You don’t have to hug trees to support them, but you can refuse the wooden stirrer at your local coffee shop. You don’t have to kick off your treasured couture shoes in exchange for Birkenstocks. You don’t even have to believe in Global Warming (regardless of mounting scientific evidence that it does exist and it is man-made). Going green is no longer a hippie culture. Just look at Al Gore- the Presidential hopeful turned green movement face person who hops around promoting eco awareness in his ultra luxury private jet. Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t see Gore sacrificing or conforming in order to campaign for the green cause.
I view myself as the average consumer- just a little bit greener. As a society, we have worked way too long and hard to develop cities, technology and industry to just throw up our hands and walk away from it all. But we can do the little things that do make a difference. In fact, you are simply stupid not to. Harsh words? Maybe, but when you consider that many green decisions can actually save you bundles of money, while other green choices can help improve your health- I don’t know, refusing to go green just to be “anti” is stupid.
Let’s face it, people go green for 1 of 3 reasons:
-The Environment (*)
-Their Health (+)
-Save Money ($)
And believe me, many people are not taking the environment into consideration when initially deciding to go green. It may be wholly for fiscal reasons- when money’s tight, people are willing to do anything to save it. It may be wholly for health reasons- with cancers on the rise and scientific studies showing that cancers and chemical intake (through mouth, nose and skin) are related, green is becoming the newest form of healthy living.
I don’t care what propels you to initially go green. Because once you allow yourself to have an eco awareness- regardless of the reason, you will find that green choices begin to infiltrate all sorts of areas of your life and soon green will become a lifestyle.
Choose one of the 10 green actions below to help the Earth today. Then select something different tomorrow, and the next day…
1. *$-STOP Vampire Electricity Leaching! Vampire leaching is responsible for 10% of your electric bill. Keep that 10% for yourself by unplugging unused appliances and electronics when not in use (ie: toasters, hairdryers, printers, electric toothbrushes, dust busters, cell phone chargers, coffee grinders, etc).
2. *$- Shorten your Showers. Every minute spent in the shower wastes approx 2.5 gallons of water. Cut your showers down from 10 minutes to the recommended 4 and cut your monthly water waste from 750 gallons to 300 gallons. Don’t forget that using less water means spending less on your water bill!
3. *+-Say No to Paper AND Plastic and choose Reusable. An estimated 900 million trees are cut down each year in order to serve the US paper industry. Between 500 million and 1 trillion plastic bags are used each year worldwide- many of which become “Urban Tumbleweeds” littering our streets or piling up in landfills. (Some stores are now charging per paper or plastic bag used at checkout). Stop the insanity and choose Reusable Bags.
4. *+$-Buy Local Ingredients. The average fruit, vegetable, meat, or fish traveled 1,500 miles before finally finding its way to your mouth. More than carbon emissions collected, ever wonder how many chemicals those once clean ingredients were exposed to en route? Picking up produce at your local farmer’s markets is both less expensive and chemical free.
5. *$-Store Leftovers in Glass Containers. 48 million tons of food is tossed each year. It is estimated that as much as $31 billion worth of perfectly good food finds its way to landfills instead of your (and every other American’s) stomach. Boxing leftovers in glass (instead of plastic) containers will help minimize the waste and save money.
6. *$-Wash only full loads of laundry to save between 300 and 800 gallons of water a month.
7. *+-Plant Trees or Support Tree Planting. One single mature tree can absorb as much as 48 lbs of carbon dioxide each year and release enough clean oxygen into the atmosphere to sustain two people for a lifetime.
8. *+$-Green your Exercise Routine. You actually burn more calories and save electricity by getting off the treadmill and taking your workout outside thanks to natural (even if minimal) inclines and declines. More than changing your angle, when you are on the treadmill you have an electrically propelled belt pushing you forward. Outside, you’ve got no belt so you have to work harder for every step. Just think of all of the money you will save by cancelling your gym membership!
9. *$-Save Paper-The average office employee goes through 10,000 sheets of paper a year- the same amount of paper that one tree produces. If you have an office of 200 employees, there’s a good chance your company kills 200 trees a year. Save virgin paper by choosing recycled stock, them implement these printing procedures:
10. *$-Decrease your Margins. You don’t need an empty inch and a half on either side of a document. For multiple page documents, decreasing your margins will reduce your page count and save paper.
*+-CELEBRATE your green goodness by Drinking Organic Wine! According to a recently released report, wine and table grapes are charged with expending more agricultural chemicals (nearly 60 million pounds per year) than any other crop in California. Need even more reason to drink organic? Organic wine has fewer sulfates in the red wine- which translates to less wine headaches.