Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ten Greener Steps

There are many surprisingly easy ways to be eco-friendly.  It's hard to be perfect–and even the most conscious of us make certain guilty concessions to make life a little easier.  Below is a quick list of easy changes that are easy, green and might even save you money!!  Best of all:  What is good for Mother Earth is usually also really good for you! For everything below that is true!
If this list seems overwhelming, challenge yourself to make one change at a time.

1.) No more disposablesthe big one for adults is water bottles. I won’t dump the stats on you because honestly it’d take a whole post. But if you’re not going to do it for global health, or personal health then do it to save money! College students buy 1-3 a day—for the sake of ease & argument we’ll say @ $2 a pop) that’s between $60-180 a month! On water!  If you like your water really cold just toss the stainless steel bottle in the freezer. Easy. Cheaper. Greener.
2.) Reduce Consumption of MeatAmerican’s consume nearly 10 billion animals a year, more than 15 percent of the world’s total.  Challenge yourself to one (or more!) meatless meal a day.  Substitute other proteins in your diet like beans, nuts and eggs to make up the loss.  When you DO choose to eat meat buy local, free-range and organic livestock.
You can find local, sustainable and organic foods here:
3.) Make Your Own Household Cleansersit is amazing what you can do with castile soap, vinegar, baking soda, essential oils and water. I’m sure you’ve all seen the prices of cleaners—I saw one last week for $7! –staggering since all the items listed above are around $2  ‘Recipes’ for every kind of cleaner you could ever want can easily be found online--and the quantity those recipes make can easily last you a whole year or more!
4.) Do Laundry smarter I’m sure you all know to wash in cold water vs. hot, and you’ve all seen the dryer balls in Wal-mart but there are two other things you can do to save money and be a more eco-friendly launderer!  Use powder detergent—more than half of the volume of liquid detergents is water (costing you more money for less soap AND for more packaging).  Better yet—buy one of the washer balls that helps you use less (or no) detergent  and lasts over 2,000 washes! Available at and Bed, Bath & Beyond & many other retailers.
5.) Eat Locally Grown Foods as Much as Possible– eat healthier, support local farming, help the environment. Not to mention local, organic food tastes better (since you get it fresher), and is very often priced similarly or cheaper!
6.) Eat smarterIn the early 80s there was the Raw Food diet—that is you ate what came out of the ground, how it came out. Doritos do not grow the way you buy them, so you don’t eat them.  That was the idea.  About a decade and a half later came the Real Food diet, similar idea, but you didn’t have to eat everything raw (yay for cooked carrots!).  Now I’m not asking you to follow either regime. I AM asking you to think about how your food is made/processed.  What steps took it from the ground to the state it is in now? How much water, fuel and other resources were needed to do so? Was it necessary? And can you find smarter/greener substitutes? What was great about these diets was that it was healthier for you AND the globe! 
7.) Read Labels!continuing with the idea of #6.  We all know we should avoid high fructose corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated oils, and preservatives. But take it a step further—if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.  If you can’t even say the word its safe to say you don’t know what it is or what kinds of effects it can have on your body & health—so skip it all together. In this I apologize to all those who love or survive on Ramen Noodles. Sometimes you just have to eat what you can afford—if this is the case, don’t beat yourself up, just commit to eating smarter as your paychecks grow.
8.) Cut out plastics--at least as far as food goes.  That is: do not eat off of, heat or freeze food in plastic containers.  Plastic is made from oil and an array of chemicals, admittedly not something any of us are eager to ingest.  Yet we all heat up food in plastic containers (or worse Styrofoam) in our microwaves, leeching out all those chemicals and contaminants into our delicious food. Yummy.   
9.) Leave off the lights—we all know we should turn off lights when we leave a room, but have you ever noticed more lights are on in your house the later it gets?  My mother turns on every light in whatever room she is in, then she turns them all off and takes a sleeping pill when she goes to bed.  Most insomnia problems stem from disrupting the body’s natural cycles, the decrease in light as the day goes on signals the brain to shut down and readies it for rest.  So try using fewer lights at night, only what you need for the task at hand, and both reduce your energy bill and the amount of CO2 put into the atmosphere AS WELL as get better sleep!  
10.) GO NAKED!!sorry, I just had to make sure you were still paying attention! This one is primarily for the ladies and metrosexual guys. Next time you go shopping for hair gel or makeup take a gander at the labels on those.  They are even more chalked full of chemicals (even animal fat) than the food you’re eating!  So either chose from eco-friendly products (Aveda, Burt’s Bees, Origins etc) or go naked!

**I don't know what was going on with the font, but after an hour of trying to fix it I gave up!

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