Thursday, December 27, 2012

T.A.P. 2012 Year in Review

If I haven't said it before, thanks for reading my lowly little blog.  I write it because it gives me an outlet to promote my thoughts regarding recycling, green living, and environmental friendliness.  The blog is not an overwhelming commercial success in any sense of the word, but thanks for those of you who put up and occasionally click on ads through my blog.  I sincerely thank you for tolerating them even though I generally am not in love with the thought of acquiring more items.

I have made many personal strides in my own life this year.  Eating locally, purchasing items second hand, preferring hand made goods to those commercially made abroad are some of the strategies I have focused on.  I will continue to put these to good use, and may even opt in to a local CSA for the summer months. 

Here are three of the most popular posts on Think, Act, Prosper this year, and I hope you will re-read them or discover them for the first time, since many of these articles are worth reading more than once!

1) Replace Paper Towels with Rags
2) Use Natural Light and Air Conditioning
3) Go Green: Beer Growlers
4) Green Investing
5) Buy Food in Bulk

Check out my series 20 Ways to Go Green that Make a Difference for a number of small ways to make impactful change

Finally my favorite post of all time, Single Stream Recycling, a topic I plan to revisit!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Environmentally Friendly Christmas

Holiday Seasons are upon us and as an Anglo-Saxon American, I celebrate Christmas with my family.  The holidays are a time of excess and consumption here in the United States.  It's extremely unfortunate, because the bedrock of Christmas is the Christian holiday, but all of that has changed.  People eat tons of unhealthy food, max out their credit cards to buy gifts, and drive all over the place to get to sales, malls, and various parties.

All of this is a shame and it hurts our precious environment.  Here in New England, where I live, we are having an extremely mild winter so far, which one of my favorite bloggers, An Affordable Wardrobe, touched on this week.  This thrift shopper extraordinaire laments the lack of snow and bone chilling cold of the days of yore, and although it can't be definitively proved that global warming and our pollution is at fault, it can't help.

We do not necessarily need to go as far as Leo of Zen Habit's who is advocating his Buy Nothing Until 2013 Challenge.  There are however some things you can do to limit the impact you have on the environment this holiday season.
  • Consider second hand gifts, such as from a thrift store or eBay
  • Green gifts
  • Make things yourself, people love a personal touch
  • Bring your own bags when you go shopping
  • Support a local business and buy a real Christmas tree and adorn it with homemade ornaments
  • Buy local food in bulk for meals
  • Have a fire with your family, and turn off the lights
  • If Grandma gives everyone ugly Christmas sweaters (or not), turn down the heat!
  • Drive less often, and when you need to go to malls or parties, drive slower!
  • Be careful with waste, always recycle
Obviously, we all can't do all of these, but we should do our best to enjoy the holidays responsibly!

Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkuh!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Green Winter Clothing

Clothing is one of the items that the US has such a ridiculous surplus of, yet we still continue to produce in the cheapest, most wasteful, least green methods.  That's what the market desires, low prices and coinciding low quality.  Winter is when we need clothing the most, especially here in chilly New England.  I am a huge proponent of thrift stores, although if I convert too many of you to shopping at these great second hand clothing outlets, all the great finds will dry up extremely quickly!  I am on the look out for some great blankets for winter and a heavy jacket at the moment.  A pair of boots would be nice as well.

There are however several brands that I can recommend in good conscience.  First of all, if you don't need a new item, don't buy one.  You can always repair your old things.  However, if you have identified a need, I follow a process like the following.

1) imagine the perfect item to fit my needs
2) reach out to people in my network for ideas and suggestions
3) search for more information about potential choices, Google is your friend
4) consider second hand outlets like eBay
5) buy the item and use it for many years

Some of my favorite brands, particularly for winter are Ibex, Smartwool, Icebreaker, and Patagonia.  I prefer wool for all weather clothing.  It is incredibly warm, soft and durable, a far superior fiber to cotton.  Don't even get me started on Polyester.  Not only is it a better performance fiber, it is much
more green.  Watch Ibex's video below.