The phrase going green gets some people motivated for change, while inciting fear in others. Many believe that going green requires drastic lifestyle changes that they just don’t have the time or energy for. Besides, you just don’t see yourself as the “crunchy” type anyway. Right?
Luckily, like the variety of colors found in the simple beauty of the natural world, there are many shades of green. (Yes, I did consider sticking “50” in front of the word “shades,” but figured that might be going a little too far.)
Regardless, the ultimate goal of going green is to try and become completely independent from fossil fuels and other pollutants, which harm the environment and our health. Simply put, going green is an earth-friendly approach to living.
In practice, going green means to:
- conserve energy
- reduce pollution
- conserve resources
- reduce consumption and waste
I like to think of going green as a journey; a process, if you will. Going green today means incorporating some smaller changes into the hustle and bustle of our daily lives that will add up over time, making us more aware of the change that needs to happen, while working towards a goal of being greener.
Here are a few basic tips (some of which you may already be doing anyway) to get started on your going green journey. You might begin to notice that you actually consume less, waste little and even save money along the way! Be careful, though, or people might start accusing you of being one of those “green types.”
- . Many people don’t realize it, but up to 75% of the energy that is used during washing clothes, is used to heat the water. By switching to cold water washing, you could save nearly 1,000 pounds in CO2 emissions each year. In addition, hanging clothes out to dry on a clothes line instead of using a dryer will cut back significantly on your electric usage and, ultimately, your electric bill!
- Switch your light bulbs. By changing the lighting in your home to compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, you will use 60% less energy than the traditional incandescent bulbs and could save up to 2,000 pounds of CO2 emissions each year. Plus, these bulbs last longer than traditional bulbs and will lower the cost of your electric bill.
- Be conscious of the food you are eating and where it comes from. Do you know where that ground up meat sealed behind the plastic sheet in the supermarket came from? If not, you probably don’t want to know. By shopping locally and understanding the concerns about our food supply, you can help with environmental food concerns and save your health in the long run. Not to mention, choosing local products will support a local farm.
- Recycle and buy products in recycled packaging. Reduse waste by recycling items like glasses, cans and plastics. Look for products that use recycled packaging. Go one step further and through composting.
- Buy non-toxic cleaning products or make your own. Always buy non-toxic cleaning products to save the planet and the health of your family. The key words to look for when purchasing green cleaning products are "biodegradable", "non-petroleum based" and "phosphate free.” Making your own cleaning products is also a cheap and healthy way of going green.
Stay-tuned for next week’s Going Green with Patch column where we offer some natural cleaning solutions!
What small changes are you making to go green?