Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shopping at Gaganis Brothers

Every year, around this time, we go to Gaganis Brothers to stock up on some of the stuff we'll need over Passover. We use a lot of almond meal at this time and it is much more economical to buy it there than at the supermarket. Bigger quantities are available so there is less packaging, too.

When I'm there I ask myself why I don't shop there regularly. It's a wonderful shop that sells just about every food imaginable. I could buy things in bigger quantities thus reducing packaging. Furthermore, after awhile my pantry would be so full that I could go less often, thus creating fewer emissions.

The emissions is one of the reasons I don't go there every week. However, I think I've just solved that problem by realising that I'd end up going less often eventually. The other reason is that, when I'm at the supermarket, I walk around with The Ethical Consumer Guide in my hand so I know what I'm buying. At Gaganis much of their stuff is bought in bulk and bagged into their own store labelled bags. I don't know if I'm buying goods which have been supplied by unethical companies. That is not an insurmountable problem, however. All I have to do is ask!

Food for thought - pun intended!

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Planning Ahead

It can be a tad difficult to be spontaneous on Footprints. We don't just want to jump in the car and go somewhere or rush out for take-away or pop up to the IGA for a chocolate bar due to fuel emissions. I have to confess that the latter still happens which really annoys me because unethical chocolate bought on a bike is still unethical chocolate. But that's for another blog, another day.

I've mentioned before that Katy over at The Non-Consumer Advocate "batches errands", as she calls it. That's what I try to do now, too. So this week, I made a list of all the errands I needed to run and the best way to do it. I had originally thought I'd have to make two separate trips in different directions so I could get to the credit union. I realised, however, that, although it's not in Marion where I thought I needed to go, I could still get everything in the smaller shopping centre where my credit union is. Even better, another errand I had to run was in the same direction.

So, yesterday afternoon, I went to the credit union, bought two birthday presents and dropped something off to someone in the area in probably less time than it would have taken me to find a parking spot at Marion - well, almost. AND I didn't have to drive as far.

I couldn't have done it without a little forward planning!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Another driver on the road

Teenage Daughter is a learner driver. When she first got her learners' permit, we had to take her out separately so she could drive on quiet streets. I used to worry about the emissions we were creating. Fortunately, now she is doing a lot better. She still has a long way to go to get her license but her driving practise can now be incorporated into other outings. For example, I wanted her to do a long drive on the weekend and intended for her to drive into the city and back. Husband needed to get to the airport and was going to order a taxi. It was a no-brainer really; forget the taxi and let Teenage Daughter do the airport drive instead of driving into the city. The airport is chaotic at present with a new parking lot being built so she and I simply swapped places just before we got there and swapped back just after we drove out.

It would be logical to assume that I wouldn't want to add another driver to the road; more emissions etc. However, most of the driving Husband and I do revolves around our children. We drive them somewhere, come home and go and pick them up a few hours later. Once Teenage Daughter has her license we'll actually half the emissions created when we drive her places because she can drive herself there, park the car and drive home a few hours later, thus eliminating the journey home in between that Husband and I make. That, of course, is assuming she doesn't enjoy her new-found freedom so much that she is constantly taking the car out and about!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

How to Approach This

I have a friend who sometimes comments on this blog. I enjoy his comments because he usually raises challenging and thought-provoking questions for me to ponder and answer. Thanks to his questions I find myself having to clarify in my own mind the reasons for doing this and the way in which we do it.

The driving force behind Footprints is me. I felt I was very fortunate that the family were keen to join me in the project. Their involvement has made it easier all around. Involving them on my journey has made me aware that the choices we make and what we do, need to be such that we will all stick with it. I think we could be doing more and better. However, teenagers are great at paying lip service to things but grumble when it actually comes to doing it. (Or maybe that's just mine.) Consequently, I walk that fine line between keeping them on-board and becoming a ethical/eco "nazi". Therefore, we've come up with what works for us as a family. This is something I'm passionate about and want the family to be passionate about. I want it to be a long-term commitment. To that end, I don't want to be walking around with a metaphoric cat o' nine tails flagellating myself and anyone else I don't think is trying hard enough.

That brings me to a conversation Teenage Daughter had with someone from The Ethical Consumer Guide. She interviewed him for her school research project which is looking at how aware teenagers are of buying ethically. She asked him what he thought was the best way to get young people on-board and be aware of the impact of their shopping choices. He answered that she simply needed to be passionate and positive, and her enthusiasm would be contagious.

Our family could be doing better and maybe we're not actually making a difference. However, I'm passionate and I'm sharing that passion through this blog. Hopefully some of my readers will get excited by what we're doing and do so themselves.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hanging onto the old phone

We have a cordless phone which is about five years old. Over the past ten months it has received one hell of a bashing with the long phone calls between Teenage Daughter and The Boyfriend. Each handset was needing to be recharged sooner and sooner. Sometimes one would simply die without any warning.

After the air-conditioner incident, I thought the best starting point would be to clean the charging units and see what happened. Absolutely nothing. Next step was to replace the batteries. I decided the most sensible thing to do would be to only replace the battery on one of the handsets, just in case that wasn't the problem.

When I got to the store I had a lovely chat with the sales assistant who pointed out that, for just a little more, I could just replace the phone. That is true, I could have. However, I didn't. The battery has made a huge difference to the handset and I now intend to buy one for the second handset. At this point I need to consider the fact that battery disposal is environmentally unfriendly and that some poor person with very few rights put together the battery :( What I don't have to consider is disposing of an old phone and its batteries or the treatment of the workers in the phone manufacturing and components factories.

Replacing the batteries is the lesser of the two evils. The best case scenario would be to use a phone with a cord. We have one but it's in a family area and Teenage Daughter needs privacy when talking to The Boyfriend. (Read that as I don't want to listen to them express how much they love each other. Eeeww.)