Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Doug Fine Lecture Recap

The Doug Fine lecture this past Friday at the Chicago Cultural Center was outstanding! Despite my bad dreams that only 8 people would show up, the chairs filled up (I think there were about 85 in attendance!) and the audience was as lively as the speaker. Doug really inspired and motivated the crowd and we laughed along with him as he told us about his mishaps and successes in going Carbon Neutral. Many of my friends and contacts who attended have sent me updates about how they are looking into what changes they can make after being fired-up at this event. These changes range from starting herb gardens in window boxes to raising chickens in the city and even buying a Diesel car to have converted to run on vegetable oil! Wonderful stuff!

As for myself, I had read Farewell My Subaru many months ago and remember being catapulted to a new level of "green-consciousness" afterward...but now after hearing the lecture and chatting with all these other inspired people, I'm experiencing another burst of eco-motivation! I was talking to my husband about how maybe we could plant some vegetables on our balcony this year, and he said, "Why even do flowers? What about all vegetables?" Awesome! So I am planning to grow all edible plants in my planters and boxes this year, like lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, and a bunch of different herbs (and then if there's room, maybe an annual or two). I am even considering hanging tomato plants like this one since the tomato leaves are toxic to my little one whose curiosity might get the best of him!

We are also planning to start composting in our condo with worms (vermiculture) so that we make less waste and have some great fertilizer for our new "garden".
I'm thinking of hosting a Worms and Wine party after being inspired by an article in the paper, so check out an invitation in a future post when I get the date set.  What could be more fun than sipping organic wine while learning how to get worms to eat your kitchen scraps?
One more change we've made is to run our heater a LOT less.  I used to just have it set at 70 for most of the morning, let it go down a few degrees while we were usually out during the day, and then it was back to 70 from afternoon until bedtime.  Well, now it's usually OFF! We live on the 4th floor of a 4 story condo building, so we do get some heat that rises up from our neighbors, so it never seems to get below 67 during the daytime, and if so, then I'll just turn it on until it warms back up. Of course I have been wearing more sweaters and keeping my socks on, but that's no problem when I saw how much $$ we saved on our gas bill!!

So, what changes have you made lately? Do you have any interesting ones in the works? I'd love to hear about them, no matter how small, and I'm sure they might inspire another reader as well, so feel free to post a comment to share your ideas.

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