Posts Tagged ‘buying locally’

Reusable Sandwich Bag Set Giveaway!

Introducing a new Wee Essentials product:  Reusable, washable food baggies!

This week I’m giving away TWO sets of two adorable Easter themed baggies.  Read below for details on how to enter!

Each bag is made with two layers of prewashed, preshrunk cotton quilter’s fabric.  I’ve folded and serged the edges in a way that each baggie can be closed just like a plastic bag; by tucking in the top flap and folding the pocket over the opening.  Easier than it sounds, and it’s very secure compared to the plastic bags!

Perfect for dry and slightly moist foods – crackers, cheese, sliced apples, raisins, cookies, granola, and grapes!  Not pudding, though. 🙂

The bags currently come in two sizes, small (5″ by 5″ when folded) and medium (6″ by 7″ when folded.)  We’ll be adding a larger size soon.

 

ENTER TO WIN!

RULES: This giveaway starts on 3/12/2012 and goes until 3/14/2012 at 11:59:59 p.m. US Central Standard Time. You must be 18 to win and a resident of the US or Canada. Winners will be chosen using random.org to randomly select post numbers.

To enter, simply comment below.

Extra entries:
Tweet this giveaway and leave a comment below (once)
Post on facebook about this giveaway and leave a comment below (once per account, be sure to tag @weeessentials!)
Post on your blog and comment below three times for three entries.  (once)
For every 150 entries we get, I will add another set of bags in a random print, up to 5 winners!

 

GOOD LUCK!

 

 

Why I’m an Environmentalist

This is a blog post that has been long in coming.  I’ve been thinking about my motivation for what I do for several months, and composing this post in my head over and over, hoping that when I finally write it down, I get it right.  Even now as I hit “publish” on this post, I’ve been working on writing it for over a week.

You have to understand that my reasons for being concerned about the environment are not the traditional ones.  I feel like I come from a fairly unique perspective because I neither consider myself a liberal or a democrat.  I also realize that this post may offend some people because of the nature of what I am about to say.  It is certainly a controversial topic, but I am not trying to convert anyone.  I am only explaining why I do what I do when it comes to trying to be “green.”

So…why am I an environmentalist?

As I said, I don’t consider myself a democrat or a liberal, which are both generally affiliated with the environmental movement.  I tend to fall in between the cracks, really – I don’t like either major political party, and I don’t like the policies of both the liberals and the conservatives.  I guess I like to make my own way!

I do define myself by the fact that I am a follower of Jesus Christ, however.

Wait!  Come back! 🙂

I realize that is an immediate turn-off for some people.  I realize there are readers who have already closed their browser window without hearing me out.  They’ve made assumptions about what I’m about to say or do. Tat’s a dangerous thing, whether you’ve made them about a Christian, a Muslim, a Scientologist, or even an Atheist.  There are also those who will stir up controversy in comments and emails.  And it will be about my “religion,” rather than my desire to take care of the planet on which I was born.

But enough about that – that’s not my point.  For those of you left, you might be wondering how I could be a Christian – a “born-again” Christian (oh, how I hate that term and its stereotypes!) and still believe strongly in the Earth movement. Especially since I am a bit of a traditionalist and I do believe in creation in seven literal days and the End Times (no, this is not it) and all those things that usually go against Global Warming Theory at its core.

So let me explain.  This is going to sound a little like a Bible lesson, and I guess it is, but I need to put my thoughts in context for you, my readers:

When God created the world, according to the Bible,  he created the first man shortly after.  He put this man, and eventually his wife, in charge of the Garden of Eden.  The first book of the Bible, Genesis, is the story of creation and the early days of Judaica, and Genesis 2: 15 says, “God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”  Just a few verses later, God has Adam (“man” in Hebrew) name all the animals.

But let’s go back a little bit, because I want to point out one more verse before I get to my point.  Genesis 1:26 talks about God creating man, and God says in this section, “Let [man] have dominion over…all the earth…”

I’ve seen this verse taken out of context quite a bit, used as an example of God allowing the destruction and rape of the earth.  That word – “dominion” – is a scary word.  But it’s not as bad as you think!  Merriam-Webster defines dominion as “supreme authority” and “absolute ownership.”  If the authority is not corrupt, what is there to fear in that?  We have seen good rulers and bad rulers throughout history – all had dominion over their territory.

Think about that argument for the destruction and rape of the planet for a second – does that make sense?  First of all, a few verses later, God instructs man to tend the earth and care for it – a direct contradiction if “dominion” is another word for “destroy.”  Second, does it make sense that someone who just created something, in this case the earth, would immediately put someone on it and allow them to destroy it?

No, I have to conclude that it is our responsibility to care for the earth – to “work it and keep it,” as Adam was told to do in Eden.  God placed Adam on the earth to do just that, and that responsibility has been placed on us as his descendants.

So enough of the Bible lesson. Now you understand (hopefully) where I’m coming from.  Do I believe in global warming?  Yes, actually, I do.  There is enough evidence that the earth cycles through different temperatures throughout time.  Do I believe that this episode of global warming is entirely man-made?  No.  I haven’t seen enough evidence proving this.  Do I believe that our actions have an effect on this episode of warming?  Absolutely. Our actions have consequences on every level, in every scale.

So what do I think we should do?

We should respect our fellow humans – both current and future – by being responsible and resourceful in our use of non-renewable materials.  We should continue to find sustainable ways of life, so that our great-grandchildren don’t suffer when we run out of materials but have no new technology.

