The Dewar-Yates Family

dewar family

We are a small family of two adults with two lovely geriatric dogs (Coco and Snickers) and one spunky cat (Smokey) who thinks she’s a dog. For now, our critters are our kids, while we plan to become parents to humans in the near future. We live in a village right outside Chicago where the weather varies seasonally. Currently we’re experiencing the OMG cold of winter, so heating our household is a must.

We live a few blocks from the “El” and Sharon takes the train into the city every day, while Alex currently works from home. We’re glad that we rarely need to drive our car. We try to make environmentally smart choices when possible, such as locally sourcing organic produce through a community-supported agriculture program and recycling everything we can regularly. We still have a lot more to learn, though, and are eager to further our environmental education and lessen our footprint on Mother Earth.

Challenge #5: It’s All Fun and Games.

What rocks your world? The Feb. 27 earthquake in Chile got as much attention for its local destruction as well as its impact on the Earth’s axis. Apparently, the tremor shortened the length of a day by about 1.26 microseconds. Consider that! We complain that there are not enough days in a week, and now each day may have sped up! Life does indeed come at you fast. So if the world can change gears with a shudder, what does it really take for us to change habits to lessen our carbon footprint?

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Challenge #4: In the Dark?

For the past several weeks we’ve been teaching ourselves to live in the dark.  Not completely, although candlelight is quite calming and romantic, but rather we’re making a conscientious and concerted effort to turn lights off throughout the house unless they are absolutely necessary. No exceptions. Sounds easy, right? Well, it should be…but for some reason it’s not normal behavior. Hallway lights, staircase lighting, and accent lighting were often left turned on. That habit is quickly changing.

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Challenge #3: A Green Valentine’s Day?

What is Valentine’s Day? Most of us agree that Christmas is commercial, yet still we get caught up in the “spirit of the season” of giving gifts. So why not get caught up in the romantic moment afforded us on Valentine’s Day with giving some love to those whom we truly care about? Despite the dismissiveness of those not wanting to get conned by the capitalistic notions of romance, I look at Valentine’s Day as a way to show how unique my love is for my very creative wife. Therefore, I see Valentine’s Day as a day to share with my love a special moment of my time, give a bit of myself in words put to paper, and reward her with a homemade dessert as a token of the sweetness she brings to my life.

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Challenge #2: Staying Warm for Winter.

“Give a kid a hammer and everything gets nailed down,” or “Give a politician a screwdriver and everything gets screwed up.” Such analogies could be applied to me with our new energy Thermal Leak Detector, Power Cost Monitor, and Shower Regulator, provided as part of the Green Family Challenge kit. With the cold snow blowing through the Windy City of Chicago, you bet I am eager to find ways to keep us warmer for cheaper. Not only is it the heart of a Midwest winter, we are also first-time homeowners, so these exercises and devices are great tools for us to find out what is working and what is not.
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Challenge #1: What’s your carbon footprint?

This year we’ve resolved to get leaner and greener: a 52-week commitment to making a new green-inspired choice every week in order to form new habits and greener behaviors. By the end of the year we hope to emit measurably less carbon and leave a smaller footprint.
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Challenge #1: What’s your carbon footprint?

Do you ever look in the mirror before heading out to visit friends, and you think you look alright…only to later see photos of yourself and wonder “Is that how I really look now!?” Sometimes seeing an unbiased, unflattering view of yourself can be a motivating factor to make some changes.
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