1. No more bottled water in regular plastic jugs. Drink from glasses, filter your own water, use refillable jugs (see every option at www.reusablebags.com). Do something other than give into those tempting little 12-oz. plastics from the corner store that pile up landfills faster than toys during a playdate.
2. Deputize your kid as the Light Switch Police Officer. Start with lights off and graduate, perhaps, to power strips for the tv. Kiddo can also moonlight as Toaster/Coffeemaker Unplug Monitor if he can see (but never touch) the outlet. They love to point out our failings, so let them, at least a little. (We're sure you don't let the tap run while you brush-a, brush-a, brush-a those teeth. You do?! Add that to the deputy's responsibilities.)
3. Miss the meat for a day a week. (Except you won't.) Toast and eggs for breakfast, grilled cheese and veggies for lunch, special night -- breakfast for dinner (pancakes and fruit)! Didn't even notice, did you?
4. Use fewer paper towels. To cover things in the microwave, use an inverted plate instead. Stock up on rags you can use you clean your counters. Put together a stack of small napkins that the kids can use with their meals. Whew, you just saved a bunch of trees.
5. Stock the trunk with canvas bags. Try to answer "Paper or plastic, ma'am?" with "My own!" Stash a bunch in your trunk or near the pile of shoes/raincoats/mail near the front door. Our kids will someday think going to grocery store without your own bags is as weird as talking on a phone that's tethered by a long, tangled curly cord to the kitchen wall.
6. Do something else. Anything at all you think will help. Just resolve to do X and actually do it. Buy only organic dairy products. Shop at the local farmers' market once a month. Switch to unbleached recycled paper towels. Make a change, even a tiny one, and stick to it. For a fantastic list of ideas, check out the NRDC's www.simplesteps.org site and look at the brilliantly organized "Got a Minute/Morning/Month" ideas.
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