Are you willing to practice greener shades of living? What are changes are you willing to make today?

Vanessa Farquharson, Toronto based blogger and author has caught my attention with her commitment to green living. Check out her blog Green as a Thistle and her book Sleeping Naked is Green. She has an awesome list of over 365 changes she has made to green up her lifestyle… Fun. Inspiring. Thought Provoking!!!

Vanessa’s Greenlist as of April 29, 2009:

  1. Switching to recycled, unbleached paper towels
  2. Giving up my electric heating pad
  3. Banning all styrofoam
  4. Switching to a recyclable toothbrush
  5. Turning down my thermostat
  6. No more bottled water
  7. Switching to organic conditioner
  8. Switching from disposable tape-based lint rollers to felt ones
  9. Eating ‘locally’ (within Canada and the U.S.)
  10. Making all my bills electronic
  11. Checking tire pressure on my car
  12. Not buying a microwave (yes, disputable, see post for comments)
  13. Switching to natural, biodegradable handwash with recyclable container
  14. Switching to non-toxic, phosphate-free dishwasher detergent
  15. Running outside only (no treadmill)
  16. Using tote bags, no more plastic bags
  17. Switching to recycled toilet paper
  18. Cancelling my cable
  19. Switching to corn-based, biodegradable cat litter
  20. Giving up disposable tissues, using handkerchiefs
  21. Using only natural, organic body lotions
  22. Permanently getting rid of any aerosol cans at home
  23. Changing over to natural glass and surface cleaner
  24. Signing up with my local Freecycle Network
  25. Making sure all the lights are turned off before I leave home
  26. Switching to natural body wash
  27. Using chemical-free, reusable cloth static-cling sheets in the dryer
  28. Unplugging anything that isn’t in use
  29. No more disposable plastic cutlery or plates
  30. Not driving my car on weekends
  31. Putting away my humidifier for good
  32. Using a thermos for coffee and tea
  33. No more gift wrap
  34. Changing all my light bulbs to CFLs
  35. Switching to Eco-Dent floss
  36. Only drinking fair-trade, organic, locally roasted coffee
  37. Using only beeswax candles; or soy-based, as long as there’s no paraffin
  38. Returning my wine bottles to the Beer Store so they’re recycled properly
  39. Switching to natural toothpaste
  40. Changing over to a natural laundry detergent
  41. Eating only free-range, organic, hormone-free (and if possible local) meat, restricting my intake of beef and chicken to no more than once per week
  42. Not buying any more petroleum-based bath poufs and loufas
  43. Signing up at GreenDimes.com to block junk mail and plant a tree every month
  44. Being conscientious about how much water I use; only turning on the taps at a “trickle” when washing hands or brushing teeth and keeping showers to five minutes
  45. Using the air-dry function on my dishwasher
  46. Consuming only locally brewed beer, organic when possible
  47. No more using paper towels or hand-dryers in public bathrooms
  48. Investing in permanent laser hair removal rather than shaving or waxing forever
  49. Only local and fair-trade chocolate
  50. Turning off my freezer
  51. Picking up litter when I see it
  52. Properly disposing of my used batteries at a local hazardous waste depot
  53. Switching to eco-friendly dish detergent
  54. Changing to natural, paraben-free lip balm
  55. Only consuming locally grown, produced and cellared wine (from within Ontario)
  56. Purchasing “green” baking soda, incorporating it into household cleaning in place of harsher chemicals like bleach
  57. Switching to natural shaving cream
  58. Switching to recycled (and recyclable) razors
  59. Only using one glass per day for water/milk/juice, one mug for coffee/tea and one wine glass
  60. Spending part of each day educating myself about environmental issues
  61. Using stainless steel rather than non-stick frying pan (takes less time to heat up)
  62. Not buying any more Q-tips
  63. Switching to natural deodorant
  64. Recycling my used wine corks through the Bag-a-Cork program
  65. Giving up gum (especially the over-packaged kind)
  66. Not buying any more makeup remover pads
  67. Turning my oven off for good
  68. Using a natural bronzer
  69. Only buying loose-leaf tea in refillable packets
  70. Switching to natural, organic shampoo
