Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Shallow End of The Green Pool

Wow. I cannot believe I have blogging for a year now. Well, almost a year. I signed up for my blog a year ago, but then it took me ten days before I actually got around to writing my first post. Sheesh. That's so me, isn't it?

Not much for jumping right in, I prefer to test the waters by dipping my big toe in first. Then I bitch and moan for a while about how cold it is. Slowly I will step down the first step and let the water lap my cankles, all the while making that contorted "holymotherf'erthisissomeseriouslycoldwater" look with my face. Another five minutes will pass before I actually get the knees wet. And thus it continues ad nauseum, until, half an hour later, I'm actually up to my armpits and conceding that it's not really that bad, but there's no way I'm going under.

And then I do. And I'm just as soaking wet as the kid next to me who dove straight in.

Kind of like this Planeteering stuff. When I started out a year ago, I was reading various eco-blogs and I thought, "well I can try to get a little greener, but I'll never be as green as these folks". But I made a small change, almost every single day and look what happened. I do believe I became one of those "green folks". I'm not saying I'm like No Impact Man or Sharon Astyk, because I'm not. I have not dedicated my life's work to saving the planet. In fact, I barely dedicate a few hours a week to it.

And yet, to look at the Riot Numbers I posted earlier this week, it would appear that with making slight adjustments to my lifestyle, I have definitely made a difference. I have markedly decreased my consumption of gasoline, electricity, heating fuel, water and goods. I have more than halved the amount of garbage our household sends to the landfill and I am contributing to our local, sustainable farming community on a weekly basis.

Lo and behold, I have officially gone green. And now I think I'd like to help others do the same.

I know a lot of you are relatively new to my blog and weren't around when I quit using grocery bags or switched to wind power. Many of you asked if I could review the changes I've made over the past year so that you could learn from my successes and failures.

What I heard: "Less work than coming up with a new change every day".


So here's what I'm thinking:

If there are any folks out there who just can't take the plunge into the One Tonne CO2 Lifestyle , I will lead you to the pool and help you stick your toe in. Together, we'll make three changes per week towards a greener lifestyle. And we'll have fun doing it.

Starting July 1st, I'll be kicking off a brand new Step-A-Day Program for eco-wannabes. I'll be rehashing all my old changes, providing a year's worth of insight and information, so that your path might not be as rocky or as steep as the one I took. I'm not saying I have all the answers because I don't. And I'm definitely not an expert - on anything. But I have been there. I have felt overwhelmed by the plight of the planet and unsure of how or what I could do to help.

If you're interested in playing along at home, I've set up a companion Yahoo! site that will let you share ideas, commiserate with others or just hang out in the eco-pool. You can join here.

I'll be providing more information on how the whole program will work (cuz yeah, I don't even have it all figured out yet) in the next couple of weeks. I'm envisioning three posts per week(Monday, Wednesday, Friday) which will, hopefully spark discussion and debate at the Yahoo site.

I'm planning on making each change with a varying difficulty level, so that anyone can play along. For example, if the post is about CFLs and you've already swapped all your lightbulbs at home, then you would move up a difficulty level and will instead donate CFL's to a charity, or convince your mother-in-law to switch, or find a local CFL take-back location and promote it. That way, no matter what your level of greenification, you should be able to participate in almost every change.

It's still very much a work-in-progress and I'd love to hear any feedback you have! So either leave a note in the comments or sign on to the Yahoo Group and tell me what you think.

And, of course, thanks for all your support over the past year. It truly means a lot to me. Hope to see you around the green pool!

Yours in Bloggerspace,

- Burbanmom


organicneedle said...

Happy blogoversary. If it weren't for you I don't know if I would have waddled off the first few baby steps. You gave me exactly the encouragement I needed. I'm so glad you're in the pool. And even if it gets weirdly warm all of a sudden next to you.... I'll still swim with you. I'll even make you a strap on bath towel/maxi pad of your very own.

