The Power Of Small Changes

Kale
We get a lot of kale in our CSA box of veggies (image by terren in Virginia, CC 2.0 license)

There’s a perception that green is more expensive and less convenient, and, truth to say, that’s sometimes true. It is more expensive to buy your groceries at Whole Foods. And putting solar panels on your roof doesn’t really save you money for many years, if at all, (although it’s still less than buying a new car).

But on the other hand, we know that there are lots of green things you can do that actually save money – replacing your incandescent lights with compact fluorescents is one familiar example. And if you’re building a house, putting in lots more insulation than is required by code can save a huge amount of both money and energy, while making your home more comfortable.

Sometimes it’s small changes that can flip this perception. I have a recent example from my own life that brought this home to me (so to speak):

A few years ago we signed up with a communitysupported agriculture (CSA) program to get a box of organic veggies every other week. Essentially, we were contracting with a farmer out in the country to grow stuff forĀ  us to eat, and bring a box of it into the city every other week. CSA programs have clear benefits – in particular, they’re a cost-effective way to be sure you’re eating good quality, fresh, healthy, local food, and CSAs directly support small, family-run sustainable farms.

But, we stopped our box after a few months. The big problem? The farmer dropped off all the boxes for our part of town on a particular day at a house where we had to go to pick up ours at a particular time. This turned out to be just difficult enough that it became an obstacle to us being able to stay in the program. Effectively, it was a type of “privation” – we had to do a little bit more to be green and healthy than was convenient for our life.

The good news is that we just joined another CSA. Almost exactly like the first one, with one key exception: They deliver to our house. We don’t even have to be here. Every two weeks we get a big box with a giant variety of vegetables.

Even though I know that I should be able to pick up a box of vegetables at some random person’s house every two weeks, and that by doing so I’ll be saving the planet and being organic and supporting family farms, I just couldn’t do it. But with one small change, I’m back in the game.

What small changes have you experienced that made it easier to “do the right thing?” What could green suppliers, green builders, car companies, the government do to make “green” easier? Let me know your thoughts on this – I’d love to hear what you think.

2 thoughts on “The Power Of Small Changes”

  1. Here is a little change that made a difference of $40 to us last month. We bought drying racks. I don’t use them on the towels/sheets because I want to double fry the dust mites for allergies, but for all the workout clothing which are meant to wick….so dry fast. We hang out a load at a time after using earth friendly tea tree oil laundry soap (14 cents a load) in cold water. We are now using two racks and not using the dryer much at all (well, I hate ironing and the permanent press cycle works so well on dress shirts – that I still do them).

    Here is another thing that saved us at least $10 in December. I cleaned the insides and underneath the refrigerator and the freezer. I always clean the insides of the washer and dryer once a year too and we can tell the difference. They just work right up to their energy star capacity.

    Smart Stick plug ins for the computer and entertainment equipment consistently save us about $60 a year because we can turn all appliances off and they are not leaking energy. May never happen at your house, but it is a regular habit at ours…

    Just a few things.

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