  71. Only filling my kettle with the exact amount of water needed
  72. Shutting down my computer every day at work instead of just logging off
  73. Not using the air-conditioning in my car
  74. Following the “If it’s yellow, let it mellow…” rule
  75. Using matches instead of lighters
  76. Carbon-offsetting all of my air travel
  77. Using only the herbs and spices I can grow at home
  78. Unplugging my whole fridge
  79. Weekly lobbying, letter-writing and petitioning on behalf of various environmental campaigns
  80. Requesting that my in-flight meals be vegetarian
  81. Not buying books from Amazon or Chapters/Indigo; only local, independent bookstores and only when necessary
  82. Purchasing all my music in mp3 format rather than CDs
  83. Getting allergy shots instead of buying packs of antihistamine pills, eye drops and nasal sprays
  84. Making sure there’s always at least one ‘green’ element in the gifts I give
  85. Switching to an all-natural acne ointment
  86. No more ordering food by delivery
  87. No more take-out, unless I bring my own containers
  88. Always asking for no receipt, unless I really need one
  89. Refilling all possible bottles (toilettries and household cleaning products); bringing my own plastic food containers to the bulk bins at the grocery store
  90. Switching to eco-friendly dry cleaners
  91. Using a PVC-free shower curtain liner
  92. Turning off my air-conditioning during the summer
  93. Recycling anything and everything that can be recycled — no excuses
  94. Switching to natural, minimally packaged eyeshadow
  95. Switching to a natural bar soap and investing in a recyclable travelling case for it
  96. Sleeping naked
  97. Using a natural, mineral-based suntan lotion
  98. Not having any more baths
  99. Letting my hair air dry
  100. Getting rid of face wash and makeup remover, using my bar soap instead
  101. Ordering smaller, more eco-friendly business cards
  102. Not using nail polish (or nail polish remover)
  103. Only watering my plants with greywater
  104. Only going to eco-friendly spas
  105. Picking weeds (in mom’s garden) by hand rather than with pesticide
  106. Using gauze instead of band-aids for minor cuts
  107. Switching to natural cat food
  108. Limiting my use of elevators
  109. Using cloths instead of paper towels for household cleaning
  110. Switching to natural hair dyes
  111. Raising environmental awareness through stickers, blogs and other media
  112. Using GoodSearch instead of Google
  113. No plastic barf bags or packages of Gravol when hungover
  114. Natural healing of sunburns (no more after-sun lotions)
  115. Only renting cars from companies that offer hybrids
  116. Cancelling my subscription to a secondary newspaper
  117. Selling the car!
  118. Handwashing all my dishes
  119. Buying tokens for public transit rather than tickets
  120. Only buying cereal in bulk
  121. Using plastic-free, eco-friendly photo albums
  122. Limiting my ironing time/heat
  123. Not using my hair-straightening iron anymore
  124. Composting
  125. Keeping the light in the bathroom off each morning while showering and brushing my teeth
  126. Using the same fork or spoon I’ve stirred with to eat
  127. Not using any more straws
  128. Cutting my hair and keeping it short (so I need less product)
  129. Buying an all-natural kitchen/bathroom cleaner
  130. Using biodegradable pens
  131. Developing my photos in bigger batches/fewer deliveries
  132. No more Swiffer products
  133. No more tabloids or trashy magazines
  134. Only staying at eco-friendly hotels
  135. Only buying sustainable and/or local clothing
  136. Not drinking anymore canned beverages
  137. Not drinking anymore bottled beverages
  138. Purchasing only fair-trade and if possible local flowers
  139. Giving regularly to a green cause
  140. Only drinking organic hard liquor
  141. Only eating free-range eggs from accountable farms
  142. Restricting myself to organic dairy
  143. No more recreational driving/boating/etc
  144. No more gyms, all exercise must be outdoors
  145. Eating food straight from the pot or pan
  146. Fixing something if it’s broken rather than getting a new one
  147. Bringing my own headphones for the plane
  148. Using corn-based BioBags for the garbage bins
  149. Volunteering regularly with a green organization
  150. Investing in eco-friendly cat litter tray liners
  151. Switching to a natural toilet bowl cleaner
