Friday, August 20, 2010

How to Green Up Your Lifestyle

Sarah Kritscher

Unless you have been in a coma for the last ten years, then I know that you've probably heard all about the "green" craze. If you have been in a coma, well, you should know that going green isn't just for hippies anymore! The rest of us are finally realizing that those hippies were onto something, and we are beginning to make steps toward greener lifestyles. However, you still might be wondering why, and how you should go about greening up your act. Well, never fear, just read on, because I am about to enlighten you.

Why?

The planet has a limited amount of resources. Making sustainable, eco-friendly choices helps the earth by using less of it! Remember, every choice you make has either a negative or positive effect on the planet!

Greening it up can be good for your health. Choosing organic produce is always better because there are no pesticides, which can be a health hazard, especially if the produce is not properly washed. Many cities and towns hold weekly, or even bi-weekly farmers markets, which are great places to buy organic, locally grown produce. Locally grown produce is great because it is fresh. The shorter distance foods have to travel to get to your plate, the better, because the lesser distance means less pollution.

It is the right thing to do. Think about it this way: You keep your house clean, because who the heck wants to live in a dirty house? Helping keep your planet clean is the same thing. Even though you cannot make as much of a difference in the world as you make in your own home, everything does make an impact! It is just common sense. Do your part to help sustain the planet that sustains you.

Okay, so now that you have some reasons to go green, how can you go about it? Well, here are some easy ways that you can start going green.

How?

Walk or ride your bike rather than drive. This is simple! Although not always possible, try to do it whenever you can! Pedaling it up is cheaper than driving, and the only pollution it might result in is a little sweat.

Say no to paper AND plastic. Although paper is better than plastic because it does biodegrade, it is also heavier than plastic, and therefore puts more of a strain on the truck that is carrying it, resulting in more pollution. Instead of paper or plastic bags, try buying reusable bags, which are very sturdy and can hold a lot more weight than their disposable counterparts. But, if paper bags are really your cup of tea, make sure to reuse them a few times before getting rid of them.

Unplug things that glow. If you're not watching a TV or using a lamp, unplug it! Plug-ins like this are notorious energy suckers, even when they're not being used. Who wants to pay for electricity they aren't even using?

Support local farmers. Typical grocery store produce travels nearly 1500 miles before it winds up on your plate! This burns fossil fuel and means a whole lot of carbon emissions, aka pollution. Supporting local farmers means fresher food and a healthier planet!

Do full loads of laundry. This might seem silly, but think about it. Washing machines use three of our most precious resources: water, energy, and most of all, money. So small loads means wasting water, energy, and money. Also, wash clothes in cold water as opposed to warm. 90% of energy consumed by washers goes toward heating the water!

See? Greening up your lifestyle is easier than you think! Now, it's time go go out into the world and green it up! Happy Greening!

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