Sunday, September 26, 2010

Going Green

As a homeschooling teacher we have spent a lot of our energy learning about current affairs in the world. The decline of the ice caps is a big concern for us as family and should be a global concern. This adventure started about 3 years ago for us. My son A who is a very hands on learner (don't know your learning style? find out for yourself here) also known as a tactile or kinesthetic learner, likes to build or do things in order to fully understand them.  

Our knowledge slowly grew from one thing to the next. We started by learning all about planned obsolescence when we watched The story of Stuff by Annie Leonard. We love all of Annie's videos, they tackle complex problems with a very clear understanding that even my youngest can understand. We as a family feel it is very important to cut back on the "stuff" in our life. Do we really have to have that latest gadget? We feel that if we don't step up and cut back on those things we don't need to have we are simply compounding a problem that was started decades ago and has just boomed to a point where we are all drowning in "stuff". 

So as I was saying we started this project because my son A wanted to get his hands on some projects. We started learning about solar power, & solar energy. Since we live in a rental we can not build solar panels and live with solar energy producing most of our electric needs, yet! We actually are discussing ways to build a portable solar panel system that can at least do part of the energy work for us. That is still in the works for now. A great book on solar is Power from the sun: a practical guide to solar energy.  We started simple though and built a small solar oven, kinda like this. The biggest problem we had with this was location. Our backyard is covered with a pergola and does not offer a lot of good sunlight locations. 

In the grand scheme of things we are working towards becoming more green, not because its cool or the 'in thing' to do but because it is the right thing to do. We carry our own water bottles when we can, we do not buy non essential items, we shop in thrift stores when we can, we do not shop in box stores if we can shop anywhere else first, we do try to fix what we can on our own first. Living green does not mean you can't have nice things, or that you have to give up modern convenience. It does mean that you have to be aware of the cost of those things. We are a small car, one car family right now. We do not do a lot of travel right now because we feel strongly that our dependency on oil is not healthy. If we could get a car that was diesel and then convert it to bio-diesel or veggie oil we would like to travel all over the united states on grand adventures, but for now we are doing our part. 

We all need to remember that this is our planet and if we keep polluting it with toxins all over the place then we eventually will have no where else to live. I personally want the beauty of this world to survive so I can take more pictures like these:

plum tree in bloom this spring
The Sutter Buttes California

sunset from my backyard

Canadian geese flying in front of moon

natures bird bath

ocean after a storm in Fort Bragg California

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