  152. No more smoking whatsoever
  153. Buying organic cotton or bamboo bedsheets
  154. Enforcing the shoes-off-at-the-door policy
  155. Using hand-held fans instead of electric ones
  156. Not buying any leather
  157. Making sure my house sitter agrees to the green rules
  158. Only buying eco-friendly jewellery
  159. Washing all my clothes in cold water
  160. Feeding my cat natural treats
  161. Showering in lukewarm, rather than hot, water
  162. No more gift cards unless they’re homemade from scrap paper
  163. Printing on both sides of the page
  164. Not using anymore Wite-Out
  165. Buying all my spices in bulk
  166. Putting a bottle of water in the toilet tank to reduce the amount used per flush
  167. Only buying eco-friendly shoes
  168. Using a hand-held bicycle pump rather than CO2 cylinders
  169. Using biodegradable soy-based peanuts or popcorn when sending packages in the mail
  170. Not wearing a gown at the doctor’s office
  171. Buying and donating clothes to Goodwill and other thrift stores
  172. Not using staples
  173. Using wind-up or solar-powered flashlights
  174. Getting indoor plants
  175. Only using natural perfume
  176. Only getting hand massages rather than using massage chairs or gadgets
  177. Using services like Brown Paper Ticket for shows and concerts
  178. Declining press kits at film screenings to save paper
  179. Eating only organic tubers (squash, eggplant, etc.)
  180. Greening my dating through GreenSingles.com or Green Drinks
  181. Not using anymore paper napkins
  182. Preserving jams and canning fruits
  183. Only buying used sports equipment
  184. Using all-natural, locally produced face cream
  185. Using revolving doors wherever possible
  186. Grooming my cat more often to prevent hairballs (and thus use less paper towel and water to clean them up)
  187. Buying alcohol in bulk (ie. kegs, 2L bottles of wine, etc)
  188. Using coconut oil instead of K-Y jelly
  189. Wearing items of clothing twice or more, as long as they’re not dirty or smelly
  190. Taking smaller notes and using both sides of the page during interviews
  191. Not using toilet paper for peeing
  192. Natural bug extermination, ie. drowning fruit flies in wine or syrup
  193. Switching to a natural mouthwash
  194. No more using the Internet after dinner (unless it’s to update this blog)
  195. Not buying anymore DVDs
  196. Decreasing the margins on my Word documents
  197. Not going back on the birth control pill
  198. Signing up with a CSA for weekly delivery of local, organic produce
  199. Only purchasing ceramics from potters who recycle their clay
  200. Reusing envelopes
  201. Using towels a minimum of five times before washing them
  202. Eating only ethically raised and caught fish
  203. Cutting the end off the toothpaste tube when it’s almost done to scrape the last little bit out
  204. Hanging the Do Not Disturb sign on hotel room doors so housekeeping doesn’t need to vacuum, change linens, replace toilettries, etc.
  205. Using incense or candles instead of artificial room fresheners
  206. Using chalkboards instead of whiteboards or flip charts
  207. Watering my outdoor plants at night instead of during the day
  208. Shaving in the sink instead of in the shower
  209. Cooking at a gentle boil instead of a rolling boil
  210. Using only sustainably made cutting boards
  211. Using water or homemade saline solution instead of synthetic eye drops
  212. Using Lunapads rather than disposable pads
  213. Getting my ice cream in a cone instead of a disposable cup
  214. Sticking to designated paths while hiking
  215. Working from home at least two days a week
  216. Towelling off in the shower before stepping onto the bathmat
  217. Smiling at one person I don’t know every day
  218. Using parchment paper or cheesecloth instead of cling wrap
  219. Only buying wooden hangers, preferably used
  220. Swimming in natural bodies of water, not public pools
  221. Pulling the shower curtain open when finished so it dries properly and requires less cleaning
  222. Turning down the temperature on my water heater
  223. Using cash instead of credit or debit to minimize receipts
  224. Getting cooking smells off my fingers with used green tea leaves rather than soap
  225. Voting for the Green Party
  226. Making sure I don’t pour grease down the drain
  227. Borrowing and sharing
