Going green for many people means expensive food, expensive hybrid cars, expensive organic cotton, basically an expense that most can’t afford. Those things can be part of some families’ choices to have less of an impact on the environment, but truthfully the best options to go green are really those that save us money and resources while saving the planet.
Anything that will be healthier for your family, the environment, and your wallet all at the same time is what I would suggest as a first step toward a greener lifestyle on the whole. The hard part will be to narrow it down. Hopefully you have already been thinking about what is most important to you from yesterday’s post and you are ready!
TOP TEN FIRST STEPS FOR GOING GREEN:
- Save Energy. Take a good look at your home and your lifestyle. Where can there be energy savings? Surely you will be able to find something. Start by turning off anything not in use and go from there.
- Walk, Bike, or Ride More. Drive Less. Whenever possible, eliminate extra trips in the car. Depending on the situation choose to walk, bike, or take public transportation instead. It may require planning, but is healthier for all.
- Conserve Water. Amazingly to some, clean and drinkable water is becoming a scarce resource and will continue to become scarcer in the hot, dry regions unless we all commit to conservation. Think of any time when water is running unnecessarily and turn off the faucets!
- Ditch the Bottled Water. The bottled water industry makes billions of dollars every year by selling what is essentially tap water (although tap water is actually subject to stricter standards for safety) in varying sizes of plastic bottles. Bottled water is not healthier and requires an enormous amount of energy, fuel, and resources to support the industry.
- Green Your Clean. You spend a lot of time in your home and if you have kids or pets, they spend a lot of time exploring with hands, feet, and mouths. The last thing you want is for them (or you) to be exposed to toxic chemicals through your cleaning products.
- Reduce Consumption. Simply put, buy less. At that basic level, this may sound easy, yet when put into practice it can be exceedingly difficult (especially in our consumer-based society). There are numerous reasons that buying unnecessary things can be harmful to the environment, but considering that most Americans don’t save enough money as it is may be an equally persuasive argument.
- Buy Safe Personal Care Products. From shampoo to lotion to makeup, the personal care industry has everything we think we need to make ourselves smell, look, and feel good. However most conventional products contain ingredients that are linked to cancer and other major health problems. Learning about what ingredients are safe and which are not takes practice and patience, but is well worth it in the end!
- Recycle More. Hopefully everyone recycles the basics, but if not then this is a great time to start. Luckily more and more cities are offering curbside recycling to make this easier. For those items that can’t be recycled curbside, look at what facilities your area has to be able to make sure they don’t end up in a landfill.
- Compost. This is really just another way to recycle, but you get to reap the rewards! Turn your kitchen scraps, newspaper, and yard debris into the best soil for your yard and garden.
- Choose Organic, Local, and Sustainable Food. When starting out it may seem that you must buy everything organic. While that may be ideal, it is certainly not practical or necessary for every family. Sometimes it may be just as healthy and cheaper to buy locally grown and/or sustainable, even if it doesn’t have that organic label. Perhaps even grown in your own backyard without toxic pesticides! When shopping for fresh produce, learn about the Dirty Dozen and choose to shop conscientiously.
Choose one and start with the obvious changes, then watch for new Going Green Series posts that go into more detail for each.
Which will you tackle first? If you are more seasoned, which would you suggest others to work on first?