Sunday, January 30, 2011

Earth Yoga Challenge: Decrease Tree-Products

I'm hoping these themes will not only focus on ways to help the environment, but will help us reconnect as yogis and people with our everyday lives. A simpler life.

This first theme will definitely result in a de-cluttering and reconnection that we can use part of our yoga practice to help forge new habits and routines.

EYCC: Decrease dependence on Unnecessary Tree Products

In order to reconnect with our lives and planet, it's not enough to simply replace our non-eco 'stuff' with more barriers created by their eco-version. Instead, in order to connect we need to try removing what gets in the way. For many reasons, these barriers have been perceived as conveniences, but pile too many and instead we can barely see over the mound of 'convenience'.

Looking at our kitchen, I realized that Andrew and I accumulate a lot of paper products. For us, this is mostly box board like pizza boxes, Kraft Dinner boxes (yes we eat KD, LOVE it), beer boxes...  Yes, we compost them, but that's not the point. It's waste and trees and extremely unlikely the paper used for these boxes were post-consumer or required minimal energy. I also wonder about the state of the fertilizer produced from box board covered in toxic inks...
 The shameful pile of box board waiting to be composted. I'm embarrassed to show it... but in order of fairness I am sucking it up.

I announced to Andrew that I'd really like to try to decrease our use of boxboard packaged products.

While problem solving as to how this would look, practically instead of just committing to a vague 'We'll try to avoid food packaged in boxes' (in my experience not a successful strategy), what resulted in a list of activities that involved eating less processed and frozen meals.

Lisa and Andrew's EYCC for Feb 2011:
  • Make our own pizza including the dough (make enough dough to freeze for convenience)
  • Make home made mac and cheese
  • Andrew will make and freeze his own taquitos and samosas for convenient food ready meals
  • Granola and cereal stuffs will be bought bulk or be homemade (depending on time)

As you can see, not a whole ton of things to complete, but just enough that we *hopefully* won't be buying lots of pre-made frozen food and become one step closer to freezing our own meals. This also allows us to eat healthier and save money. Wee!

Say you're just starting out on the Earth Yoga adventure, what would be a really fantastic place to start? The best thing we ever did was cut out paper towel from our vocabulary. Holy Goddess, but did I ever depend on paper towel. Looking back, I can't believe how wasteful it was and how difficult I 'thought' it was going to be, functioning without it. Seriously though, do you need to mop up your mess, clean the bathroom, or eat your piece of toast on paper made from our disappearing forests? Here are some different options that might work for you this month:

  • Cut out paper towel (post coming this week on some tips and support)
  • Avoid ridiculously over packaged items (like toothpaste that is also packaged in a paper box)
  • Switch to post consumer recycled toilet paper.
  • Go to cloth wiping (hmmm, not quite there yet myself, but definitely interesting- post to come)
  • Print on both sides of the paper at work. (my reports are always always double sided now)

Yoga specific:
  • Stop printing receipts for classes unless specifically asked.
  • Use an online method to tabulate class passes (it could be as simple as an excel spreadsheet)
  • Send out electronic newsletters instead of posters and flyers. 
  • Use towels instead of paper towel in your studio bathroom.
  • Switch to post consumer recycled TP and tissues.
  • Go paperless as a studio.
  • Spend some time outside near trees- meditate on their presence and our co-dependence. 

So- what will it be? Choose one, two or three different things to commit to Change this month and post it in your comment below- wherever you're at in your Earth Yoga state will be perfect.

Please leave any other ideas or suggestions that I haven't thought of here, on twitter using the hashtag #earthyogachallenge or write a post and link it back (using a link in the comment below for others to find it :) ).


article and photograph copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. i've found that ever since i learned frozen food boxes are not recyclable because they are made with 'wet-strength' (essentially, plastic is woven into the paper fiber to keep it from disintegrating from the moisture), it's kept me out of that aisle altogether. the added bonus? i'm also avoiding all the extra preservatives and calories and sodium that always come with stuff from that aisle (even the organic stuff).

    great post :)

  2. Great post! Diego and I don't eat much processed stuff anymore. We actually made pizza yesterday, dough and everything! We have a GREAT dough recipe from an Italian friend if you are interested. :)

    We actually only produce one blue bag of paper every 1-2 months! Cutting back on paper, plastic and garbage in general has been one of my big time efforts in our household and it has been working! We make one recycling bag of plastic every 2-3 weeks and 1 small shopping bag of garbage every 2 weeks! Sometimes it is more but not very often! I would like to trim it down even more so this post has given me the spur to do so. My goal for this month, cut our paper/plastic/garbage by a further 1/4-1/2.

    One thing that I do with mail is to reuse envelopes as scrap paper. They are great for lists and notes. I never throw them away until both sides are covered! We also made sure to cancel all junk mail.

    I also encourage all of my students to print their assignments on reused paper. I really don't care what is on the back because it is better than is an ecology class...soon I think we will have online submission only! One of my goals for when I finish my thesis!

    Next on my list...handkerchiefs and bathroom clothes for wiping. My biggest paper consumption is toilet paper for wiping and nose blowing. Although post consumer recycled, I still feel bad every time I flush it down or toss it away. First I need to make the wipes (my other goal for this month), then I will for sure post about my adventures...

  3. If you don't have time to make homemade pizza dough, my husband and I like making personal pizzas with pita bread. Tasty and fast.

  4. I used to used paper towels to dry my produce, but I've switched to reusable flour sack towels. They're large enough to lay lots of produce on and inexpensive.

  5. I have to work on that frozen food stuff. I rarely buy it, but last month, we had a frozen pizza and egg rolls. But I'm with you - one of my goals is to make my own pizza crust this month and FREEZE it!

    I also use cloth TP, as you know. Do you know that March marks my one-year cloth TP anniversary? LOL. I can't believe it. It's been totally worth it.

    PS - Loved the post on men and yoga, BTW!


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