to sell these bags (mine was $10) that turn waste into revenue. Billions of these juice packs are discarded each year.
If you can't reduce, TerraCycle wants you to reuse, recycle and replenish your bank account. Right on the tote tag it says: "If your organization would like to collect drink pouches and get paid for it," go to www.terracycle.net/brigades. Sounds like a great idea for soccer clubs, church groups and teens looking for community service projects.
Recently, I was asked to speak at the spring meeting of Ladies Who Drink Their Lunch. I spoke about sustainable living.
I showed these socialites a clear, green bottle of spirits distilled in Weston, Mo. It looked as if it could have been sold by wagon as Dr. Hooch's Miracle Elixir. Instead, 360 Vodka's "revolutionary bottle" consists of 87 percent recycled glass ("70 percent post-consumer glass").
When I told these slurring socialites they had washed down their cucumber sandwiches with hooch made with "American grain," their livers swelled with pride.
I'd like to think that Weston's Earth Friendly Distilling Company consists of a commune of Crocs-wearing old hippies who eat vegan, worship at the Church of John Lennon, and subverted capitalism for the greater good. Or some mom and pop outfit north of Kansas City that put to good use that old still granddad hid in the barn from the rev-en-noo-ers. I'd cry knowing it was a bunch of suits with MBAs and living in lofts near the Sprint Center.
Besides dissuading expectant mothers from drinking alcohol, 360 Vodka provides a professorial lecture on greening. As I told the Ladies Who Drink Their Lunch, I'm not sure whether this qualifies the Missouri company for a Harvard Business Review case study or a grant from the Sierra Club. A little old lady with a wooden leg at the lunch said she'd look into it. Bless her heart.
One gal wept when I told her that her gimlet was made from a product that had a seal of approval as "Ancient Forest Eco-Friendly." She said it reminded her of a trip with her late husband to a rain forest in Brazil or Costa Rica.
Earth Friendly claims using their product saves the equivalent of 113 fully grown trees; 48,371 gallons of water; 81 million BTUs; 5,409 pounds of solid waste; and 10,550 pounds of greenhouse gas.
Upon hearing that, one startled maven entered a motion that they agree not only to drink responsibly but also sustainably. Instead of sipping vodka from Russia, Finland or France, they would support small Missouri farmers.
The membership seconded her motion. It was carried, along with a bejeweled patron of the performing arts whose last words were: "Here's mud in your eye, Wall Street. Meeting adjourned."
The old Grey Goose ain't what she used to be.
Rhonda Chriss Lokeman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a contributing editor to The Kansas City Star. To find out more about Rhonda Chriss Lokeman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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