I signed up on Practically Green and took the quiz to find out how find out how green I am. There were a lot of questions about all aspects of life—laundry, recycling, groceries, transportation, where your electricity comes from, whether you buy clothes made from organic cotton... My oh my.
If you couldn't already guess from reading this blog, I scored very well in areas like taking reusable lunch containers and reusable grocery bags, having a vegetable garden, recycling, biking or walking instead of driving. But I missed a lot of points on those organic items. True, the food we grow ourselves is organic, but at the grocery store, I just grab whatever's cheapest (which is often the stuff covered in pesticides, I know). Anyway, at the end of the quiz, I was rated "Solidly Green."
But wait, there's more! And this is the fun part. Practically Green is not just a site for making you feel guilty about how many questions you had to answer "Does not apply to me." You sign up and keep track of goals for greener habits. Changes in your habits, like switching to recycled paper towels or, even better, switching to cloth rags, are worth points, and the points add up to earn you a badge.
I have been looking at my goals this morning and decided to start clicking on the different badges and seeing how many I might have already or might be really close to earning. Competing with myself—love it. (I was never a girl scout, but now I totally see the appeal... no way, however, am I selling cookies, organic or otherwise, to earn one of these badges.)
One badge is "Healthy Green Lunch." To earn it, I have to complete at least five actions, which include regularly buying organic fruit, veggies, milk, yogurt, and/or cheese, switching to organic or natural chips and organic or natural deli meat, switching to natural fizzy juices or sodas, and then the two I will actually do—switching to a reusable lunch box and reusable sandwich bags. Considering all the organic requirements of this badge, I don't think I can do it on our grocery budget. But, I already do pack our lunches in reusable containers, though I could cut some plastic out of our lives, and I have set the reusable sandwich bags as a goal to complete by the end of June. Last summer, one of our friends made some cloth sandwich bags, something I'd been considering but have never gotten around to, so not only am I competing with myself on this goal, I'm trying to keep up with the green Joneses.
Next I tried out the "Recycle 5" badge, thinking, we recycle all kinds of things! The basics like paper, glass, plastic, aluminum, as well as our old electronics, furnace filters, light bulbs, batteries. But no, this badge has mostly to do with your household items being made of recycled products. Well, I'm not buying all new stuff! That's not green at all. Oh well. I did earn points for recycling plastic (we're lucky that our town recycles all plastics numbers 1-7, when many places only recycle a few types) and also for having watched Annie Leonard's video, The Story of Stuff. If you haven't ever watched this "20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns," you should. Right now.
While you do, I will browse the other badges I could earn.