5 Small Steps for Making a Big Leap into a Green Lifestyle
It was in the mid-1800s when American author Henry David Thoreau wrote, “What is the use of a house if you don’t have a decent planet to put it on?” That question is just as valid today as it was nearly two centuries ago; perhaps even more so. I can’t speak for others, but I want to give the future generation a healthier planet than the one left to me by generations of the past.
Green Begins at Home
Watching the news or reading blog posts about going green can seem a little overwhelming. Equipment such as solar panels and wind turbines sound horribly expensive–and if you don’t do your research, they can wind up being merely an expensive mistake. However, you can take small steps now that will eventually lead to a completely green lifestyle.
Going green begins inside your home. Using CFL light bulbs instead of incandescent ones and turning off the lights when you leave the room alone can make a noticeable difference in your energy bill. Leaving electronics like cell phones and computers plugged in when they’re not in use creates something called “vampire energy” that can suck your wallet dry.
Something else to consider when it comes to saving money on energy costs is any number of solar powered generators available. If you’ve ever suffered a power outage and longed for the comfort of some kind of backup source, then you could benefit from this item. Solar powered generators are portable, efficient, and allow you to live off-the-grid, even when your neighbors are left in the dark.
Less Water Means More Savings
Drinkable water is a precious commodity. Take for instance that when Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast of the United States the Anheuser-Busch company converted its beer lines into water lines and sent around 44 cases of clean drinking water to areas affected in both New York and New Jersey. The company has donated more than 70 million cans of drinking water to disaster-stricken areas since 1988.
When we use water we use energy, which is why conserving water is so important. As with power usage, little steps add up to a big difference, especially if your family lives within town limits and is required to pay some kind of monthly water bill. Here are some small things you can do to help conserve water:
- Install shower heads that are low-flow and provide the same amount of pressure while using less water overall
- Set the thermostat of your hot water heater to the perfect temperature so you don’t have to run a mix of hot and cold together
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, or better yet, pour a small cup and use that to rinse after brushing
- Use rain barrels to collect rainwater and use it to water your garden, wash your car, wash your dog, or do anything else that doesn’t require the water to be safe for drinking
- Use refillable water bottles whenever possible and avoid plastic ones altogether. The best ones are created from recyclable materials like aluminum and stainless steel
Eat Green to Stay Healthy
You’d be surprised at how poor food choices add up to bad health–and not just for your physical well-being. Beyond the food itself, how it is packaged and where it originates from plays just as big a role on the health of the planet. As more people become aware of the importance of green living, they are doing their part to encourage sustainable food systems.
People are raising chickens and goats as a way to get the freshest possible eggs and dairy products. Gardening has made a huge comeback, with people using nontraditional methods to grow their own fruits and vegetables. Even if you live in an apartment and lack a yard, you can raise patio tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. If all else fails, shop your local farmer’s market to support small business.
Waste Not Want Not
When shopping for things, take into consideration not only the item you’re buying, but also its packaging. If you can’t put it in the proper recycling bin, then it doesn’t really matter what’s inside, does it? Another thing to consider is how far away did the item originate and what was required to transport it to you?
Even if you’ve made the commitment to eat local and organic, have you taken into consideration the clothes and shoes you’re wearing to shop at the farmer’s market? However, just because you’re committed to being green doesn’t mean you have to give up designer labels. Clothing manufacturers are making items from organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo.
The 3 R’s of Going Green
The phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” has been around for quite a while, but the sentiment behind it holds true today. The next time you declutter, donate the items to a local thrift store. While you’re there, you’d be surprised at the deals you can find. My family enjoys visiting thrift stores instead of souvenir shops while on vacation.
It is a great idea to use sites like http://www.go-green-solar-energy.com/ for tips on how to go green for those looking to adopt a more earth-friendly lifestyle.
Photo by Light Collector/Flickr