World Water Day 2017

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March 22nd is World Water Day andย here we celebrate Canada Water Week to coincide. Now, you may be thinking to yourself “Why Canada? We don’t have a water problem? Why would we focus on ourselves?” so let me share a few facts with you.

  1. Canada holds 20% of the entire planets fresh water. That’s right, 20%. The rest is spread out around the world including places that humans don’t have easy access to.
  2. Last year’s numbers tell us that freshwater species have declined 81%. As a point of reference, Land and Oceanย populations have only dropped down 38% and 36% respectively. That’s not okay. None of that is okay.
  3. There are communities in Canada (hell, here in Ontario) that don’t have access to clean drinking water. We have 20% of the world’s fresh water but we have people drinking bottled water to survive? And why? Because we allowed companies to pollute said water but didn’t bother to hold them accountable for the clean up? What the actual hell?

 

A watermain in our town broke this morning. We’re now under a boil-water advisory. It’s been less than half a day and I’m already super over it. I nearly rinsed my hands in the sink 9065 times already. I can’t wash dishes or do laundry. I boiled a huge pot of water so they can refill their water bottles later and I set up a bowl in the sink for hand washing.ย I had to wipe the kids up after lunch with a wet wipe because the water I boiled was still hot. I had to change lunch plans from noodles to bagels. It’s been annoying, but nothing compared to what many people all over the world and right here in Canada go though. I CAN boil my water. That’s already a step above many. I still have water pouring from my taps. I can still flush my toilets. The fresh water sources our local animals drink from are not contaminated. These are all great things, regardless of my wet wipe situation. On a normal, regular day, I don’t have to think about all of the things I use my clean, safe, water for and that’s the truth. I wouldn’t say I take it for granted, but maybe I sometimes forget to be as grateful as I could be.

So what can we do? World Water Day is about conservation, protection, and spreading awareness. How can we do better? On a big scale? Sure. But let’s be honest, when people hear the big scale stuff they think “well, I can’t make a difference”. You can though, by focusing on the small scale stuff every day. What can you do around the house or in your neighbourhood to save/protect the water?

  1. A rain barrel is an excellent investment, especially if you have a garden that will need watering over the summer. You can even make your own. Instead of using clean water every time you can use your saved up rain. You can even get barrel’s with a fancy top that keeps them from becoming a mosquito house of horrors.
  2. A totally free thing you can do is use water from boiled foods or your shower to water your plants. There’s no need to use fresh water from the tap.
  3. REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE. If you’re still carrying trash around with you like some kind of chump, I don’t even know what to tell you. Are you kidding me? In grade 4 our whole school participated in this green project. Everyone was given a bottle to reuse, everyone got a checklist to take home to make sure their fam was up to snuff, and all of the classes did projects to learn about keeping our communities clean. GRADE 4! I’m not that young guys. That was a long time ago. Get on board!
  4. Toilet’s use a lot of water. If you have reasonable, older children who use a dignified amount of toilet paper/don’t roll said outrageous amount into a tight ball, you may consider lowering your tanks water (if it seems high). You can do this easily by placing a few heavy rocks (or a ziplock bag of small rocks/do not put them in loose!) down in the tank. This will leave less space for the water to fill back up when you flush, thus using less water. I reiterate though, if your children are toddlers, you really need the flushing power off all of the water. (*hard eye roll).
  5. Do you have a kiddie pool? I bet you’re already using that water for grass and plants when you empty it, but did you know that adding a cup of baking soda to the fresh water can help keep the water clean and clear for a little longer? The less you need to empty and refill, the more water you’re saving over the summer!
  6. Turn the tap off! I know, it’s the simplest thing. We all learned it young, yet I fail at it all of the time. The other day E gave me shit for letting it run while I brushed my teeth. She knows what’s up. If you’ve fallen into the habit leave a little post-it on the mirror until you break the habit. (Or I’ll send E over as a motivational coach. Like Nic Corette from SNL!)
  7. Spring cleaning is about to get underway. Do you spray your driveway or paths down with the hose? Try sweeping them down first. If they still need a rinse you’ll still be using less water trying to spray off stuck on dirt.
  8. Use less plastic and secure your recycling well. If you do have some plastic bags in your recycling, put them all into one bag and weigh it down with some heavier items. That way the wind doesn’t send it flying. Better yet, use re-usable bags and containers whenever possible and cut your plastic use. Plastic does not degrade and the lighter it is, the farther it travels, and eventually it ends up in our waterways. Definitely not great for the eco-systems that rely on fresh water (yeah, us included!).

A few links for your research pleasure:

http://www.worldwaterday.org/

http://canadawaterweek.com/

http://blog.wwf.ca/blog/category/fresh-water/

http://action2.davidsuzuki.org/water

https://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=en&n=FD9B0E51-1

I have zero affiliation with these site’s, these are just a few I came across while researching. Pinterest actually has a lot of great charts on how to save water in your home as well.

