16 Painless Green Habits for Living Greener
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The Beginner’s Guide to Going Green helped quickly summarize the major areas of your life where it is simple and essential to go green. The series has looked at green energy-saving tips, solutions to common eco lifestyle conundrums, sustainable shopping tips, green food suggestions, green consumption tricks, eco home hacks, and the basics of eco-friendly living. But to master a green lifestyle, it helps to start by building daily habits. Here are simple, easy ideas to begin building green habits in every part of your life. They’re easily impemented by anyone, and that makes them both practical and possible.
4 Painless Green Habits At Work
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Get everyone recycling. Everything can be recycled – from paper to plastic to glass to metal to food to cardboard to packing peanuts. Designate bins and make sure everyone knows what to do.
Turn off all electronics. Myths abound, but turning off computers and powering down the Xerox is most efficient. Save extra energy by encouraging everyone to use surge strips and unplug battery charges and personal electronic devices.
Change thermostat settings. Open the windows rather than turn on the A/C if the heat is not too unbearable. Adjust the thermostat to a setting of two degrees warmer and two degrees cooler (corresponding to temperature fluctuations) and no one will even notice, yet the company will save and the planet will benefit.
Get to work via mass transit or carpooling. Whether you bike, carpool, ride the bus or subway or walk, explore other options to reduce your carbon impact. Lengthy commutes are responsible for massive pollution and, in part, for global warming. At the least, encourage everyone to buy a hybrid for their next auto purchase.
4 Painless Green Habits At Home
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Recycle everything. As stated above, there is virtually nothing you cannot actually recycle (or reuse).
Change thermostat settings. Just as you can do at work, you can also do at home.
Turn off lights and electronics. Spend a little money (under $30) on a wireless home remote control that can shut off lamps, televisions, computers, and any other electronics or appliances at the touch of a button. This is a great way to ensure that your home isn’t using needless (and expensive) energy. No more yelling at the kids to turn off the lights.
Buy natural, organic, safe. Choose nontoxic cleaners that won’t harm wildlife, the groundwater supply or you. Choose nontoxic paints, linens, carpeting, flooring and decor. Some health symptoms can actually be alleviated by choosing organic options in your home, and it’s just better for the planet.
4 Painless Green Habits At Meal Time
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Eat less. Not only will you be healthier but the planet will benefit. Be mindful of how much you eat. Take your time chewing; enjoy your food; try to eat a bit less at every meal.
Save food or compost it. Americans throw away nearly 1/3 of their food and this is unnecessary (not to mention expensive). Save leftovers – donate them, turn them into stews and soups, or compost them as a last resort.
Eat at home and make meals. Brown bag your lunch to save hundreds every month. Eat at home to reconnect with your food sources, appreciate nature, and naturally de-stress (it’s cheaper than a massage!). You will save a great deal of money eating at home, and avoid packaged, processed, ineffecient vending machine/takeout/restaurant fare.
Eat vegetarian 1 meal a day. Meat is terrible for the planet because it is unsustainable as an every-meal choice. You don’t have to give up steak or chicken (although it’s wise to buy organic and free range), but eating vegetarian at one meal is a significant and meaningful way to help the planet that is just as effective as any other green habit.
4 Painless Green Habits With Others
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Give home-made, vintage, green or intangible gifts. Your friends and family value you – your time – more than anything you could possibly buy them. Don’t feel compelled to charge up the credit card at Christmas or on birthdays. Make a meal, bake cookies, write a poem, create a hand-crafted card, donate to a good cause in their name, plant a tree or simply go on a walk. Focus on creating quality memories, not buying a gift card for ever more stuff.
Encourage green habits by being a good role model. You can’t preach to others about taking the bus or eating tofu when you drive a Range Rover and chow on T-bones. Set a good example and that will cause much more change than all the talking in the world. Educate yourself and fight the impulse purchase.
Focus activities on healthy things. Rather than rapid consumption – wasteful meals, polluting sports and games, smoking and drinking – focus your activities with friends on healthy things that benefit you, your body, and the planet.
Volunteer for a green cause. A great way to help the planet is to get into the habit of spending free time doing good for others and the land, rather than simply loafing off or playing video games. There’s nothing wrong with being a couch potato from time to time, but it’s great to volunteer your time as well. Look into road cleanups, beach cleanups, animal rescue, homeless shelter service, food collecting and other great green causes.