Senior Musings July 2011

Posted 07.10.11

Conserve -- One Drop at a Time

BobbiWe can't be blamed for worrying. Prices are rising dramatically, and it's obvious that the sizes of our favorite products, especially food items, are being reduced in order for the increases in cost to be less obvious.

The weather is changing, with more ice storms in the winter, frequent floods, and then serious drought in the summer.

It's easy to just throw your hands in the air and give up. Certainly nothing any of us can do individually is going to make a difference.

But that's not true.

During this hot weather, we can all do our part by conserving water and saving electricity, because even small efforts can pay off.

How is your lawn doing? Is it infested with grubs and brown patches? Why not stop wasting water on turf and get rid of that grass forever. I did this several years ago, and have never regretted it. My front yard is stunning, with a huge bed of Lily of the Valley under my big pine tree.


The rest of the yard is stone, interspersed with planting beds of creeping thyme, ferns under the bay window, several hostas, and color provided by tubs along the driveway and walk filled with annuals.

If you convert a substantial portion of your lawn to growing vegetables, berries, and herbs, you'll also be able to freeze or preserve these and save money on your food bill next winter.

It's not just water for lawns that bothers me. I still see a great many people carrying plastic water bottles in their hands, in their cars, and at meetings. Haven't we all heard about how wasteful this is?

In fact, studies have shown that bottled water is no better than what we get from our taps, and the best way to drink clear, pure water that tastes great is to install an inexpensive filter on your kitchen faucet. I fill my own water bottles to take with me, as well as Terzo's water dish and fountain, and the coffeemaker.

I'm not only saving money, I'm keeping plastic bottles from clogging recycle bins. That plastic is a petroleum product, so in a small way, rejecting bottled water also saves a natural resource.

Can we also conserve electricity? I have central air conditioning, but can often turn it off because I have overhead and tower fans that help cool the house. And I use a programmable thermostat so that the a/c (or heat in the winter months) isn't wasting energy when the house is empty or I'm asleep.

Seniors can save a great deal by taking advantage of public spaces that are already cool. Spend time at a mall, a library, or a museum.

We can also join forces with family and friends to combine cooking. Instead of heating your oven for a single chicken or batch of muffins, how about arranging a weekly co-op which isn't just a pot luck, but a joint effort to cook an oven-full of main dishes followed by baked goods?

A well-known Canadian writer, Silver Donald Cameron, has a new initiative, a great website where he interviews major players in the environmental movement. Go to www.thegreeninterview.com to take a look. Registration is free, and allows you to temporarily download one copy of the materials on The Green Interview's web site for personal, non-commercial transitory viewing only.

You also get access to The Green Pieces, a pot-pourri of Silver Donald Cameron's environmental writing -- reprints of earlier articles, speeches and essays, and copies of current columns and other writings on environmental topics. Many of these are fairly lengthy pieces that are no longer accessible anywhere else. Registered users (free) may leave comments.

We need to be informed about this pressing issue. And we have to get creative to conserve. We can't afford not to.


Barbara Florio Graham is the author of three books, and served as Managing Editor of Prose to Go: Tales from a Private List. Read about that collection at http://www.SimonTeakettle.com/prosetogo.htm

Copyright © 2011 Barbara Florio Graham/Log Cabin Chronicles/07.11