  228. Soaking my dishes overnight so less water is needed to clean the tough stuff off
  229. Navy showers
  230. Letting my clothes air-dry on a rack, not in the dryer
  231. Not taking anymore supplements, vitamins, detox shakes, etc.
  232. Using scouring pads made from recycled plastic
  233. Only buying organic cotton underwear
  234. Making sure to use every last bit of shampoo/ketchup/etc in the bottle, using the “hit and swish” technique with some water
  235. Consuming every part of the pumpkin I carve for Halloween
  236. Going by the 10-second rule whenever I drop food on the floor
  237. Sharing my living space with a roommate whenever possible
  238. Using the Diva Cup instead of tampons
  239. Bringing my own reusable bib to the dentist’s
  240. Setting my desktop wallpaper to black, which uses less energy
  241. Eating my apple cores (and pear cores, etc) to waste less food
  242. Only buying and playing eco-friendly games
  243. Chopping food up extra small before putting it in the food processor
  244. Not using anymore hand sanitizer
  245. Making a Halloween costume/decorations from clothes I already have
  246. Not using Post-It notes; scrap paper instead
  247. Emptying lint traps, cleaning filters on a regular basis
  248. No more Dustbuster
  249. Natural aloe-coated condoms instead of Trojan or Durex
  250. Not using any toothpicks
  251. Not buying anymore cheap umbrellas; using a sturdy big one and sharing it whenever possible
  252. Getting others to do green stuff that I can’t
  253. Drinking green tea instead of prescription drugs when having a nervous breakdown
  254. Enforced quiet time (no radio, stereo or other music)
  255. Using old socks and T-shirts for dish rags
  256. Switching to a natural carpet cleaner
  257. Not using the fan in my bathroom
  258. Properly disposing of electrical waste like old computers and cell phones
  259. Backing up my work with a USB stick rather than CDs
  260. Not bothering with any rubber charity wristbands or ribbon campaigns
  261. Reusing old floppy discs as coasters
  262. Driving the speed limit when I rent a Zipcar
  263. Drinking straight from the bottle
  264. Not using fruit and veggie wash or rinsing things for more than a second
  265. Knitting scarves instead of buying them
  266. Holding my hair up with a pen, chopstick or rubber band from my newspaper instead of buying more elastic bands or other hair accessories
  267. Polishing silverware with baking soda
  268. Cancelling magazine subscriptions, donating extras to the doctor’s office
  269. Buying used furniture and recovering it rather than getting new stuff
  270. Learning to sew and mend my own clothes
  271. Reusing a fake Christmas tree from last year, not buying ornaments
  272. Asking that others only buy me eco-friendly gifts
  273. Keeping my addresses on my computer rather than buying a paper notebook
  274. Using an all-natural shoe polish, like coconut oil
  275. Making my own soup broth instead of buying it
  276. Not using anymore tape
  277. Not shaving my legs anymore
  278. Not consuming anything that contains or is manufactured with genetically modified corn (ie. high-fructose corn syrup, corn starch, ethanol, corn-fed beef, etc)
  279. Not using soap to wash my dishes unless there’s oil residue
  280. Only buying my beans dry, in bulk
  281. Having a regular “inside day”, staying at home and not buying anything
  282. Adding an eco-friendly tip to my email signature
  283. Only drinking fair-trade tea
  284. Not buying any individually wrapped food
  285. No more downhill skiing (unless I carpool there, then haul my own ass up the hill)
  286. Only taking cabs fueled by natural gas
  287. Sticking to organic, raw honey
  288. Using couriers that use bikes, walking or public transit instead of cars and trucks
  289. Letting my dishes dry in the dishwasher rack with my houseplants beneath to collect the excess water dripping off
  290. Hand-whipping my whipped cream instead of using an electric blender
  291. Only buying organic, unbleached cotton towels
  292. Using up my change at the cash register
  293. Using a broom and dustpan instead of a vacuum
  294. Packing carry-on rather than check-in luggage
  295. No more paper towels
  296. Using scrap paper as bookmarks instead of buying new ones
  297. Using manual tools rather than electric or battery-powered ones
