Posts Tagged 'green lifestyle'

Heating Our House With Biodiesel

I got up at 5 this morning and immediately put on my fleece pants, top and socks. (It’s a bummer that fleece is so great when it’s derived from petroleum). I was still cold so I turned the heat on — not petroleum.

Thor and I have almost pure biodiesel (B99) in our oil furnace. We bought it from Star Oil, who bought it from SeQuential Biofuel. So we’re heating our house with used vegetable oil from restaurants and Kettle Foods. Recycling on a new level. And it reduces our home heating’s carbon dioxide emissions by 73%.

Our only claim to any sacrifice here is that we paid slightly more for biodiesel, and have had some fuel pump challenges. If you know where to find a fuel pump specifically designed for B99, please tell me where in the comment section below.

Biodiesel, I have finally figured out, is a different animal from ethanol, with a much lower carbon footprint. I’ll devote a future post to that. But right now, I have to work on firming up my carpool plans for my first day of work at ODOT on Tuesday.

The Happy Land Of Both/And

Today’s post is a brief one as I sit here at Stumptown Coffee in southeast Portland, Oregon. I’m sipping from a real mug instead of a disposable cup. Have you ever noticed how much more sensual the porcelain feels against your lips than a flimsy paper cup? How pleasing its warm weight is in the palm of your chilly hand on a winter morning?

It turns me on, to be honest.

Which brings me to the land of both/and. The mug is both the more sustainable choice for the earth AND the more pleasing one for the individual. The idea of having to choose EITHER the green path OR the fun path is often a false dichotomy. Don’t buy into it. Think both/and.

Which brings me to my recommendation of the day: the blogsite of a very cool guy in New York City practicing a low-carbon lifestyle. He believes in both individual action and larger political action to effect the changes we need to keep this whole civilization experiment on its feet. He’s also quirky and funny. Visit him at No Impact Man.

Top Five Tips On Breaking Free of Credit Cards

In my last post I talked about overspending with credit cards and overspending the earth’s resources needing a similar solution: live happily within our means. It feels so much better this way, believe me.

Here are my Top Five recommendations for how to break free of credit cards, based on how I did it. (Note: If your debt comes from medical expenses or not earning living wages rather than consumption choices, these won’t necessarily apply to you.)

1.) Hang out with people who are good with money and live within their means. Learn all you can from them. Behavior is contagious. Tell them your goal is to stop using your credit cards, and ask for their support.

2.) Track everything you spend. An Excel spreadsheet works well. Use categories, i.e. clothing, utilities, groceries, eating out. Be curious and analytic; solve the mystery of where your money goes. Refuse to be a victim. Money is about constant choices.

3.) List exactly what triggers your using credit cards — then avoid the things on the list. Examples: going clothes shopping with Annie; eating out because there’s nothing good in the refrigerator; shopping on the Internet while at work. Vow to your friends you’ll not shop with Annie, will buy appealing groceries, and will simply work while at work. Tell them later about your follow-through (you’ll be motivated to keep your commitments).

4.) Make a long list of low-or-no-cost things that give you satisfaction or joy. Specific is good. Examples: walking in parks, reading mysteries from the library, trading child-care with Cindy, cooking fish, having Mike and Zoe over, fixing bicycles, giving away your unneeded clothes, playing board games and 20 Questions. Schedule these things into your life, making them replace your old credit card activities.

5.) See life without credit cards as making you happier and also a better user of the earth’s resources. Consider this website and program that offer excellent tools on money management.