I am delighted to welcome my real life friend, Jessica, for a guest post. Jess is greener than she realizes and takes the most beautiful, thoughtful photos I've seen. Check out her blog, Sweet Eventide, to see her wonderful pictures and to read her inner thoughts.
Good morning! My name is Jessica and I'm a mama, writer and photographer normally waxing on about how dusk inspires me over at Sweet Eventide. When Green Bean asked me to do a guest post here at the Green Phone Booth, I was honored but a bit stumped. I mean, I care deeply about being green but I am not sure I am actually very green. So I've been going in mental circles comparing myself to others and where does that ever lead me? There will always be someone doing better and always someone doing worse. So it's far better to avoid the fruitless chase and focus on myself.
In my circular thoughts though, I did notice a theme for myself: I am the greenest at the cash register. I am a fairly conscientious shopper and I do most of my shopping at the grocery store. I have noticed a lot of changes there in the past six years since I became a mother and more often than not, I can find an organic version of a product I grew up with, like sprinkles for my frozen yogurt or taco sauce for my Noodle's quesadillas. I started years ago by switching to organic produce, then dairy, then meat. Now I've got bread and crackers covered and skin care too.
I am always learning more and today it occurred to me that I haven't turned my attention to something quite near and dear to my heart: art. I love me some art supplies and I work really hard as a mom to encourage creativity and artistic pursuits for me and my son. This afternoon I felt a surge of creativity so we headed off to the local art supply store (vs. a big box store, although I have been known to go there too). I know there are greener choices as far as paper is concerned, as I've been buying Strathmore's Windpower paper for a couple of years now at least.
Today I wanted to know about paint and ink. A manager was called over. "No," he said, "lots of chemicals involved there, especially with oil paints." I waited for more. "I haven't seen any green options yet," he summarized. I searched the store myself but it was clear, at least from reading the packaging, there wasn't a lot of choices. So I bought a few things because by now, my son was fired up to do some painting and let's face it, I was too. We got two canvases, some tubes of acrylic paint (note to self: do not use a brand new blanket at your next outdoor, mother & child painting party!) and a couple of brushes. But I don't give up that easily and now that I am aware that I haven't greened up my art supplies, you can bet the process is in motion.
The key word in the conversation was "yet" and already a few Google searches have turned up some options like Alease Michelle's list of eco-friendly art supply companies. That list led me straight to the green section at Rex Art, an independently-owned company in the Southeast. I also found Eco Art Supplies which is in California and thereby scores me a local (these days) source.
From Eco Art, I know that the next time I shop for acrylic paints, I will go for Golden, which I noticed is carried at the store I visited today. Golden has an extensive area of their website devoted to safety and the environment. I read their article about cleanup and think it's a good thing I started this post before attacking my afternoon art mess. Now I know to wipe off the paint on our palette before rinsing because it is better to dispose of solid materials, even with water-based paints. There is also an article about children using their products and a company who isn't putting sales above safety is a company I am going to support at the cash register.
All in all, this is how I go about being green. Circular surfing on the web is much better than my circular, judgmental thinking because I can't do it all at once or all the time. But I am seeking out alternative options for whatever it is I am buying or using. I wouldn't call today a success, but it wasn't a failure either. I learned some things that I will apply the next time, and the time after that. I will revamp my art cabinet as time and my budget allow. In fact, I am totally inspired by my new mission and will report an update as soon as the Noodle and I use up all the current supplies. I see a lot of painting picnics in our summer plans.