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What Can You Do…?

POSTED June 30, 2009 4:42 p.m.
Slowly but surely Americans seem to be taking to the ‘green’ movement. Referred to by some as a ‘trendy,’ I will openly admit this is one ‘trend’ I am happy to be a part of.
Leg warmers, jelly bracelets and big hair, supported by Aquanet Hairspray — now these are trends I would have been happy to have skipped.
For me somehow the words ‘green trend’ fit together awkwardly. My past employment has conditioned me to think of a ‘trend’ as something that is not permanent. When I think of ‘green’ living, I like to think of it as a movement more than a trend.
Oh, sure there are cute T-shirts proclaiming one’s ‘green’ status and fancy reusable bags are definitely trendy, but reducing one’s carbon foot print for the sake of the planet — now that’s big stuff.
Once pregnant with my son I started looking at waste a lot differently. Perhaps it was the guilt of knowing I would soon be contributing large deposits into the landfill in the way of diapers.
Our family started our movement toward green living simply by recycling. After years of feeling this was a task beneath me, I started considering the simple lesson this task could teach my son. Living in the country requires us to take our recyclables in to the Oakdale Recycling Center. It is a task my son quickly came to know as ‘Saving the planet.’
I recall one visit to the Recycle Center when Jackson was all of two. We were on our way to Target and I thought we’d stop by and drop off a few bags of recycling. It was mid summer — the heat was high, flies abundant and everyone seemed to have the same idea on this particular day. Rethinking my plan I circled the parking lot and decided to try again on our way home. Much to my surprise my son began crying, “No, mommy stop. Have to save the planet.”
I am happy to report now that we have evolved to composting and have added Pygmy goats to a small part of our property to maintain weeds. Our goats, Bella and Oreo are also great for eating produce that has passed its shelf life, as well as eating clippings from our yard.
I always take my own bags when shopping and if I forget I request paper or carry the items out in my hands or purse. While I realize there are as many arguments against paper as plastic we donate our paper bags to community sharing for reuse with their program.
Grocery shopping is also a new experience as I have moved from reading the nutritional content to the distributing site. I try my best to stay conscious of distributors within a 90-mile radius, which can be challenging, yet I do what I can.
I guess the point I am really trying to make is to not have everyone follow what I have done, but review what your family can do to make a difference. You would be amazed how one minor change, which may at first seem to be an inconvenience, can change the way you live.
Green living does not have to be costly or extravagant. Sure, I would love a few solar panels and a wind turbine, but for now I am happy with my recyclables, my goats and a child who thinks what we do is making a difference. Now, that’s priceless.
So tell me what you can do. Have you altered the way you live for the sake of greener living? E-mail me or call me with your ideas and I will put together a community green section for an upcoming issue. After all, we’re all in this together. No need keeping all the great and green ideas to ourselves.

Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at thammond@oakdaleleader.com or by calling 847-3021.
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