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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Looking back

Looking back I see that doing a few little things can make a big difference.

About 25 years ago a couple of guys were walking in our neighborhood passing out these new long lasting light bulbs that at the time they claimed would last 7 to 10 years. Mine lasted about 8. Years later when I started seeing similar bulbs in the stores they were about 5$ a bulb but when I could afford it I changed out the bulbs in my house as the old bulbs burnt out. Now they are cheaper and I have them all over my house saving tons of energy. I see them all over now. It is nice to see other people catching on and catching up. Who would have thought changing a light bulb could save energy and help the environment?

Nearly 23 years ago I was working full time and pregnant with my third child. As a matter of necessity I began doing the prep work for a weeks worth of cooking every Saturday morning. We could not afford to eat out and I had limited time and energy so cooking needed to be quick and easy. I'd check the sales and make a menu. Then I'd make a shopping list for the foods we planned to eat. After we got home I began to do as much prep-work as I could. I'd chop, peel, grate, boil, steam, brown, parboil, mix, blend, and create everything I could in advance. For instance if ground turkey was on sale we'd have three or four meals with ground turkey like tacos, turkey meatloaf and a casserole. If the sale was really great I'd buy and cook enough for even more meals and save it for a future week. The meatloaf casseroles and meat in general can be precooked, seasoned and frozen until the night before you plan to eat it. Just warm it up and serve. The whole process took about an hour or two including shopping.I later learned keeping a full and well used freezer uses less energy than and empty freezer and actively eating this way means you never look at that frozen chunk of freezer burn and wonder what it might have been as you throw all that money away. I never felt bad about not affording to eat out since we saved money. We were able to eat fresh healthy food every night in as little as 10 minutes. Who would have thought trying to save money could mean eating better and reducing energy costs?

A little over 15 years ago I became the single parent of my five awesome kids. We had a power mower that quit on me and I could only afford a push mower. I discovered I liked to be able to go out and mow in the very early hours of the morning and not wake my kids or disturb the neighbors. Soon I discovered I was not having to wait til I could afford a gallon of gas and some oil to be able to mow. On reflection today I think of not only all the fossil fuels I have saved and the pollution my mowing did not emit but the calories I burned by doing it the old fashioned way. I still use a push mower. Who would have thought mowing the lawn could have so many benefits?

If we all did just a little thing here and there to change our lives we could potentially have an impact we never even imagined.