The Green Triangle

January 23, 2012 § 3 Comments

Hanging out during my workday break at m’s co-op preschool, I started chatting with one of the wonderful teachers. We talked a little about simple living, and she suggested a book to me called Living Simply With Children, written by Marie Sherlock. I can definitely relate to the ideas of this book.

One of the ideas that really struck me was in Chapter 14, when the author explains Ernest Callenbach’s Green Triangle theory.

“In Callenbach’s model, the points of the triangle are Health, Environment, and Money, and his hypothesis is that what benefits one of these three typically benefits the other two. A good example is riding your bicycle more. Good for your health (exercise), good for your pocketbook (savings on gas, parking, maintenance), and good for the earth (less pollution, less resource depletion). 

Those of us who embrace simple living believe that Callenbach’s Green Triangle can easily metamorphose into a square, a pentagon, even a hexagon and beyond.”  – p. 225

I LOVE this idea. A couple years ago I remember marveling at how God’s world order works. It seems that when we live as God wants us to, we please God, we are happier, and those around us are happier. A win-win-win. It seems so freeing – that we can look at ways to bless the earth, bless those around us, please God, and that it can end up leaving us happier/more fulfilled. I’m looking for these kinds of green shapes in my life. A few from recent times:

  • Making my kids some clothes out of our old worn out clothing – I love the creative process, the kids get “new” clothing, less trash is sent to the landfill, money is saved

I wore my white Gap long-sleeved t-shirt for years and years until it was out of shape and sad. I made this toddler shirt for m, and even kept the old label.

  • Starting a worm bin – the worms get food, our kitchen scraps are taken care of, little m likes observing the process, we get a wonderfully rich organic matter to add to our garden, we get better vegetables growing, two of our plastic bins have fresh new purpose

    Worms!! The bin was set up by J - it holds food scraps and torn newspaper.

  • Using cloth instead of disposable paper products – (cloth diapers, wipes, napkins, hankies, and even female sanitary products) – soft, durable, lint-free (I mean, who wants bits of tissue left anywhere?) and I’ve heard that cloth diapers can live a wonderful second life as cleaning rags

Our pile of hankies - 9"x11" rectangles of soft knit, cut from previously-loved t-shirts. When m has a runny nose she yells, "I need a HANKY!"

Okay, so some of the things listed sound totally disgusting. But once you get past some of that yuck, you can really do so  much. So freeing and fun!

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§ 3 Responses to The Green Triangle

  • Cynthia says:

    Hi! What a great post. I admire you using cloth for everything, especially for diapers. I could never do it. Hi-five to you! I think I’m going to try the hanky cloths. We use way too much napkins and paper towels as it is. Great tips. Thanks!

  • cat h says:

    I appreciated your blog and admire you for thinking through your life choices so intentionally. It is so fun to see all your creations for the kids’ clothing and see the photos of the food your family grows on your fb page. Thank you for also tying this in with your faith so beautifully. I don’t know that I could exactly follow in your footsteps given everything on my family’s plate (even though I wish I could!), but your blog inspires me nonetheless to be intentional to think through how we can simplify our lives and seek to take small steps toward having less of a footprint on the earth we live in. Two very simple examples have been donating to a local crisis pregnancy org. all my son’s baby equipment and baby clothes that I’d been storing for years, so that others in need can make use of them (rather than having them collect dust in a closet for years) and trusting that God will provide the things we will need if we have another child. The second example was when our electric tea kettle broke, we decided not to replace it but realized that our coffee maker (which was just collecting dust) could serve the same function beautifully both for family and entertaining as we always serve tea rather than coffee anyway. thanks for sharing and writing this!

  • [...] is another green shape in my life – a win-win-win. For me, the cup is so much more comfortable and effective and the [...]

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