Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Low Impact Week update!

Low Impact Week: June 1 - 7, 2007Ok, folks. Here are the guidelines for Low Impact Week. There are seven areas of impact listed below, each one with several action items for you to choose.

I chose these action items as I wanted them to be relatively easy to integrate into your lifestyle for a week. In other words, you don't have to prepare anything too much or invest in anything too special (unless it's part of a replacement project).

I hope you find that these are things that are are easy to do. You can do one or all of the suggestions for each area listed and if you want to go all out, make sure you add in the action items marked with a * for an über-low impact.

1. Reduce energy consumption -
  • don't turn the heat above 65 during the day and 60 at night (put on a sweater and dig out those blankies!); for our southern friends, set the A/C to above 90
  • unplug appliances when not in use that still draw energy when off (like your cell phone charger)
  • turn off the TV unless you are actually watching something
  • use the air dry on your dishwasher instead of heat dry
  • use only cold water in your washing machine
  • line dry your clothes instead of using the dryer*
  • turn off the TV for the week and do something else instead (read a book, visit with friends/family)*

    2. Reduce water usage -
  • take shorter showers and/or use a water saving showerhead
  • turn off the water when you're brushing your teeth
  • be aware of water usage when at the kitchen sink - turn it off in between tasks
  • save the water in a bucket that is discharged while warming up the shower and use it to water plants or for other things*

    3. Change your food habits -
  • try to buy organic and/or locally grown food
  • minimize pre-packaged foods and make more of your own from scratch
  • use cloth bags at the grocery store instead of getting paper or plastic*
  • don't get take-out if it means non-recyclable packaging*
  • try eating vegetarian or vegan for the week (choose your level from egg/dairy acceptable to no animals products at all)*

    4. Reduce your dependence on paper products -
  • print out only what is necessary
  • try out a a 100% recycled TP and tissue brand
  • don't use paper towels; when you can, use cloth napkins or towels instead (e.g. public restrooms)*

    5. Reduce your garbage output -
  • recycle everything you can (for your area)
  • donate used items to a charity (many have pick ups and drop off locations) instead of throwing them out or taking them to the dump
  • compost your food waste and soiled paper products*

    6. Reduce Single Occupancy Vehicle usage -
  • carpool when taking trips or going out to eat with friends
  • take the bus or other public transportation to work and on errands*

    7. Do something that lasts more than a week -
  • replace one bulb per day with a Compact Fluorescent light bulb
  • take your name off of junk mail and mailing lists for catalogs you don't want
  • sign up for an alternative energy plan if available in your area
  • set up a compost bin for your food scraps*
  • set up a rain barrel to capture water for watering your yard*

    In the next week, I'll help you get set up with calculating what kind of impact your Low Impact Week made on your electricity/gas/water and garbage by setting a baseline to compare it to. Some things you won't see a result for yet (such as items in area #7).

    If you have any suggestions of items to add to the above, let me know. Stay tuned!

    And thanks to Sally Mills for some of her suggestions.
  • 37 comments:

    Crunchy Chicken said...

    If you run a blog and want to co-sponsor the Low Impact Week, go right ahead. The more people involved the better.

    All I ask is that you let me know if you post about it so I can let you know if I add or change anything!

    Margaret said...

    Who can I contact to stop receiving all those annoying pieces of junk mail in our mailbox? I always just throw them directly into the recycle bin, but I'd rather not receive them to begin with ...

    Crunchy Chicken said...

    margaret - check out http://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail/index.cfm for information on how to stop the junk mail.

    rachel said...

    As long as it doesn't involve a divacup I am SO in. I am especially anxious to try out reusing the water that pours out while waiting for the shower to get warm. I try to jump right in without waiting but some mornings it's just too darn cold. I'm pretty sure it's still March in Seattle.

    ClizBiz said...

    You are a modern-day, heroine. I will alert the few that read my blog and hopefully, the word will spread ...

    Who knows? Maybe No Impact Week will turn into No Impact Camp which will turn into No Impact City and so on.

    A girl can dream, can't she?

    Gwyn said...

    How about for people that already do most of those things, there is an extra category - pick your own change to make - one that is inspired by NIM?