  298. Using natural lipstick
  299. Organizing my stuff so I don’t lose things (and therefore don’t need to repurchase them)
  300. Going to the bathroom before I go on the plane
  301. Only using a crank-up and/or solar-powered radio
  302. No more highlighters
  303. Making my own cosmetics and beauty products
  304. Using old books and shoe boxes as storage containers
  305. Only purchasing used kitchenware and appliances
  306. Restricting myself to cold water only for washing hands, face and dishes
  307. Using biodegradable chain lube for my bike
  308. Not buying anymore plastic whatsoever
  309. Choosing to use the subway transfers printed on recycled paper rather than the ones that come on laminated coloured paper
  310. Using a soap dish made from reclaimed chopsticks
  311. Collecting the elastic bands from my newspaper each morning and returning them to the delivery boy/girl
  312. Opting for a green-minded real estate company when buying/selling my house
  313. Only eating at restaurants that serve local and/or organic food, and offer eco-friendly take-out options
  314. Using Coccoina, an all-natural glue
  315. Getting used boxes for moving day
  316. Using organic cotton produce bags and bulk-bin sacks
  317. Framing my art with reclaimed barn board and recycled glass
  318. Buying 100% recycled CD sleeves instead of jewel cases
  319. Going to an eco-conscious bike repair shop
  320. Shopping at green malls
  321. Only using the small burners on my stove
  322. Sending out electronic invites rather than paper ones
  323. Making fenders for my bike from old water bottles
  324. Having a green moving party — using cargo bikes, trolleys. man power and other carbon-free alternatives to vans and trucks
  325. Eating all my skins (potato, carrot, cucumber, etc)
  326. Switching to an eco-conscious accountant for tax season
  327. Only buying handmade, bamboo or organic cotton blankets
  328. Commenting on other people’s decisions that aren’t very green, educating them about why it’s important to consider alternatives
  329. Learning shorthand, so I take smaller notes and thus save paper
  330. Squeegee my shower tiles each day to prevent mildew and mould
  331. Enrolling in a butchering class to confront my meat-eating ways
  332. Only consuming organic maple syrup
  333. Buying a used mattress and boxspring
  334. Screening my future tenants to ensure green practices throughout the household
  335. Signing up with Bullfrog Power, which puts wind and other green forms of power back onto the main energy grid
  336. Using a natural pumice stone to remove pilly fluff from sweaters instead of sending them to the drycleaners
  337. Planning out my routes, double-checking maps and directions to avoid getting lost on road trips (and thus preventing excess CO2 being emitted by the car)
  338. Shovelling snow and using sand instead of corrosive salt or antifreeze
  339. Installing a dual-flush toilet
  340. Buying low-VOC paints
  341. Setting up a rain barrel to collect water for plants, etc.
  342. Not wearing anymore makeup
  343. Using real, leftover wood for fires instead of artificial firelogs
  344. Not running lots of applications on my computer at once
  345. Restricting my diet to food within Ontario
  346. Using rechargeable batteries
  347. Closing my curtains at night to insulate the house
  348. Signing up for the local PeakSaver program to minimize pressure on the energy grid during peak hours
  349. Only buying recycled glass
  350. Taking the most direct flight instead of cheaper ones with stopovers
  351. Using natural, homemade furniture polish
  352. Purifying my indoor air without using a plug-in air purifier
  353. Tucking my pants into boots/socks to prevent them getting dirty
  354. Buying recycled wallpaper and homemade glue, or using stencils
  355. Using a service like Green Map when touring a city
  356. Going skinny dipping
  357. Helping push stuck cars out of the snow
  358. Covering holes in the wall with pictures instead of buying plaster
  359. Writing an eco-friendly funeral into my will
  360. Making my own stamps, or using lickable ones instead of stickers
  361. Writing poetry in haiku form only
  362. Recycling my old running shoes
  363. Deleting all spam and stale emails from my Gmail inbox
  364. Only buying fair-trade vanilla products
  365. Fixing other people’s green mistakes
  366. Sleeping more

