In analyzing my life at age 71, in relation to what I do and don’t do to help the planet, combat pollution and save the environment, I am going to review and think about my “green” report card.

Green Change Sign

I think I receive passing marks for the following:

I buy less NEW items now. I am out of the working 9 to 5 world now, so who needs pantyhose, new purses, shoes of every color and idle shopaholic item? Now, I love to thrift shop, and shop at resale shops like Savers, Goodwill and Salvation Army.
Grade: A

I have made war on junk mail! I have set up no-send controls both on the internet and for snail mail. It is not quite as easy in America as Australia…we can’t just put a “no junk mail” sign on our mailbox. Wish we could.
Grade: B

To save on plastic bags, I buy the re-useable bags from the grocery store. My failure: forgetting to bring them with me. Grade: C

I reduce paper waste by not printing out unnecessary things. I subscribe to online bank and utility statements, and just take a visual peak at them on the screen.
Grade: B

I recycle used ink cartridges for my printer which is a Brother 120C that uses four at a time! I get credit for the recycling to use toward purchases. My failure: will not do re-fillable knock offs for less money…sorry not worth it.
Grade: B

I have retired to the hot Southwest of the United States. From April through October we are likely to have triple digit temperatures. I have one room in my mobile home that does not have air conditioning or heat but plenty of glass windows and doors. In the winter months, it saves energy by allowing the sun to warm the entire home, but in summer, I must shut the doors and close it off with blinds drawn so as not to waste energy.
Grade: A

I also save energy by sharing a shuttle ride to the airport; drive my car less; have two power strips in the house that appliances and computers are plugged into; drink tap water; and try to maintain reasonable thermostat settings.

EXTRA CREDIT: I just requested and received a free box from my electric company of six energy saving compact fluorescent light bulbs!
Grade: B

My failings, which I will try to improve on are: I never shut down the computer, I still use plastic bags, I don’t recycle cans, bottles and aluminum; and I don’t go to farmer’s markets or eat entirely organic.
Grade: D

My overall report card is C+.

I may have passed, but just barely. Just remember that we are all able to change and everyone’s journey has to start somewhere, and as always there is room for improvement!

Guest Post by Sally Valle. A writer from the United States of America, who is changing her life in her twilight years.

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