On April 22, 2008, we decided to go green every single day for an entire year. This meant doing 365 different green things, and it also meant challenging ourselves to go green beyond the easy things. Rather than just recycle, compost and reduce our energy, we had to think of 365 different green things to do and this was no easy task. As we reached Day 150, we were happy to have made it that far. It was overwhelming sometimes, knowing we still had 215 days to go.
Everything started for us on April 20, 2008 when we helped organize a large Earth Day celebration in Trail, British Columbia. After seeing the great response we got, my wife Layla and I decided to do something else to educate people about how they can go green in their lives. So, Our Green Year was born. With the idea of going green every single day for a year and blogging about it, we hoped we could show people all the green things that can be done to help the environment. We wanted to push the message that every little bit helps, and anything we can do as a collective effort to help the environment matters.
Over the course of Our Green Year, we completely altered our lifestyles. We now shop at the organic store and buy mostly organic items (even though the milk is about four times as expensive!). We don’t eat beef anymore, choosing the environmentally friendly bison alternative, and we have cut our meat intake down from a few times a week to once a month, if that. In addition, we have given away half of what we owned through websites like FreeCycle.com, and we have greatly reduced our own consumption by not buying items we do not need and asking ourselves purchase questions to determine what we do need.
We have joined several environmental organizations, and donated to even more. Each week we go to websites to ‘Click to Help’ various things like rainforests and seals. Our home is kept clean by vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice, with no toxic cleaners to be seen anywhere within our cupboards. We compost all of our biodegradable food and items, we grow our own vegetables and we recycle everything from tin cans and bottles to milk jugs and paper. Through our home office we stay energy efficient and we even implement costly penalties for anyone caught doing something ‘un-green’.
There is a joy to making our own butter, ice cream and soap scrubs. We enjoy the smell of fresh bread made in our home. Our minds have been altered by Our Green Year. We look around us now at the consumerism that has degraded our environment and realize that there is so much we can all do to help if we wanted to. We are grateful for the chance to have been able to go green, blog about it and educate others.
Both of us feel that the world is warming because of human beings and we feel that the only hope we have is for individual people to begin to make changes. Governments are too slow to react, and as citizens of a democratic country, we have immense power to make changes. If we want the government to invest heavily in renewable energy, then we have to push the government to do so. If we want companies to make environmental-protection a big part of their business, then we have to choose to only buy from environmentally-friendly companies. We have the power to change things and we need to, if we are going to help the planet.
So, what happens now that we are coming up on one year since Our Green Year ended? Well, over this past year we have been doing talks all over Alberta about what we did during Our Green Year. We have a green column in three Alberta newspapers, and we release a weekly free magazine through e-mail that has green news and tips in it.
If you would like to see the original blog with all its posts, you can go to http://ourgreenyear.blogspot.com
To subscribe to our eco-magazine, just fire us off an e-mail and ask to be included in the subscription. We are also on Twitter at www.twitter.com/thegreencouple and on Facebook, just search for The Green Couple to get to our Fan Page.