We should respect those fellow humans by avoiding waste and taking responsibility for ourselves – through gardening and raising our own food to reduce pressure on the food systems, by buying from companies that treat their employees with respect, by not using companies that have their profit margin in mind more than their effect on the environment and small local economies.

For me – it comes down to respecting and taking care of each other and taking care of the world we’ve been given.  I may be coming from a distinctly different viewpoint than most environmentalists I know, but our goals are the same!

Anyone still here?

LOL

Be Resourceful – Use What You Find!

Last winter, we were facing another cold season of high heating bills and increasing food costs, we got creative with what was available to us.  You can do the same by keeping your eyes and ears open!  By using under- or unutilized resources, you can save money while using nothing that isn’t readily available, decreasing strain on resources.
Our church here in NE Ohio bought a piece of property several years ago and has left it undeveloped.  We found out that the property had an apple tree that wasn’t being harvested.  With the elders’ permission, we went and picked – and picked up – three large buckets of apples.

Yum!

Yum!

Plus, G, who was 2-and-a-half at the time, loved eating them!

G eating our apples

G eating our apples

We didn’t stop there – with heating oil prices so high, we looked for cheaper ways to heat.  Now, I’ll admit  – our first goal was to keep decently warm.  However, we found that heating with locally and sustainably harvested wood was ecologically about the same as oil – which I’ll go into on a later post.  To keep warm, we searched out locals who had cut down trees on their property for other reasons than selling the wood, but who were selling the wood as a residual effect.  If we couldn’t find anyone in this situation (and with seasoned wood) we bought from local businesses who obtained their wood the same way, but were a little better at it than us!

Of course, there are lots of other resources – dumpsters (check your local codes for the legality of dumpster diving in your area), your community groups – churches, legions, freecycle, and guilds, and finally, your friends and family!

Cash For Clunkers…Are we really Saving the Planet?

Wow, it’s been a busy week!  Late last week I got set up on clothpadshop.com, and I’m still trying to get products in my shop there.  Special orders have been picking up again, and the biggest event of the weekend…

We traded in our old ’94 Park Avenue clunker with a defective supercharger for a brand new ’09 Chevrolet HHR on Saturday.

Why?  It was purely a financial decision on our part.  We weren’t worried about the environment or carbon emissions.  The old car required $700 in repairs last month alone, and for the supercharger we received an estimate of about $1000. Between this past April and July alone, we spent another $700 again in repairs.  Since the car was worth $1500, we’d “totaled” it; it was time to get a new one.  We couldn’t afford the “payments!”

Do I feel green for buying a new car?  Not unless you are talking about the “green” Chevy got from me to pay for the car!

Chevy HHR

You see, environmentalists throughout the years have always stated that if you need to buy a car, it’s better to buy one used.  Simply put, buying a new car means that new resources were put into the car, and lots of energy was expended to get the resources.  So not only are you using new metals and plastics in the car, but you are mining for the ores and using energy to process and refine them into steel, and you are drilling for oils and then refining them into plastics.

Used cars require little to no additional energy on the buyer’s part.

Granted, new cars get significantly better gas mileage, and recycling practices have improved.  But the basic concept is still the same. A true environmentalist will try to reduce their footprint, and if a car is necessary, they will choose the one that allows them to have the least responsibility for the production of the vehicle.

I can’t help but think that while I will save money in gasoline, more resources were put into making that car for me than if I had bought used.  It will probably take years for my savings in emissions to catch up to the spending in production.

But in the end, this was a purely financial and emotional decision for us.  We were looking for a dependable car that wouldn’t keep leaving me and the kids stranded, while costing less than a new set of brakes or an alternator every month.  After crunching numbers and realizing that the Cash for Clunkers would allow us to buy a new car for the price of all the newer used ones, we opted for new.

From a financial standpoint, my husband is convinced that Obama and Congress should have done this in the first place, instead of bailing out automakers.

I’ve confessed my green sin.  My penance will be to keep this car until it is falling apart, just like my old one.  With any luck, it’ll be in just the right shape for when my 3.5 year old turns 16 and wants to practice driving!

If You Do One Thing Today – Visit a Farmer’s Market

If you do one thing today…

Visit your local farmer’s market, produce stand, or flea market.  You’ll be supporting locals and buying fresh, yummy produce and foodstuffs all at once!

We have a lot of Amish and Yankee gardeners in our area, and during this time of year, there are always produce stands on the side of the road.  Some of them are big productions – the owner is actually a farmer, and might get veggies from several gardeners as well.  Others are just a wooden, handpainted sign – “Brown Eggs” – and a request to take a dozen eggs from the cooler by the mailbox and leave the money in a small box nearby.

Farmer's Markets are great places to get local food.

Mmm, fresh fruit!

We also have a great flea market that offers not only locally grown produce, but many fair-trade and organically grown foods from around the world.

And our farmer’s market in Chardon is still growing, but you can find local honey (great for seasonal allergies!) and homebaked breads and cookies!

When you buy locally, you keep your money in the hands of your neighbors.  You also use fewer resources getting the products to you.  The half-pint of honey I bought from a local beekeeper at the farmer’s market was driven in with all the other products from a couple miles down the road, not all the way across the country.  The $5 I spent to buy it will be used by a family who lives just a few miles from me!

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