    Crunchy Chicken said...

    gwyn - yeah, I thought about that, there's a subset of readers who are already doing most of these things I mention. That's why I added the "uber" category. I didn't put anything too extreme in there for fear of scaring off those just dipping their feet in.

    Certainly people are welcome to try something with a lower impact like turn off your refrigerator, no lights, etc.

    If you have suggestions for NIM inspired actions, let me know what you are willing to do :) Plus, it should be something that's easy to set up or do as a trial for one week.

    Then I can add some turbo-uberlow action items.

    Crunchy Chicken said...

    rachel - one day I'll wear you down with the DivaCup. Mwoohoohaa. Anyway, might I suggest a 5 gallon plastic bucket with handle for shower water entrapment? I have one from a local home supplies retailer (wink wink) that works out nicely.

    I then dump the water into my big watering can for watering my outdoor vegetation. It's big enough to dip my small water can into to fill up for watering my indoor plants.

    Some people use their saved water for flushing the toilet, but I'm not quite there. The spillage factor seems too high.

    Sally said...

    Crunchy Chicken--

    this is so awesome, thanks for hosting.

    Along with changing food habits, how about "Try eating vegetarian meals, 1, 3, or 7 times this week?" Vegan too for the uber crowd?

    I do many things like this already, but I'm looking forward to having some extra inspiration toward doing ALL of them regularly. Thanks!!!

    Crunchy Chicken said...

    sally - your wish is my command. I've updated the food habits section.

    Chile said...

    I use the saved shower-heating water in the toilet. The key is to pour it into the tank while it is filling, not into the bowl.

    QT said...

    I love all these suggestions. I already do many of them, but there are a few I cand add.

    Can I just say as a person who has lived in the south that the max I would ever go was 85. Then I could at least still sleep!

    juliana said...

    Ditto to GT - A/C at 85 is about as high as we can stand down here in the VERY warm south. I've had mine set at 85 for the past couple of weeks and it's really pretty warm and humid and hard to sleep at night -- 90 would be downright miserable. You can only take off so many clothes, after all. ;)

    For the less uber crowd, 80 or 82 might be a good goal. Either of those would be better than a lot of people do.

    Or maybe its something to work your way into - start at say, 82, and increase it by a degree a week. This might give people's bodies a chance to "acclimate" to the higher temperature indoors.

    Nada said...

    On the junk mail front - if you have a sticker on your mail box stating clearly that you want 'no junk mail' and the offending material means the company delivering it, is committing trespass + possibly even nuisance - so with the stickers/notice visible, they tend not to stuff your mailbox full of junk mail because they could be liable.

    This is the situation in Australia and it's based on the common law (ex UK) - so in all likelihood applies in Canada and the US.


    These principle are the basis for the anti-spam legislation passed.

    Christy said...

    I made a post about Low Impact week on my blog.

    Anonymous said...

    Annoying pieces of junk mail... if you sign up with Greendimes.com, $36 for a year membership, not only will they reduce your junk mail significantly for you, they will also plant a tree for you every month.

    Also, for the ubers... Treehugger.com has a link for How to Go Green with loads of ideas.

    Susan Och said...

    You can save electricity AND stop annoying your neighbors by turning off outdoor lighting when you're not actually outdoors.

    Cat M. said...

    I LOVE the idea of No Impact Week!

    I'm about to start a challenge on my blog to get people reading their electric meter on a daily basis. Reading a meter every day gives you immediate feedback on how you're doing with scaling back on electricity consumption--helps you to see what's working and what's not.

    (Lest you think my focus is narrow, the larger project is to read gas and water meters, and the car's odometer, but I'm taking it one "natural resource" at a time.)

    Because of your Low Impact Week idea I will start my electricity challenge at the same time and add links to your blog for my readers who would enjoy doing more.

    Cat from
    http://20dollarsaday.livejournal.com/24387.html

    P~ said...

    Well CC, I'm in. I have posted my goals today for all the world to see. I look forward to it. hope to hear from anyone else participating so we can build a little community around this. A little support never hurt, not to mention the peer pressure. LOL!
    P~

    Anonymous said...