Do you have any water saving tricks or water related charities close to your heart? Please feel free to share! Hopefully we’re all taking steps towards making a cleaner future for our children and planet.

xxo

C

 

Natural/Humane

There shouldn’t be a line between what is natural, and what is humane. In a perfect word there wouldn’t be. The fact is though, that there is. A pretty thick line.

When my family is sick, I give them lemon and honey. But how inhumane is honey? Wool dryer balls would be natural, but silicone ones are more humane. But why am I okay with using silicone? I use silicone baking sheets, and silicone muffin liners, because I like the idea of less waste (they also make baking SO much easier), but is it really safe to be baking with them? I want knee high brown boots for fall, like everyone else, but the thought of leather makes my skin crawl. Which leaves me with a bunch of materials that have been cooked up in a lab. I’ll even let you in on a little secret, I wish that I could eat sea food. Yeah, I said it! 17 years, I’ve been a vegetarian. 17! And I still believe all of the reason’s I chose to cut meat from my diet, but I kind of wish fish weren’t animals. I’m sure that makes me a monster, but it’s the truth. (I would still never eat mammal or poultry. It may not make sense to you, but I just can’t)

My point is, it’s a hard line to walk. Getting the balance just right. Do I cut the world out and live in a hobbit hole with my kids? Spend my days tending my own sheep, spinning my own yarn, raising my own chickens to ensure that my eggs are guilt free? Would I even have the stomach to kill a fish if I had my own stream? Do I learn to woodwork, build my own furniture, whittle toys for my kids? Also, I like things. I really like THINGS! That probably sounds obnoxious, but it’s true. I like fashion, and cool kitchen gadgets, and fun baby gear. I just do. I enjoy shopping. I like decorating my place. I like city life, or at the very least, small town life. I want to live in a Scottish castle surrounded by beautiful green, but I also want to be able to bike into town for fancy cake from the bakery! I want to have my own tiny blue barn with sheep and chickens, and a horse, but be able to drive to IKEA on the weekend!

Everyday I try to be a little greener. To be a little less wasteful. To be a little more natural. To live a little more simply. I can’t say I’ll get all the way there, but I think I’m putting in a pretty good effort.

xxo

C

What kind of things do you use (or don’t use) to find the balance in your life?

DIY Laundry Detergent

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Recently I really started looking into making my own planet/people/animal friendly household products. There are so many recipes out there so I spent forever looking through them all. Trying to find the right laundry detergent for my family. We are all pretty sensitive skinned, me being the worst. As if lactose intolerance and eczema weren’t enough, I am throat closingly allergic to perfumes. Worse? Bleach. (I mean a full week in CHEO for trying to wash marker out of my own sweater and then sucking my finger in front of the tv. Kids!) Although to be fair, just because a persons not allergic to poison, doesn’t make it a good idea to use it. Right?

One day at a time, I’m going to try to eliminate as much artificial, chemical, garbage from our lives as I can. (can someone please figure out how to make all natural hair relaxer;) So today I made Laundry Detergent!

Now the catch here is that I had to make up a recipe. I searched long and hard, but couldn’t seem to find one that satisfied all of my criteria. So many conflicting comments and opinions led me to taking bits and pieces and mashing them together. The common ingredients I came across included Borax, Washing Soda, Baking Soda, grated bar soaps, and essential oils (tea tree specifically). When you introduce Cloth Diapers and/or babies to the equation the debates about Borax and Washing Soda start to blow up! I read a lot of words like, corrosive, hole burning, fading, damaging, and decided that I was unwilling to risk any of that. I also wasn’t too keen about the grated bar soap building up on my pre-folds causing them to need stripping way more often. So this is what I came up with:

-3L jug (I kept two from our commercial detergent and washed them out. That way I can have the cap for dispensing).
-1c Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (we got the Baby Mild because it’s unscented and baby mild:)
1/2c Baking Soda (mix this in a measuring cup with just a bit of warm water so that it dissolves and so you can pour it into your jug. My mistake was adding way too much hot water and then my kitchen turned into a 3rd grade science lesson for a few minutes:)
-1/2tsp (like 10-15 drops) of tea tree oil (I put too much at first so I just went ahead and made both jugs. This seems to be a good amount.)
– Do not shake! Slosh gently and then fill the rest of the jug with cool water. It will still bubble up some so let it sit for awhile and then slowly add more water until its full.
-Now you can put the lid on and flip it over a few times slowly to mix it up. I’m going to do this at the beginning of every wash day just to make sure it’s all mixed up.

-I will also be adding a half cap full of vinegar to every load to kill stinky bacteria and to soften the laundry. ( as a softener most people put in in the last rinse, but I don’t have the time, patience, or willingness for that!)

So I’ve got my first load of freshly washed cloth diapers here and they smell amazing! No specific scent, just fresh, clean, and clear. I swear they even look a little brighter! I’m thinking that this was a success. I will update you all when the rest of this laundry mountain is done!

Being a greener me!
xxo
C

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*The mason jar is full of cloth wipes solution. You can use the Doc Bronner’s for that as well!

 

UPDATE: I finished all the laundry and it’s all very clean and has a wonderful fresh smell!!! LOVE IT!!!