An experiment in conscious living.

Commitment #40

“I will buy in bulk.”

We all know there can be tremendous savings in money when purchasing products in bulk; what you may not be thinking about as you make that bulk buy is your savings in packaging materials. Buying a liter-sized bottle of shampoo, for example, lessens demand for plastic as well as the energy it takes to make those extra bottles and ship them to you.

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Commitment #39

“I will (get my brother to) build a solar cooker.”

Much like a traditional slow cooker, you can load up a solar cooker and forget about it until it’s time to eat. The only really noticeable difference is the heat source. Why not take advantage of the solar energy beating down on us all day? It seems even more ridiculous to let that free energy go to waste once you see how easy it is to build one of these cookers out of everyday materials.

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Commitment #38

“I will not let the water run while washing dishes.”

During a typical dishwashing session I gather the dishes around the sink, turn the faucet on and proceed to first wash, then rinse one dish at a time — allowing the water to run throughout the process. It is still unclear to me where I picked up such a wasteful habit. . . all the more mysterious since I never let the water run while I brush my teeth. In any case, I’ve been meaning to reprogram myself to be a more conservative dishwasher.

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Commitment #37

“I will read Food Rules by Michael Pollan.”

Margaret and I have gotten into the habit of sharing food and farming information almost every morning. These daily chats fill me with inspiration; I can’t wait to harvest my first meal! One morning this week, Margaret handed me her recently purchased copy of Michael Pollan’s new book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. It’s a quick little read — 140 single-sided pages covering 64 “food rules” that answer these three questions: What should I eat? What kind of food should I eat? How should I eat? My favorite rule, so far. . .

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Commitment #36

“I will sign up for paperless options for accounts.”

From checking bank statements to cell phone minutes and car insurance bills, it’s become easier than ever to manage accounts online. Some people worry about the security of their personal information, but I haven’t come across a problem yet (knock on wood). It’s nice to know that by making the switch to paperless account management you’ll save trees, conserve water and reduce energy and fuel consumption, but I’ll be the first to admit that the convenience is the biggest motivator.

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Commitment #35

“I will only purchase recycled toilet paper.”

You can imagine that there are a number of significant environmental benefits to purchasing or using only 100% recycled toilet paper. And no, recycled toilet paper is not made from old, used toilet paper. It has been estimated that one ton of 100% recycled paper — which is what recycled toilet paper is made from — saves 17 trees, 7000 gallons of water, 4100 kwh of energy (enough to power the average home for 6 months), 60 pounds of air pollution and 2.5 cubic yards of landfill space.

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Commitment #34

“I will participate in Earth Hour 2010.”

On March 27, 2010 people from around the globe will join together in a single act of climate change awareness. Starting at 8:30pm local time, they will turn off their lights for one hour — Earth Hour.

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