One question...what is the benefit of doing the new thing off your reg. blog? Just curious.

JAM said...

Sounds great - I've just signed up!

Burbanmom said...

Awww, thanks Orgie! I promise it won't get weirdly warm... but watch out for bubbles - that's totally me.

Great question. The advantage is for all the folks who started reading the blog more recently. They missed all the fun changes I made in "the early days" when my only readers were my Mom, Dad and Mr. G. :-)

Also, having the Yahoo Group as a companion will help to create a greater sense of community for non-bloggers, who really only interact occasionally via comments.

Anonymous said...

congratulations erin! not sure when i stumbled upon your blog here, a while back though, and i enjoy reading your entries regularly now. i'll definitely follow along on this new venture. i like the idea that there will be different difficulty levels. i've been wading in this pool for a couple years now so i'm pretty wet at this point, looking around for some what now ideas. thanks for all your efforts, both on and off the page to help heal this planet, while making our time here healthier, happier and funnier!

gregra&gar said...

"Slowly I will step down the first step and let the water lap my cankles…"

I wasn't sure what part of your body was being lapped, but I hesitated to read on lest I spoil my imaginings. Keep on keepin' on, Erin. ;D

Hit Pay Dirt said...

What a great great GREAT idea! I like the idea of having varying levels of difficulty. I plan to sign up!


Allison said...

I like your style. I tend to join the challenges I know I can do or I am already doing. I think I join because they are fun, I like to talk to other Greenies about it and I know I can do it. But your challenge is unique in that you take it to the next level. Count me in.

Chile said...

Congratulations for swimming around in the green pool for the last year. It sounds like you're heading for the deep end now. Have fun!

eco 'burban mom said...

Sign me up! Though, don't expect me to wear a bikini to your green pool party. And, if Crunchy's swimming in that pool, I'm gettin' out. She's peeing on everything these days! :o) JK - count me in!!

Oh, and Happy Blogiversary!

Burbanmom said...

"Cankles", Mr. G. Like, when a chick's a bit too heavy and it's hard to tell where her calves end and her ankles begin, because it's all about the same girth.

You know, "Cankles".

Anonymous said...

I'm with you!

I started a blog a few months ago, but haven't had time to actually write much of anything. Soon...

Green Bean said...

I have to congratulate you, not just on blogging for a year, but, more so, for coming up with this idea. Probably the only thing that bums me out about the blog world - other than the fact that we all can't hang out - is that folks without a blog don't get a chance to communicate much. The Yahoo group sounds like a brilliant idea. Truly taking it to the next level of community. Building a church or social club or whatever. You are one of those who make living greener all out fun. Congrats!

nashvegas said...

Wonderful! Heading over to sign up right now.

leslie said...

I always learn something here!
All this time I have been calling them "piano legs", and I could have been calling them "cankles"!

Happy One Year, darlin'.
You know I think you're the best.

I will go snoop around yahoo, and see if I can meet the challenge...

leslie said...

"Shallow end of the 'green' pool"
I get it...slowly...but, I get it....

jo said...

What a great idea! I've been wanting to go greener for a long time now, but need some serious external motivation to get past inertia. I've been looking at your first posts, thinking it would be a great idea to follow along a year behind you, but hey, now I won't even have to scroll back. You're a legend, I love it when someone else does all the thinking for me.

Natalie U said...

Happy blogoversary! Keep up with the great info on your blog, and I look forward to seeing your Step a day program. It's a fun blog to read!

green with a gun said...

One tonne lifestyle? Uh-oh, what have I done...

Burbanmom said...

Green w/a Gun... the OTCO2 Lifestyle is the BEST, most succinct writing I have seen to date on "how to be green". If I could follow that, I'd have saved a year of blogging!

But.... I can't seem to do that, so I fart arounnd with this or that and pick away at my emissions.

Hopefully, in time, I'll get there!