“I’ve got a lov-a-ly bunch of coconuts….Here they are standing in a row….”  Leave it to Reduce Footprints, one of my favorite blogs about going green and minimizing our impact on this planet, to lay down the gauntlet and present a challenge that I found… well….really challenging.  I have reduced my impact quite a bit but, since I live in the petrochemical capital of the world most of the year where green initiatives are laughable and recycling is an unfulfilled wish, I don’t always succeed.

Here is the challenge:

For this challenge, please consider all the ways in which you can achieve a zero impact. For example, reducing paper towel use is going green … not using them at all is zero impact. Driving less is going green … not driving at all and walking instead is zero impact. Adjusting your thermostat for the season is going green … not turning it on at all is zero impact. The idea is to search out those changes which will, in terms of that particular action, eliminate your impact on the earth. Once you’ve identified the activity, try it out and see if you can maintain the zero impact through the end of the month. And, of course, we want to hear all about it.

Or …

If you don’t feel that you can achieve a zero impact on any of your activities, then please find at least one area where you can reduce your impact significantly. And yep, we want to hear all about it.

I set out to figure out how I could reduce and eliminate my impact with my groceries this month.  I reduced my garbage quite a bit but I only managed a total zero impact after buying several lowly coconuts.

Here is how I eliminated my impact:

1.  I was careful how I cracked the coconut to make two nearly perfect halves so I could use them as “bowls” for ice cream during my dinner party . It didn’t work and they ended up in pieces.  Luckily for me I found someone who happened to make charcoal out of coconut shells.  I offered him mine and he accepted them.  So far so good.  (He even came and got them.  I suppose that does not count as zero impact as he drove but we have to take it as we get it.)

2.  I managed to preserve the coconut water in a bowl and removed the meat.  My Blendtec pureed the meat and I strained half of the pureed coconut meat along with the coconut water through a nut milk bag to make coconut milk.  { For the recipe to making coconut milk see our Coconut Milk Recipe.}  With the leftover coconut dregs, I dehydrated them and ground them up to use as coconut flour.

3.  I made Vegan Blueberry Cinnamon Ice Cream.  I made a Thai Green Curry of which the recipe is in my “to publish” list, I promise.

4.  I whipped up a batch of my Coconut Milk Shampoo and Body Wash.

5.  With the other half of the pureed meat I dehydrated it in my  Excalibur dehydrator and pressed it through my Omega Nutrition Center and made my own coconut oil and coconut butter.  (Coconut butter gets expensive and my homemade version is just as good! )

There you have it.  My ZERO impact attempt was successful with several coconuts.  What I learned from the challenge was, with some thought, I could reduce down my impact quite a bit even if I didn’t totally eliminate it.  It takes some creativity but it can be done.  Do you attempt to reduce your impact on this planet?  What are your tips and tricks you could share?