This month, everyone is talking about making resolutions to change the way they live. Some people want to lose weight, others want to stop smoking, and many of us just need to get organized and find a balance between work and life. I would like to encourage you to make changes in your life that are good for not only your own health but also the health of our planet. Green living should be on the top of everyone’s list of resolutions this year. WHY? Because we have only been given ONE planet on which to live and it is in our best interest to take care of it! Does global warming exist? Who knows! Are organic foods really healthier for us? Your guess is as good as mine. However, I DO know that there is not another viable planet nearby for us to live on if we screw this one up totally! So, for your New Year’s Resolution, why don’t you join me in taking a few small steps towards a healthier planet. Green living is not an all or nothing goal…every baby step counts.
Think About This Thursday
Green Living: 10 New Years Resolutions that are Good For The Planet
1. Drive Less: You don’t have to drive a hybrid to reduce your car’s effect on the environment. Make one of your green living goals for 2013 to use less gasoline by being more organized. I KNOW we are all planning on being more organized this year, right? Make a list of errands you need to run and plan them accordingly. Make it a point to stop by the dry cleaners when you pass it on the way home from the gym instead of making a separate trip after dinner. Also, make sure your car is in tip top shape to improve it’s fuel efficiency. Poorly inflated tires and dirty oil do not make for a cleanly running car! Also, if you can bike or walk to the store you would be getting some great exercise as well as improving the quality of our air.
Green Living Tip: Buy Organic when you can!
2. Buy Organic: The amount of pesticides and fertilizers used on traditionally grow crops is staggering. I won’t get into number here but suffice it to say that the numbers are huge. Those chemicals are not healthy for our bodies OR the planet. Runoff of agricultural chemicals ends up in streams, rivers, and oceans and has an extremely detrimental effect on those ecosystems. You do NOT have to buy 100% organic food to make a difference. Just choosing one or two organic items per week is a step in the right direction.
3. Recycle: Hopefully, all of you reading this have a recycle bin and if not I hope this is the first change you make in your green living plan for 2013. Our landfills are filling up at an alarming rate and what we need to do as a species is to stop creating so much trash! Check out Earth 911 for a list of recycling facilities in your area and what type of products they accept.
4. Buy Less Stuff: I bet your credit cards are a bit maxed out and your bank account has dwindled over the last couple of months, right? Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate exactly how much STUFF you really need. Declutter your house, make donations to charity, and stop carrying those credit cards around with you everywhere. Every item that you buy will eventually have to throw away and in order to be successful in your green living plan you need to get out of the mindset that you need MORE of everything to be happy.
5. Start Eating Locally: Think About This: The average American meal has traveled almost 1500 miles to get from farm to plate. This is rather staggering considering how many things are growing practically in our own backyards that are perfectly edible. Use Local Harvest to find farmers, co-ops and markets near you that help support local farmers. It is also helpful to choose produce that is in season wherever you live.
6. Eat out less: This is one green living resolution that is not only good for the planet but also good for your waistline. Fast food creates a huge amount of trash. Fast food restaurants also support mass produced animal and plant products that are not sustainably raised. Nothing says you can’t have a restaurant meal occasionally as a treat but try not to make it a regular occurrence.
7. Bag your lunch: Packing your lunch (or your husbands and kids) is a great way to go green, get healthy AND save money. Use cloth napkins, reusable bags and/or containers and a reusable sack or lunchbox. Throw in things with ‘natural wrappers’ like bananas and apples, divide a large bag of pretzels up into many reusable plastic bags, and use a stainless steel water bottle instead of a plastic, disposable one. By packing your own lunch in a sustainable way you can make a huge reduction in your carbon footprint.
8. Plant a Garden: Depending on where you live, you may have to wait a few months to start tilling up the soil but you don’t need a huge garden bed to put in a few cucumbers or radishes. A garden is a great way to get kids to eat healthy but it also helps reduce your ecological footprint as well. Need parsley for your recipe? Don’t run to the store! Just send your kid out to the garden with some scissors! Wondering what is for dinner tonight? All those snow peas and peppers in your garden would go great in a stirfry. It is nice when dinner is only a few steps out the back door!
9. Reduce Your Utility Usage: If you are one of those people who likes to keep your house at 80 degrees in the winter and 60 degrees in the summer you are wasting a huge amount of money AND resources. Turn off lights when not in use, take shorter showers, install a programmable thermostat to help regulate your home’s temperature. Every step you take to reduce your utility bill is also a step on the path to green living.
10. Remember to take one step at a time: Do not get discouraged because your tomatoes didn’t grow or you can’t afford to eat organic food every week. The important thing to remember on your path to green living is that it is a LONG process that starts with just one simple step. One change today will lead to more changes next year and the year after that. Just get used to the idea of asking yourself ‘What effect with this have on my carbon footprint’ and you will slowly start seeing a difference. And please, share the message with your kids…it is never too early for them to start learning how their actions effect the world around them!
What is YOUR green living plan for 2013? I would love to know how you are going to make a difference! .