It matters. It matters how we use the few dollars, renminbi, baht, pounds, euros, and pesos that come and go through our hands. For our health and that of our planet, it matters how we clean our vegetables and our floors. Seeking justice is as close as the next “buy now” click, and walking humbly with God is as simple as being mindful of what resources we use or pollute. Here’s a list of ten products, habits, and resources for a developing lifestyle of conservation.
1. Reusable Produce Bags. Many of us have made the switch from plastic to canvas reusable shopping bags for lugging those groceries home on bikes and shoulders. But what about all of those plastics cradling the colorful produce we pick up from the vendors in our streets and markets? The link will take you to the ones I’ve been using hard for years and that are still going strong. Since I purchased them it seems there are many more options, some of them significantly cheaper.
2. Fruit and Vegetable Wash and Bamboo Vegetable Brush. I adore street vendors and markets teeming with fresh produce, but I don’t know where the stuff came from or how it was grown and most of it still has the dirt on it when I get it home. Use these tools to clean it up. The wash is in a pack of three, which could last until I send my preschooler off to university. A bottle makes a great gift for other expats.
3. Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck. A guide and reference. Thorough but simple, this book revolutionized the way I think about keeping house and the connection to making it home. Then it told me how to do it better.
4. Cloth Rags/Wipes and a Vented Basket (one that allows air to flow). I just started a load of rags in hot sudsy water. I do that approximately twice a week. When they’re washed and rinsed I’ll hang them up in the sun to dry. The only disposable paper we purchase anymore is toilet paper. Keep the basket in the kitchen next to the trashcan. Spill something? Grab a rag or ten, wipe it up, rinse it out, and drape it over the edge of your basket. Need a napkin? Grab a wipe. After dinner, collect and toss them all in the kitchen basket. Tissue? You got it. I like prefold cloth diapers for cleaning and wiping up spills and cloth baby wipes for tissues and napkins.
5. White Vinegar is an all-purpose cleaner, disinfectant and odor neutralizer. Fill a spray bottle and keep it handy.
6. Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices by Julie Clawson. If you’re concerned, but feel overwhelmed by the complexities of the issues and conflicting information, this faith-based book will launch you into can-do land.
7. Shop Equal Exchange for coffee, chocolate and gifts. They now have chocolate chips!
9. Serve God Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action by J. Matthew Sleeth, MD. The increasing number and severity of diseases due to environmental decline unsettled Dr. Sleeth. He became a believer in Jesus and set to work restoring a groaning creation. This book is full of interesting stories, compelling explanations, inspiration and practical instruction. The audible edition frees up the hands and the time.
10. Yummy Earth Lollipops. Keep these stocked for treats and give them as very popular gifts. I love to say, “Yes!” when my kids say, “Can I have a sucker?” The pomegranate pucker is my personal favorite. A stash for a road trip or international flight is at the top of my must-have list.
What are your favorite products, habits and resources for living clean, green, and not-so-mean?
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