Living Lightly

Susan Vogt on living more simply but abundantly

Browsing Posts in Days 365+

As Covid appears to possibly be retreating, I have recently returned from two trips (one by air to Singapore for our son’s wedding and one by car for a retreat and visiting friends and family along the way). These trips have prompted me to muse about the experience of traveling and what it continues to […]

As we approach Palm Sunday and Holy Week, I am aware of how unusual this Lent has been for me. Perhaps for you too. My usual basic Lenten practice is to give up sweets. This is not a significant sacrifice, but rather I consider it a daily background reminder of this season of transformation. When […]

Hmmm, my Prayer & Fasting during Lent are going OK, but the Almsgiving is eluding me. I had decided (rightly I think) that almsgiving should be broader than just giving money. I now define it as not only making donations to charitable causes but giving my whole self. Thus, choosing a way to serve others […]

Lent has started and I’m a week behind already. I’ve got 2 of the 3 Lenten basics covered, but it’s discouraging to be behind before I start. Prayer – In addition to my regular prayer time I’ve joined a contemplative prayer group at our parish. These twice-a-week online gatherings have been meaningful since they prompt […]

Curbside recycling is convenient and prevents many items from polluting our land, air, and water or languishing in landfills. The local Cincinnati area waste collection company (Rumpke) has recently added “to-go” cups to what can be put in curbside recycling. Good! BUT, what about items you no longer need but you want to find a […]

Although Christmas gifts (especially new electronics) can prompt recycling of older stuff, I continue to ask myself “How much is enough?” It’s nice to know I have an extra lamp if one breaks. How many blankets does a home need? How do you decide when to get rid of useful but extra stuff? Two recent […]

Christmas is almost upon us. Perhaps you will receive some new electronics (a phone, laptop, TV, game system, etc.) Yea! But leap ahead a week or so and this also brings up the question of what to do with your older, maybe broken or obsolete technology items. How do you recycle these responsibly? I did […]

Here we are in the middle of Advent (Nov. 28 – Dec. 24, 2021). I will repeat only once my tired rant about Christmas being Dec. 25 and Advent being the season of waiting and preparing, NOT celebrating and gift giving. Over the past decade I’ve written 20 posts related to how to manage this […]

I do clothes washing about once a week. Recently when I was folding my all-purpose black socks, I noticed that some needed mending. Even after that, I had more than I could ever wear from one wash day to the next (even adding on a couple extra grace days for delayed washing). Thus, I came […]

People may disagree about what is the right thing to do and whose opinion is correct. Some folks are just plain argumentative. Others may be of good will, but we just have different fundamental views on life or values. The temptation is to retreat into our “tribes” or “bubbles” where folks agree with me. It […]

I just completed a “Web Week from Hell.” I needed to migrate my Family Matters website and Living Lightly blog to a new host. Despite doing websites for about 20 years, I realized that I was still a “techno peasant” in understanding the technology behind how they worked. Tech support was very helpful and patient […]

BOTTOM LINE for those in a hurry: • The best bags are ones you already have. Reuse them. (I had accumulated about 15 reusable bags over the years, mostly as swag from conferences. If you want to know which are the least harmful to the environment and why, read on. • Refuse Single Use Plastic […]

I recently returned from a trip to Olympic National Park on the Pacific Ocean. I saw some big stuff like huge Douglas Fir trees and millions of small stones along the ocean. It was awe inspiring and a visual reminder of how we humans are a relatively small part of creation. And then I returned […]

As my frequent readers know, I’m all into saving money and time. But sometimes my super frugal, efficient self gets in the way of my higher values of being generous and loving others. For example: Saving $ – Sometimes we have to spend in order to save. We’ve had solar panels on our house since 2018. […]

During this 2021 Summer of Covid one of my self-care, emotional survival practices has been weeding. Sure, I weed my garden more or less every summer, but with more time at home immersed in Zoom calls and less time traveling, the weeds have been calling to me – “Take me, Take me. Clean me out!” […]

Two recent experiences have prompted me to prayer. Ideally prayer is a conversation with the God who dwells within me as I explore deep spiritual truths about what is really important in life. Often this is a quiet time, prompted by scripture and nature. But sometimes the Spirit breaks in through the activities of my […]

