Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Challenge Day 7: Sweep the Porch

Earth Day Challenge Day 7: Sweep the Porch
Originally uploaded by Theorris

I thought about doing something big for the last day of the Challenge, and also because it is Earth Day, but then something that Hightouchmegastore wrote on her blog about the small things that we do are really what is going to make a difference, and I realized that this is what the Challenge is really about: we do make a difference in the small things we choose to do. Yes the big things are important (hell I've already given up driving for all intents and purposes) but the small things that we can continue to do beyond the EDC are what really matters. As a matter of fact all of my things I think I can keep doing.

Now as for sweeping, there are a couple of benefits: you don't waste water by hosing down the porch and secondly you cut down on vacuuming because not as much of the outside is tracked inside. Sweeping the porch, in fact, used to be a daily activity for our ancestors. I still recall that every morning my grandmother would go out and give the porch a once over. Why? So she didn't have to spend more time sweeping her carpet. Of course by the time I recall her doing this, she had a vacuum and it was simple for her, but old, and much more earth-friendly habits died hard with her.

My grandfather, as well, would regularly rake the yard for the same purposes. It was interesting whenever they came and visited: the yard was raked and the porches were swept.

I think I'll make it a part of my daily routine to sweep the porch.


  1. It's amazing how Earth friendly our grandparents are. Like how Pollan says not to eat anything our grandparents wouldn't recognize.
    Also the ritual of sweeping the porch can be an anchor for the day, like the zen raking and what not.

  2. Loved this post. There's a section in the old Laurel's Kitchen, one of my early vegetarian cookbooks, that talks about keeping house in the same sense that you're talking about it here. There is something powerful about observing these small practices.

  3. I swept the kitchen today instead of pulling out the vacuum. I must say, it was a lot less noise and Jack didn't run and hide.

    My big Earth day change was NOT turning on the AC. In fact, I'm going to see how long I can do without.