Whether or not you believe in Global Warming, there is a fact that is true and we must face it: we all live on this planet and it is our job to take care of it. Most of us already recycle and make an attempt to reduce the waste we create. We work on picking up litter in our neighborhoods and parks. Some of us purchase organic foods and products, but most of us feel that unless we are living on a 100 acre farm with our own animals and gardens or purchasing a battery operated car, living greener is just simply out of reach and we can do no more. That is not true, and it does not have to make you crazy either. There are simple things you can do to live greener and help keep our planet beautiful.
We are a consumer society. We buy stuff. We see stuff and want it, so we buy more stuff. We could save a bunch of money and the planet if we simply bought what we needed. So as you are going through those wonderfully stocked stores, think about if you really need that thing or not; and that includes your food choices too. Somewhere I read that the average American throws out somewhere around $600 a year in food. That adds up in our landfills, and even if you compost that is a huge waste too.
Before you put it in your cart and pull out that plastic, ask yourself if you will eat it before it goes bad or if you really need that do dad.
Last year, we decided to change all our lights to those funny looking compact fluorescent bulbs. As our old bulbs burned out, we put in the new “curly” lights (as my youngest son used to call them) and dropped our monthly bill by just over $10. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but since making the change over, we have only replaced two bulbs in over a year, and saved over $120 last year too. Now we have the option of purchasing LED bulbs, which are supposed to be even more efficient and last even longer. So pick your choice and save money and the planet.
Fall and winter are well on their way, and the heat bill is going to be big (again), but you can combat this by turning down your thermostat by just 2 degrees. Not only will you get a lower heating bill, but you will be greener too, since it takes less fuel to heat it. Even better would be getting a programmable thermostat and turning the heat down in the night and while you are gone, but having it turn up just before you are due so the house is always nice and warm, but if that isn’t in your budget, just lower the house’s temperature by 2 degrees. Your body probably won’t notice the difference but your wallet and the Earth will thank you.
Keep up on your car’s maintenance. Changing the oil when the manufacturer suggests, keeping on top of tune ups and checking and refilling tires regularly will keep your car in tip top shape for years and keeping one more out of the junk yard releasing rust and fairly economical as well. My car is now ten years old and still gets the average gas mileage that the user’s guide says it should get new. If yours has been neglected, now is the time to start pampering your wheels.
The greenest way to get around is on a good pair of tennis shoes. So buy a pair that fits properly (and if you don’t know get fitted for a pair) and start walking. I know that I probably shouldn’t talk, since this is not my favorite way to get around, but we are on a truth sharing mission not a finger pointing one. Walking has no emissions, a pair of tennis shoes lasts around six months of regular use, and you are witling away at your middle as well.
Not all of us can have a garden in our backyard. That would be the best way to get our vegetables since they are so fresh, but when that is just no possible, it is time to head out and hit your local farmer’s market. Most towns have at least one road side stand, and many towns have several. Most of the time the food there is organic, less expensive than the trucked from Mexico and other areas, and is much fresher; ,most likely picked that morning. If you really don’t want to make another stop, some farms offer a delivery method. You pay a lump sum during the planting season and then the farm delivers the fresh food to your door step for you. It really is as easy as that.
These are not hard ways to save a little green; both money and the plant. Most will take seconds out of your day, and add a few bucks into your wallet as well. And if you are lucky enough to be able to drive a battery powered car or grow your own food three feet from your kitchen door, keep it up. If we all do a little bit, Mother Earth will be green for generations to come.