It's Easy Being a Green Mama

It’s easy for Jack Johnson to be green

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans,” John Lennon sang.   Mamas like me feel like this all the time.

The challenge I gave myself in my last post was to use half a tank, max for one week.  I was doing good with it until my husband’s car broke down.  So, I drove him to and from work for over a week, me and all three kids.  When I didn’t need the car, he took it where he needed to go.  In a way, I guess he saved gas, because his car didn’t go anywhere for that time.   When he finally got his car back, it was such a relief.


This car crisis really made me think about our family’s dependence on the car to get around.  Bhu Srinivasan in an interview on the 1A, pointed out that in most of the world, the average person doesn’t own a car.  There are some pockets in the United States, like New York City, where car ownership isn’t a necessity, but around here, it would be hard. We’re spread out, and mass transportation isn’t a big part of the infrastructure.

Besides spending money on car maintenance, insurance and fuel, I would love to no longer drive a car.  There are several solutions to reduce driving: bus or train, walk or ride bikes; and car pooling.  Except for a train, I definitely need to explore these things.  I kind of have been car pooling to school a few times.



I did have a mini-road trip: I drove two hours to see Jack Johnson in concert.  For me, this was a really big deal because I haven’t been to a real concert in years. Despite coming home just a few hours before I had to get up and the rain pouring down for a good part of the concert, I had the best time!  Besides the music, there was a tent where Jack’s organization, All at Once, was promoting its campaign.  There was a game you could play, which educated concert goers about getting rid of single use plastics.


I’m definitely going to be driving less, but I decided to work on Jack’s tips for a less plastic life.  I decided to go with Number 9: Clean up your soap situation.   To be specific, this week I’m going to clean up my house cleaning.  So tune in next week to see how I do.  Will I save money?  Will I be more environmentally friendly?  Will I be able to keep my challenge?

It’s not easy being green-during a hurricane
September 18, 2017, 12:25 am
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So, the past two weeks, since I wrote my last blog post, have been nuts.  We had a hurricane.  We survived, I’ve come out the other side intact, my house mostly the same (with a little more water and a few more holes than before), and most importantly, my friends and family safe.

Image result for hurricane irma satellite beach

I made my pledge to not buy groceries with the hurricane on the radar.  At the time, we didn’t have a good idea which way it was headed, and I was optimistic that it was not coming towards our home.  I fully intended not to get any food even if we did get a hurricane.  Living in hurricane alley, I’ve been through my share of natural disasters.  The first few days of that week pledge, it was helpful to not be buying any groceries anyway, because I wanted, if the storm was coming, to use up all of my perishable food so that it wouldn’t get wasted when the storm came.

As Irma got closer, I broke down.  I caved.  It started with bottled water.  You know how I feel about bottled water.  I got some partly to send to Texas for Harvey relief, and also a case for our family.  A few days later, it looked like we were in the cone of uncertainty.  We’d started boarding up our house, and talking about if we would leave.  I started looking at our pantry, figuring out what we could eat if we lost power.  In 2004, when the eyes of two hurricanes passed through our county two weeks apart, we were without power for about a month.  I ended up at the grocery store like everyone else, stocking up on canned goods; shelf stable milk, the most processed bread you can imagine, nut butter, squeezable jelly, and all kinds of granola bars.  I did not comparison shop or clip coupons.  I also stocked up on disposable diapers.  And I forgot my reusable grocery bags.

We ended up driving north to a relative’s house, and staying there for the duration of the hurricane, and returned home in awful traffic not long after the worst had passed.  We were very blessed when we got home, we had power and running water.  There hasn’t even been a boil water notice.  However, we are conserving water until our city water is back up to normal, so our youngest is still not back in cloth diapers.  And we’ve been drinking lots of bottled water.

I feel awful about my lack of green-ness.  There are certain things I did do, like not eat meat, but I did eat a lot of processed food.  A LOT.  And I have no excuse about forgetting my reusable bags.  If I had prepared earlier, thought ahead, I know I could have had gotten or made healthier choices for the food I packed.

Every year in our state of Florida, we have hurricane days just before hurricane season begins when they drop sales tax on items that you might need during a hurricane, like generators.  I decided that next year, in an effort to be more green, I will stock up on GREEN hurricane supplies.  For example, I can get or make less processed food that will still keep.  Some of the food items that I bought that was as upset about were lara bars, dried mango,  and Rx bars.  I could have made all of these items.   Next hurricane season, I’m definitely just going to spend a weekend making a bunch of these kinds of things, and then if we don’t get a hurricane, I’ll have lots of snacks.

The night before we evacuated, we had a hurricane feast, where I prepared just about everything left in our refrigerator and freezer, and the family tried to eat as much as we could.  Even so, we still ended up throwing away a bunch of things the first trash day we’ve had.  I hate wasting food.  I went to the grocery store and got all kinds of fruit and vegetables, and it was so exciting to cook a meal and have fresh food.

One thing that is still going on here is a lack of gasoline.  It’s getting better, but can be a bit tricky to find.  Today was my first day going more than a mile from our house in any direction.  I have had a full tank for several days, but between traffic lights being out and me not wanting to have to find gas if I use up a full tank, I have been staying close by.  So my challenge for this week is not to use more than half a tank of gas.  School starts again on Monday, so I’ll be doing school pick-up and drop-off, but I plan to stay local.  Walk and ride bikes whenever possible.  I certainly spent enough time in the car the last week.