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Most of us make New Year’s resolutions and, with recent news items about living greener, some plan to incorporate that. Here are ideas to combine 2008 resolutions with “doable” actions to create a greener life.
Some of these suggestions have been made before, and some have followed them. Bravo. Others though, may require a bit more prodding. So, as they say in advertising, “Tell them. Tell them what you told them. Then tell them again.”
1. Take a reusable water bottle for working out. We have heard the phrase, “Just say no to bottled water.” Now put it to use. Stainless steel or Nalgene plastic bottles are more durable and do not leach toxins. These bottles have wider mouths that make it easier to add ice.
2. Bring canvas bags for shopping. Look at the trees near any shopping mall to see a sad sight; bare trees littered with petroleum-based, non-degradable plastic bags. Canvas bags are not a luxury item as most cost less than $10, and some sell for as little as $5.
3. Use a mug for coffee or tea at the office. Take a favorite mug from home or buy one with your name, initials, favorite animal or cartoon character on it. Go ahead. …Express your inner child. If you must be serious, go with basic black. …it will not show the tea or coffee stains.
4. Replace at least one incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent (CFL). Gee, this one sounds familiar. The price for these little energy misers has come down to an affordable $6.95 for four bulbs. Now there is no excuse.
5. Turn the thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in summer. On a cold winter’s night this may seem like a huge sacrifice. Most seasons, those extremely cold periods only happen for a day or two at a time. Conversely, during summer’s hottest spells, two degrees warmer may be more than some can handle. Gratefully, those dog days of summer do not hang around long. So sleep winters in flannels or summers in lightweight T-shirts, and smile as the energy bills grown smaller.
6. Commute with an alternative transportation mode at least two days per month. This one is easy. …carpool, walk, bike or take public transit. Use common sense. …don’t pick the coldest or hottest days to be outdoors. Perhaps you will enjoy the change so much it will become permanent.
7. Eat lower on the food chain: Go meatless at least one day per week.Even meat-and-potato eaters can do this. There are plenty of other proteins available, such as beans, cheese, fish and eggs. Eating vegetables and grains mixed with some delicious proteins will still satisfy.
8. Be an advocate for greener living. Perhaps a neighbor or co-worker does not shop with reusable bags. Speak up about the need for public transit or the benefits of eating locally grown fruits and vegetables. A degree in environmental or earth sciences is not required to advocate on behalf of greener living.
Do not hesitate to go out and live greener in 2008. Please feel free to become overachievers. Replace four bulbs with CFLs or ride a bike to work one day a week. Throw another quilt on the bed and turn the thermostat down four degrees. Many eco-conscious readers may do everything on this list and have done so for years. Great. Now reread number eight and advocate, advocate, advocate.
Contact Eco Gal at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.