Well, Hello 2011! For some of us, you couldn’t have come soon enough!
It’s a new year with a new chance to make a new beginning… our chance to make a real difference!
If you’ve been “putting off your greening”, I’m going to give you the A to Z list to get the ball rolling. (I think I’ve put together quite the extraordinary list, if I do say so myself! Be sure to click on the orange links to learn more!)
Hold onto your “green” party hats, and let’s go!…
A – Appliances, Animals – Buy energy efficient appliances when you need to make a replacement. If you’re looking for a ‘cause’ that needs your assistance, donate to help save an endangered species.
B – Bamboo, Biodegradable, Baking Soda – Buy sustainable bamboo products (everything from towels to furniture). Think biodegradable for all product choices (detergents, bath products, cleaners, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.). Use eco-friendly baking soda for everything from health & beauty to cleaning your home.
C – CFLs, Cleaners, Compost, CSAs – Replace your lights with compact fluorescents. Skip the chemicals in traditional, commercial cleaners and opt for eco-friendly choices. Start composing food scraps and other biodegradable materials. Consider buying into a CSA for the freshest, organic produce.
D – Donate, Disposable, Dry cleaning – Donate your usable but no longer needed clothing, books, toys, household items and furniture to organizations that support the less fortunate, so they can be reused. Eliminate anything intentionally disposable from your purchases. Look for an eco-friendly dry cleaner to avoid toxic chemicals.
E – Energy, Environment – Turn off electronics, computers, lights and all household appliances that aren’t in use. Consider the effect on the environment in everything you do.
F – Food – Make healthy choices of organic and natural foods instead of those filled with preservatives, artificial ingredients and chemicals. Help your kids learn to make great choices too!
G – Global warming, Glass, Greywater – Accept that global warming is real and we’re the only creature on the planet that can do something about it. Recycle all glass (it can be recycled indefinitely!). Learn all the ways to put your greywater to work.
H – Heating, Home – Turn down the thermostat. Excess energy equals an excess of pollution. Make your home safe and clean, and simultaneously non-toxic, by cutting out all chemicals.
I – Ideas – Share what you know and learn with others. It can have a fabulous snowball effect! The ideas from our grandparents are excellent principals to follow as well.
J – Journey – Give yourself credit for the things you are doing and accept that going green is truly a journey!
K – Kids – Get your kids involved. When they learn to respect the environment early in life, that lesson will stay with them forever.
L – Landfills, Local – Remember that everything you toss in the trash winds up in a landfill, polluting the soil and water. Buy local at every opportunity and, especially for produce, get the most out of your food.
M – Mattresses, Meat, Milk – When you replace a mattress, consider organic. Traditional mattresses are filled with harsh and harmful chemicals. Choose organic meat and milk to avoid antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones.
N – Newspapers – When you need to keeps something hot or cold in transport, newspaper is an amazing insulator. When you’re done, recycle them, always!
O – Organics, Outdoors, Oceans – Buy as many organics as you can… simple as that. Getting outdoors will remind you of this beautiful world we are trying to preserve, and even if you can’t see an ocean from where you live, never forget how crucial they are. Remember that allowing them to be polluted (the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and the Gulf Disaster) must be prevented.
P – Plastic, Paper, Palm oil – Avoid the excessive use of plastics or at least make sure the plastics are truly recyclable. Same goes for paper. Be conscious not to be wasteful and recycle every unneeded piece of paper that comes your way. Learn about palm oil and purchase only products that use the sustainable variety.
Q – Quit procrastinating and take the next step!
R – Recycle, Reusable Bags, Rain barrels – NOT recycling is inexcusable. Recyclables should never be thrown in the trash. Invest in reusable shopping bags and stop contributing to the ‘one trillion plastic bags used annually, worldwide’ statistic. Set-up at rain barrel to capture water for use around your yard.
S – Schools, Shopping, “Shoes off“ – Get involved at your children’s schools and put together programs to help them embrace recycling and the environment. Realize that every purchase you make has a greener option… it’s up to you to know the difference and choose wisely. Adopt the “shoes off” rule and avoid tracking toxins and chemicals through your home.
T – Trash, Trees, Travel – Make a conscious effort to reduce your weekly trash by not buying over-packaged products or buy only products in recyclable packaging. Don’t cut down healthy trees… they are more valuable than just their visual beauty (think air quality, soil preservation, wildlife habitat… the list goes on and on). Don’t leave your green principals at home when you travel, take them with you!
U – Un-green, Upcycle – When you see a “wrong”, you can make it “right”. Speak up, help others and make a change that can make a difference. Before you throw anything away, consider if it has a secondary use and upcycle.
V – Vinegar, Volunteer – The uses for distilled white vinegar are endless. Buy some for cleaning, cosmetic uses, deodorizing, and pest and weed control. Volunteer your time for an environmental cause.
W – Water, Water Bottles, Wildlife – Conserve water… contrary to belief, the supply is not endless. Buy a stainless steel, reusable water bottle to avoid BPA and stop contributing plastic bottles to landfills. Contribute to causes that protect the habitats of wildlife and consider what you are doing to their “home” in your every action.
X – Xenagogue, Xeriscape – The definition of xenogogue is “guide”, so simply guide others and become a steward of both your home and the earth, and make informed choices. Xeriscape in your yard by planting only native trees, shrubbery and flowers to prevent the need for excessive watering.
Y – You – (YOU knew that one was coming too, right?) but sincerely, the changes you make in your daily life are all up to you. Take what you know and put it to good use.
Z – Zoos, Zero-Waste – Support zoos that dedicate themselves to conservation and education. Buy kits and containers that can be reused for lunchtime (or anytime) so that you don’t contribute to the approximate ‘67 pounds of annual trash created by a child’s lunch’.
There it is: A to Z (and I feel like I only scratched the surface!) But the main mission is to simply get started. Don’t wait for tomorrow, and don’t expect you have to do it all at once, but do admit that we can all make little changes that amount to one enormous difference!
HaPPy NeW YeaR and cheers to making it (and keeping it) green!