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Slow Down and Green Up

By Archive, April 15, 2008  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Archive

Coinciding happily with Earth Day, this coming week is Downshifting Week. Downshifting is about slowing down the pace of your life, changing your attitude about stuff and, of course, being more green.

Consuming less is a main tenet of being green, as detailed in this article by Laura Sevier in the EcologistOnline. Some Downshifters encourage radical lifestyle changes, but even a modest reduction in your daily pace can enable you to reassess your life and purpose: where you’ve been, where you are, where you want to go and how you want to get there.

So slow down, smell those proverbial roses, then check out the links and let us know what you think about Downshifting. Maybe you’ve already Downshifted. If so, share your experience with the rest of us in the comment section in the lower right hand corner of this post.

Wishing everyone a happy and productive Earth Day.

Category: Green Action




Tracey Smith says ...
Hi Jerry, What a lovely surprise to see this today! Thanks for helping to raise the profile of our little green awareness campaign - it's very much appreciated. Wishing you and your readers all the best too, TS x
04/16/2008 1:28:30 AM CDT
Douglas Spittel says ...
Downshifting causes a gradual slowing that over time and distance has a substantial effect. In 2008, our family of six has gone from two to one vehicle. This has been good for the environment by using less resources and creating less waste. It is good for our health by forcing us to walk for trips under a mile and a half. It's amazing how much of your neighborhood you miss when you drive past it every day. Foregoing that extra car is also good for our household economy. You'd be amazed at how much it really costs to run a car! What about when we really need that extra car? We have a Zipcar membership that comes in handy in those crunch times. The change was, of course, noticed immediately, but the benefits have taken time to surface. But as time goes on and we are farther away from two-car dependency, we are noticing many improvements in our lives. We're glad we did it and the downsizing of our transportation fleet is creating a paradigm for other downshifting in our family's life.
04/17/2008 7:11:10 AM CDT
M. Fulner says ...
One of the most fun ways we have found to reuse/recycle and save money at the same time is purchasing almost all our clothes at thrift stores. It began for us when we were going through a rough financial period. After we realized how great the options are, we were glad that we were not only saving a fortune, but we were greatly reducing the resources that are consumed just in clothing ourselves. We also found we could dress in our favorite brands and even some we hadn't been able to afford before. I even find organic cotton and hemp items there. That's not all, many thrift stores are operated by nonprofits that use the funds to help people. A tip for your donations- Be careful that the clothes you donate are actually going to a charitible organization. Many receptacles on the street are designed to look like familiar charities, but if there is no charity name on the box, your donation is most assuredly going to a business that is selling these items for profit. You can be sure that your items are doing good in the world by dropping them off at the charities yourself or by calling those that pick up right from your home.
04/17/2008 8:02:58 AM CDT
Teddi says ...
It's interesting that "going green" is becoming such a trend, but it's a great trend! I applaud WFM for taking it steps further and offering sustainable business resources, compost, etc. I'm in north Tarrant County so I don't get to WFM often...ready to take a trip this weekend to check out the new initiatives...and get some of those bright colored reusable bags! Keep up the great work! Happy Earth Day, April 22!
04/17/2008 8:13:40 AM CDT
Cherstin Daugherty says ...
Being part of a not-so-green office, I decided to take up the rather fun title here in the office as "Green Girl". I started a company recycling program with bins in the break room to sort paper, cans, plastic, etc. & each Friday I take it all out to the recycling bins. We are also doing a bit of spring cleaning around here and noticed we were piling up lightly used office supplies to toss in the dumpster. I quickly posted these reusable items on www.freecycle.org & each and every item was picked up and reused by local schools and half way homes for teens. I used to hop in my car & leave work everyday for lunch. Now I keep healthy items in the break room refrigerator and take my lunch outside each day. This eliminates driving and allows me some fresh air. I also eat much healthier and spend less $$$! Aside for the office title of "Green Girl" I have also tried to be more conscience of the environment while outside of work as well. I walk to do my errands & I now ride my bike to the grocery store with my reusable bags dangling on each handle bar =) It may not seem like much but if each person downshifted a little each day think of it's affect on the whole earth. Each little bit helps!
04/17/2008 8:18:21 AM CDT
Sunny Humphries says ...