We often use the terms reduce, reuse, and recycle in an
attempt to reduce our carbon footprint but consider the
stronger cousin of reduce – REFUSE.
Often we accept items we don’t need from restaurants or stores that find their way immediately to the
garbage can. If we do not need in the first place, REFUSE them, then we also don’t need to find ways of
reusing or recycling them.
Consider the Following:
1) REFUSE unnecessary plastic silverware, plates, napkins, or sauces when ordering food for
delivery or take out.
2) REFUSE excess plastic wrappings when carrying out from Restaurants. EX: plastic wrapping, etc.
3) REFUSE straws at Restaurants politely. If you don’t drink water, let the server know.
4) Offer positive feedback for Sustainable Practices at restaurants to encourage continued use
5) Consider giving the manager of the restaurant the sample letter below. Simply acknowledge
your enjoyment of the restaurant and ask manager to consider adopting sustainable practices.
6) Take reusable bags to the grocery store or other retail stores to use.
7) REFUSE plastic bags when buying produce at the Grocery Store.
8) Select sturdy and washable utensils and tableware for picnics and parties
9) Use washable clothes napkins instead of paper napkins
10) Use sponges and dishcloths instead of paper towels.
11) Refill Cleaning Supplies in Bottle from Bulk Refill Liquids.
12) Use rechargeable batteries
13) Bring Reusable Mugs to the coffee shop with you.
14) Reuse Printed Pages and Junk Mail for scratch paper
15) Use Handkerchiefs instead of paper tissue.
16) Borrow or Rent tools that you don’t often use such as ladders, tillers, tables for parties, tools.
17) Consider using cloth diapers.
18) Use Reusable Dryer Balls instead of dryer sheets.
19) Don’t treat “best used before” dates as absolute, check food to see if bad (non-meat/dairy).
20) Freeze excess leftovers rather than dumping it in the garbage. DEAR RESTAURANT MANAGEMENT,
I very much enjoy your food & service. In addition, I am very concerned about the welfare of our
planet. In the future, I plan to patronize business and order food from businesses and restaurants that
follow environmentally healthy practices. Please consider the following things.
1) Styrofoam plates and cups remain in landfills forever. They break down into small particles but
never go away. They pollute our land and our waterways forever. Approximately 1400 tons of
Styrofoam are buried each day in U.S. landfills. When burned, carbon black and carbon
monoxide are released into the air.
2) Plastic bags and plates are also not biodegradable. Animals and birds become tangled in the
trash and can suffocate or become permanently harmed.
3) Plastic silverware is considered one of the most harmful items to oceanic sea life. It breaks
into small sharp pieces that clog the stomachs of birds, fish and other animals.
4) Plastic straws break down into ever smaller particles releasing chemicals into the soil, air and
water that are harmful to people and wildlife.
There are small things that your restaurant can do to be more sustainable which I look forward and
appreciate. Please consider the following:
1) Use paper bags instead of plastic bags.
2) Use paper or cardboard plates and cups instead of plastic or Styrofoam
3) Consider biodegradable straws.
4) Don’t dispense plastic cutlery unless the consumer asks for it.
5) Consider biodegradable cutlery.
6) Use cardboard clamshells instead of Styrofoam or wrap food in aluminum foil.
Thank for the above considerations.

I’m not irresponsible. I’ve avoided eating in restaurants during the Covid pandemic. Nor am I stupid. I know that foam takeout food containers (often incorrectly called Styrofoam) are not good for our environment. BUT, I knew that our local restaurants were in economic peril from a lack of customers and I wanted to support local […]

Even though Lent has been over for a month and Easter candy has been consumed, I continue to ponder some lessons of creative fasting. Sure, during Lent I fasted from sweets and attachment to some of my older, unused possessions, but what about fasting from electronics and electricity? ELECTONICS – TV, radio, computer, phones TV: […]

Lent 2021 is over, but I have not pruned 100% of the hidden places (closets, drawers, storage spaces) in my home. As I reflect on these past 6 weeks, however, I keep discovering new insights. Here are 6 lessons that have bubbled up even after the Easter resurrection: 1. 100% is not the goal – […]