    Re: the water bucket in the shower ... if you or a friend has a cat and buys bulk cat litter, the 20 lb. buckets (from Sam's Club, Costco or the grocery store) are perfect for the shower -- and a great re-use.

    SuperKK said...

    I'm in. I'll post goals on my blog later.

    lavonne said...

    I'm in too -- thanks for doing this!

    anonymous said:
    if you sign up with Greendimes.com, $36 for a year membership, not only will they reduce your junk mail significantly for you, they will also plant a tree for you every month.

    I think it's $41/yr now. Nice of them but it really chaps my hide that we have to PAY for the privilege of not receiving junk mail. Grrr...

    Anonymous said...

    Hello!
    I came by your blog through Simple Living blog that I read..

    This is a wondeful idea and have posted the info plus a link to your blog on my own LJ...

    Thank you so much for putting this into action!

    Denise in TN
    http://earthwomyn06.livejournal.com/

    Anonymous said...

    Under number 6 you could put down to eliminate all un-necessary trips in the car. I.E. shop at the grocery for an extra day (or 7) at a time instead of the usual 3 days stash which is the average most people shop at the grocery.

    Excellent Walker said...

    One thing I'd love to see is practical conservation tips for city apartment dwellers. (I read No Impact Man, and it's fascinating, but a lot of what he's doing isn't practical for most of us.)

    For example, if I collect the excess shower water, I have nothing to do with it, other than water one or two small houseplants. I have no control over the heat, for another.

    I'm definitely going to do the junk mail thing, though. Does it work for non-profit solicitations, I wonder? I hate that donating to one organization means 20 more start sending me requests.

    Melissa said...

    While the Greendimes program may be useful for some people with excessive amounts of junk mail, I think of them more as a charity - supporting them is not a bad thing, but not necessary for you to get off junk mail lists.

    The Direct Marketing Association has info about getting off junk mail lists here: https://www.dmaconsumers.org/cgi/offmailing

    Some info from their site: DMA's Mail Preference Service will help to remove your name and address from prospect mailing lists. Members of the DMA are required to use our name-removal service, and other marketers are encouraged to use it. Because some mailings are prepared far in advance, please allow 30-90 days for your registration with MPS to become fully effective.

    Although the typical consumer sees a great reduction in the unsolicited mail he or she receives not all commercial mail will stop. You will continue to receive mail from companies with which you already do business and from non-DMA member companies that do not use our service. In addition, you may continue to receive mail from local merchants, professional and alumni associations, political candidates and office holders, and mail addressed to "resident/occupant." Please note that MPS applies only to home addresses, not business addresses."

    Unfortunately the DMA now charges $1 to process your request (used to be free via mail, with a charge to do it online, now it's $1 either way).

    Additionally, you can Opt-out of pre-screened credit offers.
    If you would like to reduce the number of pre-screened credit and insurance offers you are receiving, visit www.optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-5OptOut (1-888-567-8688) to opt-out of these offers. This is a free service to consumers offered by the major credit bureaus.

    ~~
    I don't regularly post to my blog, but I will plan to post about Low Impact Week - great idea! Will you also be drumming up support for Eat Local Challenge coming up this summer? I will be participating in my new home of Burlington, VT where there is a very big 'localvore' movement. It's an easy, fun and delicious way to reduce your impact through reducing 'food miles' (eco impact due to transporting food long distances)!

    Loving your blog,
    Melissa

    Debbie said...

    Here are some more ideas:

    1. Energy consumption - a) Use a fan and/or open windows instead of using air conditioning (for as long as you can stand it or starting at bedtime if it has cooled off enough). If you wipe your face and arms with a wet washcloth while in front of a fan, you might be surprised at how cool you feel. b) Don't turn the AC on until you get home (then stand in front of the vent while the house is cooling down--it feels so good!). c) If you like to keep a porch light on all night, consider getting one with a motion detector - it uses a lot less energy, but the light is still on when you need to unlock the door or see who has come to the door.

    2. Water usage - a) Don't run the dishwasher until it is full. b) Use buckets of water and a rag or sponge to wash your car instead of a hose. c) Plant native plants in one area instead of grass--it will be pretty and need very little watering.

