By Janeen Ellsworth
My cousin Cheryl is a sustainability guru, but you'd never guess that just by looking at her.
I gave her a call her last week to ask if she wouldn't mind sharing some advice about composting on a video chat with me for the blog. She has a stunning organic garden, after all.
Before she agreed to a public convo, she told me straight up that she thought an article I'd written a while ago was, in her opinion, "sanctimonious." She said my tone was "holier-than-thou" and "a little obnoxious."
"Sometimes you tree huggers get a little too self-righteous for your own good," she added for good measure.
I have to admit, she was right. Those of us who fancy ourselves climate champions mean well, but sometimes we're so busy screaming about carbon offsets that we forget to listen. To be kind. To be compassionate and tolerant of differing viewpoints. Even from folks who are on our same team.
Check out the video chat that Cheryl finally agreed to (above), once I promised I wouldn't get sanctimonious. She offered some no-B.S. tips on how to start composting and how to cut down on water consumption.
Just remember that Cheryl doesn't fit the mold of what we typically think of as an eco-warrior. Instead, she's living an ordinary life, proudly showing her Pittsburgh pride, treading gently on the earth, just without all the irate screaming.
And, really, thank heaven for that. Without further ado, I bring you my cousin Cheryl, a.k.a. The Eco Yinzer.
The Eco Yinzer's Tips At A Glance:
1. How to start composting: Keep vegetable scraps in a container on your kitchen counter. When full, transfer to an outdoor, larger-sized bin with holes drilled or a screen so it can breathe. Mix vegetable matter with dead leaves, stir occasionally, and allow to decompose. Keep a lid on your outdoor bin to prevent pests. Mix with topsoil and mulch in spring prior to planting.
2. How to save water: Keep a bucket in your shower stall. Allow to fill as you heat your shower water. *Note* My "tree hugger" husband says Cheryl's suggestion of a 5-gallon size is too big. Instead, he recommends a 2-gallon bucket, which we use at home and is plenty of room to gather water, and it's more manageable for pouring. How to use: Instead of flushing your toilet, use the water gathered from your shower to pour into the toilet. Save water!
I'm Janeen; writer, mother, wife, and full-time, radical Reductionist. I share stupid-easy tips on how to save money while reducing your impact on the environment, & I'm committed to helping others live a life of simple sustainability.
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