One easy way I've learned to cut back on emissions and gas use (and tickets!) is to downshift -- literally. Cut your speed back to the speed limit (which is, after all, supposed to be the maximum, not the minimum speed!). Driving friendly--not racing around slower vehicles or sudden braking and accelerating, saves more than nerves. It's greener, safer, and more civil!
04/17/2008 9:00:11 AM CDT
Tracey Smith says ...
You are right there - the Zipcar movement is great and comes in very handy when I'm in London! That said, the whole car share thing has great energy behind it too - we have 10 million empty car seat on the road in the UK every day - I try hard to encourage people to actively bring that number down. It can be done, we just need a stronger and more positive emphasis on the importance of making that change. TS
04/17/2008 9:00:43 AM CDT
Tremaine Amy Frank says ...
To downshift we have taken to raising a couple of fiber animals. One is an angora goat and the other a sheep. We hand process the fiber ourselves and hand card it and hand spin it, and hand knit it. So we only get sweaters from the wool they give us. This means having less clothing but they are done in classic styles, they are made well and last a long time, there is an appreciation of the animal that helps us, and because the family spends so much time from start to finish to get the sweater I find my family takes real good care of the sweaters. Knowing it will be another year before they can get another one.
04/17/2008 11:26:34 AM CDT
Kate Pollara says ...
Sometimes when I want to do something better, instead of pulling out an electrical appliance, I think back to how my mother would have done it. I am amazed at how over-plugged in we are. Mom didn't pull out the vacuum every time a crumb landed on the floor. I often pull out the a broom/whisk broom and pan to clean up my hard wood floors. Not only does it not consume any electricity, but it is often faster and better. This may not be profound, but all those kilowatts add up. In fact, there is a church in the neighborhood where I work in NY City that vacuums the sidewalks periodically!!! What ever happened to old-fashioned elbow grease?
04/17/2008 11:38:14 AM CDT
Keriann says ...
My husband and I recently switched to BioBags for our dog's waste. We just couldn't stand the idea of throwing away a non-biodegradable plastic bag just to collect her waste! We are also really big on using our own canvas bags for grocery shopping... even if the bagger gives me a dirty look, I don't care! Not going to use those plastic bags anymore!
04/17/2008 11:51:07 AM CDT
Lee Correy says ...
As an individual householder, I am constantly shocked at the amount of paper products that I recycle. When I compare my modest attempt to reduce waste, I shudder to think what I once casually disgarded. I have also been concentrating on using my own bags for food shopping and beyond. That move has also been rewarding. Keep up the great work everyone!
04/17/2008 12:50:31 PM CDT
Darby Lohrding says ...
For a while now I have been working on "downshifting", by listening more, speaking less and moving slower. So often life is run on automatic and when on automatic I act without thinking and end up acquiring that which is not recyclable, healthy or productive (especially so if I have to make a repeat trip to return). I found by practicing "downshifting" I am less stressed and sleep soundly ...who would have thought! DL
04/17/2008 1:07:38 PM CDT
Kelly Beltramo says ...
At work we will be hosting a potluck on Earth Day. Everyone that brings in their own utencils and plates for eating with will receive a re-usable canvas bag. We hope this event and gift will inspire folks to be more conscious of the environment and to forgo those horrible plastic bags. It's not too late. Plan your own Earth Day event today and get others inspired to become more friendly to our environment. EVERYDAY IS EARTH DAY!
04/17/2008 2:06:38 PM CDT
Crystalbella says ...
Downshifting Rocks! when I go grocery shopping,I always take my Whole Foods Market reuseable bags no matter what store i'm in.I think that it's taking other stores to long to catch on so i'll just help them out,and it's great advertisement to.
04/17/2008 2:41:11 PM CDT
philip schuyler says ...
Now, two WFM's within golf range, but soon a 3rd within spittin' range on Blythedale in Mill Valley. But, sad face here, no notice of opening date, no interior renovating activity, no info from good folks at WFM on Miller in MV. What say you? Believe in your focus and superb hiring, and freebie cheese bites, but where oh where WFM are non-alcoholic beers?
04/17/2008 3:02:49 PM CDT
Biggs says ...
I'm very impressed. However, I have a very simple suggestion: just teach your employees to pack 10 items in 1 bag instead of 2. Also, anything that has a handle, e.g. milk gallons does not need to put in a bag! Every time I go shopping, I try to bag my items myself. I also have no problem rebagging my items and give some of the bags back to the cashier.
04/17/2008 3:31:21 PM CDT
Candace Brown says ...
I recently had a phone conversation with a dear friend about the situation of the planet. I think if we all did one thing a day for the better of the earth we would make a difference. Change the light bulbs to low wattage bulbs, don't use a plastic bag, don't ask for a receipt, don't drive one day a week, don't buy items unless they are in a recyclable container, there's so much we could do, seems so small but there are so many of us that it would add up quickly.
