Green Solutions

Going Green: Cleaning Up the Woods

er-gg-woodsI have decided to share with you some of the extremely small habits and decisions we make to be more conscious of our green impact. Here’s an introduction with the rationale and this is the first post in the series – about cleaning the woods during a daily walk. With spring making long walks in the woods possible this seems like a reasonable story to start with.

When in school, around Earth Day every year we were taken to the woods nearby to pick up trash left by careless walkers. I must say I never minded it and, in fact, enjoyed the chance to leave the school desk and go for a walk. Now, knowing how I forgot most of the dates and chemical formulas they tried to teach me, I actually think children should spend a part of their school day outside every day, ideally doing something useful like that. I’m not a school legislator and will not make that happen but about two years ago for Earth Day we rekindled this school tradition privately.
We live near a forest and we go there almost daily so during our walk with J (then a baby in a pram) we took a bunch of old plastic bags, rubber gloves and picked up all the trash we could find along the way: all the beer bottles, candy wrappers and such. We segregated it into different bags so that when we got back we just threw thtem into the right containers. The pram came in handy because we didn’t even have to carry the bags, we just hanged them around the handle.

Why do it:
Because it’s better than helplessly grumbling against all the people who leave that trash in the woods. You stop the trash from polluting the forest and prevent the animals from eating it. As a bonus, you conduct hands-on research into the peculiarities of human behavior (we found a pregnancy test packaging and an empty bread bag, among other things).

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
It literally costs nothing if you repurpose bags (actually you’re bound to find some bags in the woods).

★ ★ ☆ ☆
(Probably three stars if you’re very squeamish but as a reasonably squeamish person myself I must say it is actually quite painless.)

✤ We don’t do it as often as we might because it’s a bit of hassle to remember the gloves and the bags and you have to carry them all the way, of course.
✤ You literally look like a bag lady. Of course, it might be easier (if slower) to only take one bag and segregate it later or, well, not at all?
✤ Sometimes you can’t help the resentment building against your fellow human beings when you see how careless and lazy they are. But once you start paying attention, you also realize that lots of people must be doing the cleaning because there’s actually not a whole lot of trash and it disappears regularly.


Dogs’ Day

As a part of a barter arrangement with our wedding photographer, we got a post-wedding session, which we had never planned on but apparently that’s what cool kids do. We were a little wary of the idea and most of all didn’t know what kind of session to choose until we hit on a blessed idea to combine this with our love of huskies.

We are not likely to ever own a husky, first of all because of R’s allergies and second of all (but it might be first just as well) because you need to walk this furry bundle of love four hours a day. Yep. Four of the precious hours people without huskies spend commuting, playing Scrabble and scrubbing the bathroom. Much as we might prefer the former, we simply wouldn’t be able to find this much time daily. But this knowledge doesn’t stop us from loving huskies from afar and making their owners uneasy with our delights. So we decided that a photo session with huskies would be a wedding present for ourselves.

So last Wednesday we woke up at an insane hour – or planned to but we overslept and ran madly around looking for bits of our wedding attires (okay, I was running and snapping but hey, the bridal look takes so much longer to assemble). Shortly past seven we were in the local woods with the photographer, waiting for the dogs. We had arranged the whole event with a guy who lives nearby who we’d seen riding a dog sled many times and who turned out very nice and approachable. He arrived with thirteen dogs, overwhelming us a little and the photographer more than a little. At first, as he handed each of us a leash we could see why they are employed as dogs for pulling: they pull superhard and if they want to pull you one way, there’s very little you can do about it. We also thought for a moment that it might not have been such a great idea, seeing as we could hardly walk the dogs, let alone make them pose.

But that soon proved unnecessary as the dogs’ owner, whose name was Robert, by the way, turned out in exceptional command of them. It was enough for him to call a dog’s name and it did whatever was wanted: sat down, looked one way or another and generally behaved itself. But actually we didn’t need too much discipline. As soon as the dogs stopped trying to tear our arms off we simply let them be and got to know them. As it happens, huskies are not only incredibly pretty, they are also very human-friendly and we shed our reserve almost as fast as they, um, shed, I guess. Once we did, we had so much fun I still find it hard to believe. Not only did the session not stress us out, we ended it as relaxed as if we’d spent a day at a spa. I definitely see how dog therapy must be efficient.

Of course, as I’m as predictable as they come, I particularly enjoyed the puppy who was not fully trained yet, so much so that it even bit a little, and still had all the charm and playfulness of a young dog. But all the others were great too: Whitie, who was the leader of the pack, Dakota, who let me walk her without any struggle from the very start, the large brown Malamute that licked R’s nose and the small gray husky that licked mine. It almost makes one wonder whether four hours a day are really so difficult to find.


This is us with the puppy.


And with a whole bunch of other huskies (photos by B. Pezowicz).