Going Green: Earth Day Tips for Lazy People

Let’s deal with one thing right off the bat. I DON’T CARE IF YOU BELIEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING. I don’t recycle out of fear. I don’t compost. (I just don’t yet.) I don’t buy the weird swirly lights because I think that it’ll stop a volcanos in Iceland. I do it because I live ON EARTH. And if you live here too (hi Martian readers. kisskiss. ignore this post.), you can take care of it. This is not a liberal or conservative issue. Not a religious or hippie issue. (Although I’d be MORE than happy to debate the word dominion with you. Bring it.)

Do you clean your home? (Okay not a good example for ME per se, but most people… although possibly not most of my readers either…) Anyway, taking care of the Earth is like cleaning your room. Don’t just tell your kids to do it.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about lazy ways to care.

  1. Give $5 to World Wildlife Fund or Nature Conservancy (I view them as GREAT RIVALS that lay to waste to those who dare chose sides. So we give money to both. Shh! Don’t tell.)
  2. Plant a small garden. In pots even. Plant things you eat. Lettuce. Tomatoes. Cucumbers. Now you can make salad every night for months. Get skinny AND help the Earth! I’m like a freakin’ miracle worker.
  3. Buy local. Less shipping. More taste. Look at the sticker on your fruit. In my neck of the woods, we have a grocery store that strives to carry local food. (Yes it’s run by hippies. So don’t shower that day. You’ll fit in fine.) Farmer’s markets are great, too. (Although I once saw a vendor sell grocery store fruit. I’m not saying it’s a common phenomenon. And OF COURSE I bought it. Smart people SHOULD be rewarded.)
  4. Cut your trash in half and double your recycling. It’s not hard. Buy gallon milks instead of cartons. Rinse out the jars and cans while you go. (NEVER. EVER. EVER. leave a peanut butter jar with soap and water in it sitting out all night. The smell alone will kill you. Literally.) We have a cabinet for recycling (and we like to use the area outside the cabinet for overflow. Because we are dirty dirty people.)
  5. If you already have a bag, don’t take another one from another store. Put it in the bag you have (or brought!). Put the item in your purse. Are the stores PAYING you to be a walking advertisement for them? So say no thank you and stuff it in your bra.  (Or briefs)

There. Five easy things for lazy people. Go forth and save the Earth. And feel free to take out my recycling.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

33 thoughts to “Going Green: Earth Day Tips for Lazy People”

  1. Good tips. I could definitely do more to help the earth (though I do do most of the things listed). Tried an organic garden last year. Invaded by pests that migrated from plant to plant and killed everything slowly. Now I have a recipe for safer pest control from a gardening pro neighbor, so we’ll try that darn garden again.
    .-= Mrs.Mayhem´s last blog ..It’s Mayhem, Baby =-.

    1. you can do it!! we lost most of our vegetables last year — kinda to neglect (N was born in April) and trying a new planting area… We need to get on it for this year. I’m just going to do seedlings instead of seeds.

  2. I love that you can deliver this important message with plenty of laughs. You are right that this is not a left or right issue, it’s just a matter of being responsible. It’s very simple – even just turning the lights out when you leave a room. I think my son’s school is celebrating Earth Day today. We definitely never learned or talked about this when we were little. Better late than never (or, we can say, it is Late Enough!! ;-))
    .-= Cecilia´s last blog ..“America Needs to Stand Up for Better Food!” =-.

    1. I agree that simply being more thoughtful makes a big difference. For the Earth but also in my own life. Pausing to turn out the lights when I’m so RUSHRUSHRUSH is healthy. THanks for reminding me of that. 😀

  3. I am sooo on board with # 5. I have my own bags for the grocery store and Target. Thanks for the great idea of stashing it in my bra. Of course I don’t have very big boobs so it might just fall right on out the bottom. LAMO
    .-= SoccerMom´s last blog ..The SPORTSMAN =-.

  4. Happy Earth Day to you – and great tips. My lazy a$$ definitely appreciates. The forgetful part of me, on the other hand, needs to REMEMBER TO BRING THOSE BAGS WITH ME when I go grocery shopping.