04/17/2008 7:06:31 PM CDT
Anne says ...
Aside from the canvas bag, the wax paper bag supplies and the great organic selection, thanks to WFM I never use plastic water bottles anymore, only my SIGG. Great display of SIGG aluminum bottles, even my 5 yr old has one. It takes more time to think ahead, but well worth less plastic on this earth. Going green may take more of our energy, but it will save Earth's in the long run. Keep up the great leadership WFM.
04/17/2008 7:16:25 PM CDT
Candace Brown says ...
We should all strive to do one thing a day for the earth-don't request a receipt, don't buy unless the container is recyclable, switch to energy-saving bulbs, one day a week try not to drive. We can make a difference.
04/17/2008 7:16:32 PM CDT
Germaine says ...
Hooray for Green Girl! I, too, have been trying to get the office I am currently working in to think greener, but it is taking a while to catch on. I am trying to recycle as much as possible and to that end have found three addresses that I would like to share with the readers of this blog. The first is The Printer Ink Warehouse at http://www.ink-refills-ink.com/. This company not only sells very reasonably priced printer and toner ink cartridges, but also takes back any printer or toner cartridges, even brands it does not carry or cartridges not bought from it. It will send you prepaid shipping labels that you can affix to your box of cartridges and have the delivery service pick up, if you like. The second is The CD Recycling Center of America at http://www.cdrecyclingcenter.com/. This company will take CDs and DVDs for recycling. All you need do is package the items and send them to the company. A third is DuPont at http://envelopes.tyvek.com/en/science/versitile/vers_recycle.shtml. DuPont will take back Tyvek products. The Tyvek product I am trying to recycle in particular is the envelopes made of this material. My community recycling and the grocery store will not take them, but DuPont will. The shipping instructions are on the Web site. Number 5 plastics are also not wanted in most community recycling programs. However, Stonyfield Farm (10 Burton Drive,Londonderry, NH 03053) and Brown Cow (Brown Cow Farm Cup Recycling, 3810 Delta Fair Blvd., Antioch, CA 94509) take back their own yogurt containers and send you coupons for free products if you send these containers to them. The value of the coupons covers the majority of the cost of the postage. Hope this helps you make your year greener.
04/17/2008 7:43:43 PM CDT
Cara says ...
To downshift, our family had turned off our cable T.V. We try very hard to not turn on the TV at all. We watch rented DVDs or PBS when we do sit down for a bit of entertainment. It is interesting how little we miss cable. When it comes down to it---there wasn't much on to watch anyway.
04/17/2008 9:03:14 PM CDT
Lori Ann Ryan says ...
We have two family lop eared bunnies in our backyard in a pen. We injoy giving them some of the veggies they love instead of composting it all. The children injoy spending time petting and caring for them. As a family, we spend more time together at home because our backyard is our cottage, so we are spending less energy driving north for the weekends. Signed Backyard Cottagers.
04/17/2008 10:04:10 PM CDT
Caroline says ...
In a society where capitalism = consumerism, and the American Dream has become acquiring as many material goods as possible, it's time for a change! Instead of buying and acquiring being the ultimate status symbol, how about a focus on investing in social capital - volunteering, recycling, downsizing, being involved in your community. We lived in Seattle for years and the green movement was a way of life there. Glad to see it's finally catching on here, too!
04/18/2008 5:12:44 AM CDT
Sophia says ...
Going Green is something that I believe in wholeheartedly. I recycle everything and as a result, only take my hgarbage can to the street once a month. I am the office manager for a new dr's office, and thought we should 'Go Green' in the construction, set-up and daily running of the office. The dr agreed. Now, the build-out is using renewable or recycled materials, the computer system is COMPLETELY paperless and what little paper pts need for receipts, etc will be recycled. The coffee bar will use organically grown coffee and all the cups will be ceramic. We have found that while the budget may be slightly higher in the beginning, we will actually save quite a bit in the long run ... just as good habits are good for your personal health, going green is good for your Mother's (Earth's) health!
04/18/2008 6:06:07 AM CDT
Tracey Smith says ...
Wow - I am absolutely blown away by all the positive energy and the stack of simple, green ideas that are building up on this thread! I wholeheartedly agree - collective response is the key to global change and if I can do something to unite the individuals and help them believe that their small and simple changes WILL make a difference, because someone over there is also doing it, and someone over there, and there and so on.....well, you know we might just get there!! With kind regards, Tracey Smith Proud Creator of InterNational Downshifting Week!
04/18/2008 6:49:53 AM CDT