    3. Food habits - Bring your own (re-usable) tupperware to restaurants if you think you might bring leftovers home.

    4. Paper products - a) Try finding an online source for something you currently have a subscription for or try spending an afternoon at the library (see what they have and find out if you're comfortable there). b) Load paper that is used on one side into your printer. (At work, I manually feed half-used paper for drafts.) c) Use the backs of envelopes for grocery lists--put coupons inside. You can stick these on your fridge with a magnet.

    5. Reduce garbage - a) Find some leftovers in your fridge and figure out a way to use them. b) Mend a piece of clothing you like or fix something that is broken or get someone to fix it.

    6. Single-occupancy vehicle usage - a) If you realize you need just one more thing from the grocery store, try walking or cycling to the nearest corner shop, even if the price is a little higher than your regular shop. b) Think of two trips you normally make separately that you think you can combine. For example, I try to do my grocery shopping on the way home from a place that is near my favorite store. c) Try riding your bike somewhere new or try riding a bus somewhere. d) Introduce yourself to your neighbors or invite them to your next party. Wouldn't that be nice if you could have a good friend right next door?

    And especially for excellent walker, try donating via a place like www.justgive.org. You can say you want to be anonymous, and then you never get any mail at all. I used to donate via my employer until I found out that their overhead was very high, much higher than the 3% and justgive.org.

    Late Bloomer said...

    What a great idea!

    I just posted a list of the changes my family has recently made, along with some activities that we're currently working at turning into habits, and still more plans for future actions.

    Some of what we have done and/or planned i slisted in your suggestions, but you've given me some additional ideas for how we could reduce our imapct even further.

    I will post a note about the challenge and see if I can get some more poeple to join in. It sounds fun and I'm sure to learn a thing or two!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Kendra said...

    Thank you for mentioning GreenDimes- we really appreciate your taking the time to tell others about our services. Make sure to check the site from time to time and see what new ideas we are working on to help make our world a better place.
    Thanks again for the post!
    -Kendra
    www.greendimes.com

    kelley said...

    i'm rocking low impact week over at my blog, as well.
    yay fun!

    TheMaineLife said...

    I love this project. I have passed it along to my readers at TheMaineLife. Thanks for the inspiration. Keep it coming
    ~Ginny

    Marianna said...

    O.k. I'm writing down my goals. Ditch the packaged meals at lunch time...turn off the TV...turn off the power strip for the computer at the end of the night...bundle errands for less driving...simply stay home atleast three days a week!

    From one who grew up in the South, the hot, HUMID south...90 is completely unrealistic unless one lives in a really old house designed for the climate! 82 would be a good start since most keep their A/C set at 76 or below.

    Heather Gray said...

    Hi, I posted about Low Impact Week to my live journal today.

    We already do or have tried most of what you've listed, but I'll try to do even more homemade foods over the week (some weeks I'm better about it than others). And so far we've managed to avoid putting in the air conditioners, even though it's gotten pretty hot here a number of times (western MA).

    I'm also going to try out the 90% reduction, even knowing from the start that we'll go over the gas allowance. There are still plenty of other things we can work on, and travel we'll just have to nibble at over the next few years. I don't know if I can join the ring for that (livejournal isn't necessarily as flexible as blogger, but it's what I already have), but as long as I can read other people's blogs and post, I guess that's okay.

    Glad you're getting so many folks joining the effort, even for a week! Hopefully everyone will want to keep doing mindful living after the week's over.

    Joanna said...

    Hi! Just wanted to let you know, I'm in, too!

    Dana said...

    I found out about this rather last minute, but I just posted my goals. Thank you for the suggestions and encouragement!

    http://magicalrealist.blogspot.com/2007/05/goals-for-low-impact-week.html

    Niobium said...

    Low Impact Week, Nio Style

    Josefine said...

    I'm currently reading through all of your blog posts since I recently found your blog. I realise this is an old entry and I'm not sure that you'll see it, but I feel I need to ask:

    "use the air dry on your dishwasher instead of heat dry"

    What? Dishwashers in the US dry the dishes? Seriously? Here, in Sweden, you just leave it open for a while after you've run it. I've never heard about dishwashers drying the dishes. It seems so strange.

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