    So many bags, so little brain.
    .-= Justine´s last blog ..Our children’s children. =-.

    1. I leave my cloth bags in the car on the floorboard under my son’s seat. I see them when I go to unbuckle him and (most of the time) remember to take them in. My brain needs all the help it can get. =>

  5. Great post! Hmmmm…I should hold on to these nursing bras. I can probably fit half my grocery cart in each cup.

    Another little tip: Don’t use the plastic bags for produce when you do buy at the grocery store. Think of it as providing a fun treasure hunt for the clerk. “Look! Another orange!”
    .-= Mandy´s last blog ..Perfect Moms =-.

  6. Very helpful advice. I try and teach my first graders about not wasting and recycling. In fact, we have a earth shaped pinata that we won’t be hitting today. Instead we will be caring for it and removing harmful pathogens from it.

  7. I have another one–buy consignment or thrift clothing especially for your children. It’s easy and fun and saves you money and usually benefits a charity! (Because cotton is one of the crops that requires the most pesticides, and it’s always nice to reuse).

  8. I buy all but #3. Indeed, I do recycle, and I have loads of those wonderful reusable bags (and yet, they tend to sit in my car trunk, unremembered until I get to the checkout. But my kids reuse the plastic and paper bags, so I don’t feel too guilty.

    I also shop at our Farmer’s market quite often, although in Houston most of the produce is trucked in from Mexico.

    Studies, however, have shown that “buying local” often actually increases shipping costs, mostly due to duplication of services and the loss of wholesale efficiency. Check it out and see for yourself.
    .-= The Mother´s last blog ..A Critical Thinking Experiment in Real Time =-.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out! I could only find one study (the UK one) but it seemed to me that the issue was people driving to the farms to get the produce. Here, at least, we have a grocery store that CARRIES local as well as other food. So it still is delivered in a more massive way to one place to be distributed. And I don’t have to drive to more than one place. I can see that there are factors such as “buying in bulk” that would contribute to lowering greenhouse emissions because only one truck on the road etc… I wonder if people having to shop at more than one place (costco PLUS stopnstop sorta thing) would lead to an increase in emissions even with the bulk that a costco has.
      I do think that if you have apples from Chili versus a neighboring state, the argument is probably moot. But what to do about TRULY local stuff? If you have any more links, please send them on. I am always interested in things that are not black & white.
      AND I also think that there are OTHER benefits to buying local and supporting our surrounding community. When’s Community Hugs Day?

  9. I am lazy – I only do the last three…I need to get going on planting some tomatoes in containers this year. We keep talking about a compost pile, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen. Other than that, our biggest way of reducing waste is to just not buy a lot of the useless junk that is always so tempting at Target. It doesn’t last, you have all the waste involved with packaging and shipping, and it’s just going to end up in a landfill anyway when it wears out or breaks 6 months down the road.

  10. I really believe in taking my own bags. And I buy clothes at thrift stores. I also buy things in large containers, rather than the little bitty snack ones. I make my own snack size thingies at home.
    You did an awesome job with this post, you enlightened and made us laugh at the same time.

    That’s the best kind of persuasive trick in the book there is, you smart cookie… 🙂
    .-= Alexandra´s last blog ..LOL =-.

  11. Can I be so bold as to add 2 more? Perhaps because this is part of my job as well and I spend ALOT of time explaining this to folks who just don’t care, but these have become big peeves of mine. They’re also very simple eco-friendly actions we can all take.

    1. Don’t wash your car on the pavement (where oil and grease will run off to the storm sewer and ultimately to the nearest stream). If you must wash it, take it to the car wash (where its treated) or wash it on grass.

    2. Don’t pour oil out on the grass. I know its a weed killer (or so I’ve been told) but its also a pollutant than can infiltrate to the water table. This includes kitchen grease. Just collect it and solidify it by mixing it with lots of dirt or kitty litter (til no free liquids) then throw it in the trash. Alternatively, you can take collected used oil to the landfill for recycling.


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