What Do You Do That is Green?

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“What do you do that’s green?”

This question was posed by the Peace and Social Concerns committee, on a pin-board outside the worship room for the past several weeks.  It drew 56 response cards, many with several ideas. Here’s a summary of what they said, followed by several interesting or amusing specific comments.

By far the greatest number of folks addressed transportation: several drive hybrid cars, several said they don’t own a car, seven ride bicycles everywhere, and several bus or walk when possible.

Recycling and composting were the most common responses after transportation, including trading or remaking clothes, reusing plastic bags, even collecting chicken droppings.  Five people said they shop at thrift stores, and several limit their buying consumable goods in general. Six people said they grow some of their own food, and three others buy their produce from local growers whenever possible.

To save household energy, four Friends buy low-energy fluorescent bulbs, and two mentioned turning off lights when not in use. Six said they keep their house at 68 degrees and turn down the thermostat at night or when they’re away.  To stay warm, one person suggests, “Wear sweaters and cuddle under blankets.” Several wash dishes by hand and seven dry their clothes outdoors or on a rack or lines indoors.  One family has installed solar water heating.  Two cards mentioned replacing old windows with double-paned windows.

To save energy and water, several said they turn off the water while soaping up in the shower or washing their hands.  Two families even use “grey water” for flushing the toilet and vegetable-washing water to water their plants.

Three people mentioned saving trees by using cloth bags for groceries, and cloth napkins and towels in place of paper.

Finally, several Friends mentioned various forms of activism: educating acquaintances, lobbying, donating to green causes and shopping green, and voting “right.”

Here are some interesting, amusing, or unusual comments:

“Hold wonky tirades about the 3-year depreciation cycle for computers—I think it should be five years, at least.”

“Go on the bus to lots of boring meetings to promote pedestrian amenities.”

“Cremate draped body when the time comes to recycle quickly and easily…no jar—spread me around.”

“Understand why I enjoy nature; create things that are beautiful, will be cherished and saved.”

“We are the Recycle King and Queen of our block!”

“Clammy hands for the planet!  I’ve mostly stopped using paper towels in public rest rooms.”

“I nag organizations (mostly via email) to present transit, bicycle and walking directions on their websites and event announcements.  Amazingly enough, this is sometimes successful!  Look at www.200.org for a good example.”

“Make my Halloween costume out of recyclable items…the ‘eco-couture model’!”

“My work, Urban Hardwoods, diverts trees from Seattle’s neighborhoods from going to landfills and uses the reclaimed lumber to build fine furniture.”

“I’ve rehabbed six old houses, adding insulation, double-paned windows, efficient furnaces and water heters.  I’ve installed 200-300 compact fluorescent light bulbs in the past three years.”

(Posted on 3/4/09)