1. Turn lights off when you leave a room – This is about as simple as it gets, requiring nothing more than awareness and small arms movements. Look around when you drive through a neighborhood at dark. how many lights are on in people’s homes? Are they all having an art opening or did they just leave unnecessary lights on?
2. Lower the temperature on your fridge – Go to your fridge right now and no matter what the setting is, turn it warmer one degree. You’ll probably never even notice but the planet will if even only a few thousand people did this.
3. Lower your thermostat – Same thing applies to your thermostat; whatever it’s currently set to, turn it down one degree. If you get cold, wear warmer clothes, use an extra blanket, or share body heat with the people around you.
4. Unplug unused appliances – That random stereo component on the shelf that never gets used is still sucking juice even if it’s turned off. Check your house and unplug any electric appliances that you don’t use on a regular basis. Better yet, sell them on ebay and share the love.
5. Buy an organic fruit or vegetable – Next time you’re at the store and organic produce is available, pick up an organic apple or banana. The extra cost goes to supporting these vital industries and ensuring their continued viability. And the stuff just tastes better.
6. Spend less time in the shower – Try to feel guilty every minute you spend in the shower. Think about the water going down the drain as flooding a room full of kittens. This should help you get out of the shower a minute or two sooner than usual.
7. Use reusable bags for shopping – Don’t ever use another plastic or paper bag again. Spend the 99 cents to buy a reusable bag (or keep the paper/plastic bags from your next shop) and use them over and over. They never break and announce to the world that you’re not an irresponsible plastic-bag-toting horrible monster.
8. Eat more greens – Meat uses many times more natural resources to produce than vegetables. Cows eat 14 times more grain than they produce as meat (another reason for grass-fed beef). Having one more vegetarian meal a week won’t freak anybody out and it’s a lot healthier too.
9. Swap one incandescent bulb for a CFL bulb – Compact fluorescent light bulbs use about a quarter of the power that a traditional bulb uses, and give off a similar light. This is something you don’t even have to do every day – just do it once and you’re done for months.
10. Buy local – Check the labels next time you’re at the store. If you have an option, buy the producer closest to you. Every time you step into any kind of purchasing situation, just keep repeating “local local local” in your head.
11. Learn to share – This is a lot easier than you think it is, and can be applied to circumstances sprinkled liberally throughout your day. Sharing is one of the best ways to help the planet, and it also feels pretty good.
* Plan a meal with friends and share food, drink and good times. * Share a ride to the store or work and have someone to talk to, instead of being stuck in your head. * If you hear a good tip or bit of wisdom, share it next time you have a conversation with someone. * Share the things you don’t need or use anymore and accept the same sharing from others (the “free stuff” section on craigslist is a goldmine).
Well done so far, I’d like to add another….
Urinate in the shower. Seriously. It is not unsanitary or unhealthy, urine is sterile and nontoxic. What this does is conserves water by saving a flush of a toilet, and when done daily, and save a household anywhere from 1,500 to 4,500 gallons of water a year, depending on the toilet. It saves water, and may save money.
It may sound silly, but in a poll done a few years ago, 42% of American admitted to urinating in the shower, so you wouldn’t be alone.
Live as simply as you can. This does not necessarily mean sacrifice, it all depends on how you approach it. It can mean taking joy in the parts of life that are most important to you, decreasing your desire for stuff. For me this is family and friends, good food, and observing the diverse world around me unfold with all its marvels and intricacies.
In addition to all the other helpful suggestions, don’t forget the simple things:
-keep the water off while brushing your teeth
-take short showers
-always turn everything off when you leave a room
-make sure there are no leaks in pipes or faucets
-wash the dishes using a water bin
If you want your opinion to have a have a real impact on the planet you can help climatologists develop better models by donating the processing power of your personal computer to climateprediction.net – a program run by the UK Met Office to finetune climate models. The results of these models go on to inform national and global policy.
Informing yourself of the climate/environmental political scene and carefully voting your priorities on election day is equally important. Half of the states in the US have instituted renewable portfolios – which require an increasing percentage of electricity come from various renewable sources. Keeping politicians in power who will aggressively pursue those options will accelerate progress.
If you are concerned about your personal, the three largest ways you can make a difference is by
a) The vehicle you drive
b) How insulated your house is
c) How frequently you fly
There are lots of things you can do to live more green. Using less electricity and less water is a good place to start. Biking, walking, or using public transportation whenever possible is also good. Avoid plastic water bottles, make sure you don’t throw away electronics, and use green cleaning supplies. The link below has details.
You can calculate your household carbon footprint and see how small changes in your routine and lifestyle can effect the outcome. Check out the link below for a free carbon footprint calculator.
Practice mindfulness. A lot of wastefulness occurs because we don’t often pay attention what we’re doing during the day. An easy example is leaving the water on while brushing your teeth. If you are aware of what you’re doing, you won’t waste a minute of your time, nor will you waste anything else.
Here are some simple things to help green your routine:
- turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth
-take shorter showers
-install energy saving water fixtures throughout the house
-turn off the lights when you leave the room
-unplug all electronics while not in use
Altering your diet is a really easy way to be more green in your daily routine. First, it is easy to start substituting things for what you already consume. This could be as simple as organic for non-organic, or local for flown in. Next, you can start eliminating what you don’t need. I started by cutting out red meat, which actually wasn’t hard to do. From there I would suggest eliminating other animal products as well.
Walk places instead of taking the car! It’s good for the environment and it’s good for you too! It’s a simple and easy form of daily exercise.
One easy lifestyle shift that will lead to a greener life is eating seasonal, local, food. You can even eat exactly as you have and just make an effort to make greener shopping purchases. All of the food that you eat that isn’t seasonal or local requires more food to produce and transport – and isn’t as nutritious or as tasty, either. It’s also usually cheaper to eat seasonally and locally.
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