What do you think? What can you add? Although her list is comprehensive there are infinitely more ways to be eco-conscious… What practices are you willing to adopt?

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Have you considered making a smaller imprint on our lovely mother earth? In a consumer-based culture what are you doing or what could you do to lessen your personal impact? As I explore some my new roles in wellness, I am more and more interested in how to be diminutive with my use of resources. How can I provide a great product and excellent service and at the same time build an eco-business?

Today I came across an interesting site that promotes green office materials. As a health counselor, I offer a wealth of information in the form of handouts and giveaways. It’s a fun idea that can feel like you are getting a lot of bang for your buck. However, it’s not mother-earth friendly. I realized today I want to offer excellent service while at the same time practicing eco-conscious consumerism.

The brilliance of a computer and telephone based business is that resources are spared in many ways. When my clients and I meet from the comfort of our home we save gas, we save travel time, we save potential purchases when we are out and about. Most of the forms can be emailed and then either saved or printed on recycled paper. However no business is without a paper trail… I want to make intentional choices whenever and whereever I can.

What are you willing to do to lessen your earthly imprint?

Can you offer suggestions for simple green business practices?

MOLD. MOLD. MOLD.

Winter may officially be a few days away but the damp, dank, dark wetness is here. Mold happily blooms across my walls. Do you have mold problems where you live? “The Shoebox”, once home to horses, does not boast quality construction. Cute… yes.  Quality… questionable. Hence I have been looking for gentle alternatives to eradicate the black mold that blossoms like decoration across white walls. I know I can take a bottle of bleach and wipe it off quickly but it feels good to practice gentle Mother Earth friendly choices. I  came across a great article today on National Geographic’s Green Guide.

This is what they say:

“First, determine the point of origin. Mold won’t grow without moisture, so fix things like leaky pipes, dripping faucets and cracks in the foundation into which water might seep. Also remove any “food” on which mold might grow, such as surrounding papers and fabrics.

For smaller problems, try these environmentally safe sprays and ingredients that kill mold. The trick is not to rinse after spraying so the ingredients have time to do their work. In a few days, clean up the dead mold with soap and water.

1. Australian tea tree essential oil (also known as melaleuca) is a broad-spectrum fungicide. It has a very strong smell (too strong for some people), and it is expensive but a little bit goes a long way.

Place 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil in a spray bottle with 2 cups of water. Shake to blend. Spray on moldy areas and don’t rinse.

2. Vinegar is a mainstay of traditional cleaners and effective against mold. Use white vinegar so as not to stain surfaces, and use it “straight up.” Spray it undiluted onto mold and don’t rinse. Vinegar is the cheapest available method of killing mold, besides direct sunlight.

3. Borax also reduces mold spores and is useful for scrubbing cement walls in basements. Cover such areas with a mixture of 1 cup borax to 1 quart of hot water, and let dry without rinsing. Dust off the borax a few days later.

While you can combine tea tree oil and vinegar, don’t mix borax and vinegar. They neutralize each other, and you won’t get the same cleaning power as if you used the ingredients individually.”

http://www.thegreenguide.com/greenguide/just-ask/home-garden/moldkillers

http://www.naturalhomemagazine.com/health/2003-07-01/Fungus-Among-Us.aspx

I tried vinegar today.  Good start. I’ll wash it off in a few days and then wipe the walls down with tea tree oil….

Do you have any other mold care suggestions? What do you use? have you tried any of these options? What was your experience? Were they effective? Would you use them again?