Living in Germany definitely made me more "green", or at least more "green aware". We try to be green and are taking baby steps - buying natural cleaners, drinking organic milk and eating organic or all natural foods when we can, and recycling. In Germany, it is required by law to recycle - and it is amazing how many items we (or maybe just Americans?) go through in a day, a week, a month, that are recyclable. Our gray refuse container is picked up only twice a month. Garbage, picked up only TWO TIMES A MONTH! Could you imagine? Well now I can and would you believe that our garbage container is rarely more than half full? We have a blue container for paper products, which get picked up once a month and that is always overflowing with broken down cereal boxes and toilet paper rolls. And twice a month the huge yellow bags that hold all things plastic or aluminum is picked up. We typically have 6-8 bags full at each pick up. My point is, I thought I was an environmentally conscious person while we were in living Hawaii because I put out all my allowed recyclable items every week to get picked up. Small peanuts comparatively.
And the sky!! I noticed it yesterday - a slightly chilly and partly sunny day - but looking up in the sky everything was so bright and crisp and clear. No smog, no haze, no dingy gray or yellow, clear blue sky. It was almost shocking. I always thought that Hawaii had the brightest, bluest skies compared to anywhere I had every been and I chalked that up to being an island, surrounded by the endless blue ocean and the sun that is almost always shining. Well Germany is no island and certainly not a tropical paradise but that bright blue paints our sky here and I'm chalking that up to the envirmentally friendly habits of the people living here.
Everywhere you go in Bavaria (and perhaps all of Germany), you see people walking. Daily walks to the market, walks to the cafe, or walks just for the sake of walking. Young and old alike and many times ,older couples holding hands and chatting. Nordic walkers are everywhere with their walking sticks, cruising the streets in groups while chatting at the same time. Many just have little gas efficient scooters that go no more than 30kpm. On holidays you see huge groups of people walking along sidewalks and bike trails. It is family time and enjoyable for them, and it works off some of that huge holiday feast! Why don't we have traditions like that in America? Afternoon walks after eating all the ham and potatoes we can stomach? It is really neat to witness and a little inspiring.
This Earth Day, I plan on bringing a little green into my life, literally. I am going to buy some houseplants to clean up the air indoors and I am going to search for some plants and flowers to spruce things up outside. I'll post pictures of new additions and you can be the judge to see how much of a "green" thumb I actually have. I encourage you to make a change in your life in honor of Earth Day and try to make it stick. Start recycling - baby steps if you have to - start with the coke cans or the daily newspapers and build up from there. Plant that tree in your yard you've always wanted or go to PATT Foundation to plant a tree anywhere in the world. Make the next set of sheets or towels you purchase organic. Participate in a local clean up, or clean up your own yard. Decide to walk to the store or ride your bike. Whatever it is, make the change, and you, and the environment, just might be better off. And your planet will love you for it. If you need a little help thinking of something "green" to do, or just want more information and guidance on environmentally friendly products or how to live a more "green" life, check out National Geographics "The Green Guide" - it is an amazing web site chock full of great articles, tips, tools, blogs and even buying guides
While looking at all the fabric scraps on my sewing room floor, I got inspired. In honor of Earth Day I decided to do something crafty with something I would normally recycle and scraps I would normally throw away. I introduce to you my decoupage container! It is just a plastic wipes container that I cleaned out and decoupaged strips of scrap fabric onto. It turned out so cool and I'm either going to use it to hold my paintbrushes or my scissors, I haven't decided yet. I'll put some pebbles in the bottom it doesn't make it tip over, and viola! An adorably decorated recycled container!