A list with some information.

This is the slightly longer version of the “10 small changes you can make for the benefit of creation” list I made for my church back in April for Creation Sunday. It has some good and interesting information in it so I thought that I would go ahead and share it with you guys.

  1. Eat Local (Grow your own veggies, buy a share in Community Supported Agriculture, shop at farmers markets)
    Info: Supermarket food travels an average of 1,500 miles by the time it gets to your plate. Buying local strengthens the local economy. A dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. You get to celebrate the seasons by eating local in-season food.
  2. Buy fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee and fair trade, organic tea.
    Info: Sun coffee (grown with no shade canopy) destroys natural habitats and cannot be sustained for many years without intensive management (additions of chemical fertilizers and a range of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides). The few studies that have been conducted have found that the diversity of migratory birds plummets when coffee is converted from shade to sun (studies in Colombia and Mexico found 94-97% fewer bird species in sun grown coffee than in shade grown coffee) 1.
  3. Buy organic food when possible, especially organic chocolate.
    Info: Non-organic cocoa is 2nd only to cotton in terms of the most pesticides used on the crop. Exposure to pesticides is being increasingly linked to various kinds of cancer. Industrialized agriculture produces food that is deficient in minerals and nutrition because it has over-cultivated the land. Crops get their nutrients and minerals from the soil that it is grown on. If the soil is not taken care of and becomes unhealthy then the food grown on it will also lack nutrition and health.
  4. Buy products with minimal or reusable packaging or buy in bulk (like the bulk bins at Madison Market Co-op or Whole Foods) and use your own containers when shopping and bring your own shopping bags.
    Info: Around 33% of trash in the average American household comes from packaging.
  5. Start an indoor or outdoor compost bin.
    Info: “The landfill is not designed to help things biodegrade, which requires contact with air and water. Instead, landfills hermetically seal their contents away from the environment to protect it from the toxic things in the landfill that aren’t biodegradable. What this means, is that organic things like apple cores and yesterdays newspapers and cornstarch cups, when dumped in the landfill, either don’t break down at all and certainly don’t end up returning nutrients to the earth or they break down anaerobically, which means they produce methane, a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.”2
  6. Buy recycled paper toilet paper to help protect endangered forests.
    Info: Every day, the amount of toilet paper used equals about 270,000 trees.
  7. Make your own household cleaners.
    Info: The EPA says indoor air pollution is often 2-5 times worse than outdoor air pollution, and harsh cleaning chemicals contribute.
  8. Switch to compact florescent light bulbs (CFL)
    Info: CFLs are some of the most efficient lights available – they can replace incandescent bulbs that are roughly 3 to 4 times their wattage, saving up to 75% of your lighting energy.
  9. Buy used products when possible (books, clothing, furniture) and make repairs when possible instead of buying new.
  10. Print only when necessary and on recycled paper.
    Info: Offices use 1.5 lbs of paper per person per day.
  11. Use a coffee mug or travel mug.
  12. Reduce your carbon footprint caused by travel (buy a TerraPass, use flexcar, carpool, public transit, bike, or walk)
    Info: Every gallon of gasoline burned creates about 20 lbs of climate change-causing CO2.
  13. Enjoy God’s creation by being part of a community garden (or start your own community garden in your own backyard), volunteering on a farm, or getting out and enjoying nature with loved ones.

1Smithsonian, National Zoological Park, Migratory Bird Center; 2 No Impact Man;

  • Danielle

    What a great list! I wanted to add that fair trade chocolate is just as important as fair trade coffee, and although it’s easy to find where I live in Belgium, it is quite difficult to find in the United States! (I went and asked at Whole Foods– they were sure they had some, but couldn’t figure out where,,,)
    We need to create a demand for fair trade chocolate and ask our local supermarkets and health food stores to stock fair trade certified products.
    http://transfairusa.org/ (I don’t work for them, I just believe in the cause ;-)

  • Mollie

    Danielle,

    Thank you so much. I totally agree that buying fair-trade chocolate is equally as important as buying organic. I have mentioned in other posts the importance of buying fair trade and i actually have a post that has been in the work for many months on buying fair trade. The decision to not add it to this list was because it was solely an environmental list and I was deliberately trying to keep it focused on that.

    It is becoming a lot easier to find fair trade chocolate in the U.S. They are beginning to sell it at more supermarkets and isn’t being limited to places like Whole Foods or Natural Food stores or Food Co-ops. While I don’t love supermarkets, the majority of Americans shop buy their groceries from them and it is good that they are exposed to fair-trade options.

    Thank you so much for your comments. I love getting them and thank you for encouraging and bringing attention to the importance of fair trade products.

    Have a great day!

  • http://blog.iamnotashamed.net Ariah Fine

    Mollie this is a great list that should certainly be spread elsewhere.

  • http://www.wastedfood.com Jonathan Bloom

    This is a great list that we should all strive to follow. To it, I\’d add one item–Don\’t waste food.

    I\’ve been researching the issue of wasted food for a while now and it has some serious environmental impacts (such as greenhouse gas emissions and leaching into groundwater at landfills). You\’re on the right track with composting, but minimizing what we don\’t eat is a better way to respect the earth and minimize our impact.

  • Mollie

    Jonathan,

    I totally agree with you about minimizing our food waste. One of the things that I have loved in this process of making changes is that each change I make spurs me on to more changes by regularly making me more aware. Composting has really opened my eyes to how much food I waste. So, we really have been working on eating our left overs and only buying what we will consume. We actually canceled our CSA share because it gave us more food than we could possibly eat and decided to just start going to the farmer’s market each week.

    I would love to hear more about what you have been learning through your research. So, if you have time it would be great if you could share some of your knowledge.

    Thank you so much for your comment!! Have a great day.

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