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Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day at the Gerber House

Before I start let me tell you: I don't feel like I am a very "green person". I drive a car, and I drive it almost every day. I enjoy our washer/dryer, dishwasher, steamer, you name it. I make fun of "esoteric tree hugging people" even if I can't deny that some energy may be flowing through those sturdy trunks.

My most environmentally conscious time was when Colin was a baby and would only sleep in the car or stroller, and only as long as the wheels were actually moving and I wasn't speaking. Driving around randomly in the car was out of question. Also I could not be one of those moms sitting on a bench, talking on my cell phone while rocking the stroller every now and then. I needed to walk for at least 30 minutes until he finally fell asleep. Cobble stones usually worked. Needless to say, I knew all the rough patches around our neighborhood. Then I wanted him to sleep for at least an hour. By that time I had usually circled the supermarket a dozen times. I had to walk in wide circles though, because when I met someone on the street and said hello - wide open were his eyes!

So this was a good time, health and gas emission wise. Also I only worked a half day per week, so I had time for all those walks / grocery runs. Oh, and all the baby food like veggie pulp and fruit sauce were home made of organic produce. This was actually something I was looking forward to when I was pregnant. Have you seen the Diane Keaton movie "Baby Boom"? This is what I pictured myself: former stressed out business lady now making lots of apple sauce for her baby. And I did:



Don't be discouraged by his first reaction. He learned to like it really quickly ;-) This video is making me smile, I had to watch it twice before resuming my writing.

So that was that. Today he is a big boy who likes his pasta, pizza, burgers and fries, and who only eats his veggies in order to get dessert. And who, when browsing in the crafts supply store for St. Patrick's Day stuff in February, points out mosaic lamps "Mommy, can I have one?"



"What do you want with one of those?" "Not one of THOSE, of course! We need to make one in blue and green - for EARTH DAY!" Wow, he remembered from last year!

Always thrilled about crafts project suggestions by hockey guy, we went back to that store a couple of weeks later and started glueing little blue and green platelets on an IKEA lamp:



Also we ordered some books to educate him on global warming. What he learned from the books? Number 10 from "ways I can help the Earth": Put my underwear in the freezer when it's hot. Huh??


On one of two spring days we have had so far, we planted some tomato seeds and are waiting for something to grow:



Let's not forget about the absolutely cool baking project. This is what I wanted to make (for details on "how to", see Carrot Patch Cake):



You don't even want to see my result. The carrots I "planted" were floating up, so the tips got all burned while the "earth" was still muddy batter. So today I tried out something different. Easier. BeckyCharms lemony lemon brownies:



But Earth Day is not about snacks or crafts on one specific day, but what you can do to protect the environment all year long. So this is my review on our current lifestyle using Colin's Earth Book Checklist:

Turn off the lights - doing pretty well here. Even using energy saving light bulbs.

Recycle - we are among the world champions! Every expats seems to think so, too. At the end of this post I linked up some fun to read blogs on how they perceive the Swiss trash / recycling system.


Save leftovers - leftovers can be life savers for busy people. Also trying to use them creatively. The real question though is leftover of what? Or how seasonal is our food? Let's just say, if spring started as expected we wouldn't be out of line for eating asparagus or strawberries. Right? OK, importing from Mexico = not cool from an ecological point of view. Let's have some local radish for dinner.

We are very nice to the worms. No question about that. We don't have pet worm, though. 

Share a book. Sure! Anybody wants to read the Earth Book containing important info on what to do with your underwear on hot days? 

Plant a tree. Do tomato plants count? No? OK, I have tried hard to save the maple tree that my mother planted the year I was born from being cut down. I have been raking and picking up leaves for a couple of years until I was outvoted. 


Duplex use of paper - the only way you can get by with an eager painter and writer. Also using recycled paper. Saving a tree at last!

Save water - we could definitely do better on this one. At least I purchased a "washing ball" that allows to do laundry without detergent. Plus our water consuming appliances have an "e" button. No, they don't send e-mail. They use less water. I guess.


Clean up trash. Again. Living in Switzerland, this is a no brainer.

No comment on number 10. I guess it should be an alternative to air conditioning. Our houses are not equipped with A/C anyway. We only have like 10 days of summer, so there is really no need for it.


That wasn't so bad, was it? How are YOU doing?



Fun to read Expat Blogs about Recycling in Switzerland: