The other day, Shopping Siren got a glossy email from Best Buy with a list of Earth Day-friendly sale items, imploring me to celebrate Earth Week by upgrading my TV to an Energy Star-qualified HDTV.

Only $700.

Um.

Somehow I’m thinking that’s not what the original founders of Earth Day had in mind.

I’m OK with the pink-and-red commercialization of Valentine’s Day. I like Christmas specials and Presidents Day sales. But if ever less-is-more for a holiday, that holiday is Earth Day.

So instead of purchasing a 46-inch 1080p HDTV to honor Mother Nature — it was hard, yes, but my will is strong — I spent my shopping time this week exploring other ways to save the Earth. Cheaper ways. Simpler ways.

Ways that don’t require cable.

* Roadmaster Mt. Fury 15-speed men’s mountain bike, Salvation Army Family Store (Lewiston), $39.99

Ride this used bike to work every day and you’ll be reducing, reusing and recycling.  It’s like hitting the Earth Day jackpot. Bonus: Who doesn’t want the nickname Mountain Fury?

* Glacier Bear insulated lunch tote, Salvation Army, $1.99

Sturdier than a paper sack! More environmentally friendly than a plastic bag! Able to keep cold foods cold with a single ice pack! It’s super tote!

(*Lunch tote claims no actual  superpowers. And cape not included.)

* Compass belt bag, Ragamuffins Consignment Clothing (Auburn), $12.50

This large blue and black belt bag is perfect for stashing a small container of water, a baggie of granola and a first aid kit for a day hike. Will also hold your empty water bottle, empty granola baggie, Band-Aid wrappers and other assorted trash when you’re done. Honor Earth Day by exploring the earth — and then leaving it the way you found it. Bonus: It’s now called a belt bag, not a fanny pack, lowering the dorkwad rating immeasurably.

* Burpee seed packets, Kmart, 99 cents to $4.07

Assorted flower and vegetable seeds — about as Earth Day-friendly as you can get. And at 40 percent off, they’re pretty wallet-friendly, too.

Pair with:

* Ball pint glass jars, four pack, Kmart, $5.99

Canning is a great way to store all those leftover veggies you’ll have after harvesting your massive garden. You’ll probably want dozens of these sturdy glass jars. Unless your gardening skills are like mine, in which case one will be enough.

* Comfort Air 42-inch ceiling fan, Kmart, $24.99

Eventually, this so-called spring will end and the weather will turn warmer. Eventually, we’ll get hot. Eventually, we’ll want to turn on the air conditioner. (I know it seems far fetched when we’re still throwing on down coats and gloves to walk the dog, but I promise it’s true.)  When the urge does strike this summer, try this fan instead. It uses less energy than an air conditioner and its blades are reversible — white on one side and light wood grain on the other — to match with any decor. Prettily earth friendly is really the best kind of earth friendly.

Best find: Audubon Park Wild Bird Food, 20 pounds, Kmart, $7.99 

Food attracts birds. Birds stick around and eat insects. You can relax outside without being accosted by bugs. There is no bad here.

Think twice: Repel Outdoor Camp Fogger, 16 ounces, Kmart, $5.99

Spray around your campsite, backyard, patio or picnic and it’ll kill mosquitoes, gnats and other bugs on contact. But, according to the container, this stuff is so poisonous that you shouldn’t get it on your skin or breathe it. Which, I think, is a problem when you’re spraying it around your picnic. No one likes bugs, but fogging the whole outdoors seems a tad extreme. So consider dumping the chemicals and finding a more environmentally friendly way to banish the bugs. (See “best find” above.)  If that fails and the bugs are horribly horrible, I might suggest sticking inside for a time. I know where you can get an HDTV.

Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who enjoy the hole-digging part of gardening) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]


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