Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Does "going green" stress you out?

I don't know about you, but this whole "going green" movement can sometimes feel overwhelming.  So much so that it can lead to green guilt!

There are several definitions of "going green."  I am going to use one I find to be basic and hopefully not difficult or overwhelming.

Going Green: A phrase referring to individual action that a person can consciously take to curb harmful effects on the environment through consumer habits, behavior, and lifestyle.  (Source:

People can pick how they want to adjust their habits.  You are not obligated to change your entire life, just decide what is important to you and how you can contribute.  Take into consideration that we are all living together sharing a large space we are responsible for.  Think of it like a homeowner's association.  

There are several ways to contribute that are not a hassle.  Think on a smaller scale.  I know when I read some articles about global warming, pollution, waste, etc. I get overwhelmed and feel like I can't even leave my house or else I'll make a bigger carbon footprint.  I'm sure that will become a condition with a fancy hard to pronounce name and one of those big pharmaceutical companies will capitalize on it with a  pill you can take for it soon!  Oh, did I type that out loud?? 

Alright, the easy basics, as I see it.  

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE:  This should have been something we were all doing before the green movement right?  This does take some effort from your brain.  You will have to be conscious and present in your daily activities.  

Reducing - By avoiding one time use items such as, coffee cups, to go containers, plastic or paper grocery bags, regular shopping bags, you are reducing.  One really simple thing you can do is paperless billing.  That's just a couple of clicks on the old mc'puter and you're done.  That seems easy and if you need help there are several websites dedicated to tips on how you can reduce your impact.

Reusing - This means using something more than once.  What a concept!  Here's a couple of very simple ways to do that.  Reusable bags.  Leave them in your car at all times.  I will admit, I've forgotten mine and had to go back to my car to get them.  And yes, I'm lame and annoyed, but the more I do it, the less I forget and the more it becomes a habit.  Another easy way is carry a reusable drinking device.  This can be a coffee tumbler, a water container, or whatever you want it to be as long as it can be reused.  That is a small enough way to help out that will greatly help the environment.  And again, if you want more tips just google it up.  I don't want to overwhelm you with too many ideas in this one little article...

Recycling - This does take more effort than just tossing it in the garbage can.  It's a little work, but I think it's worth it.  Several homes have recycling bins.  Many of them take mixed.  So you don't have to be exhausted by separating your glass, plastic and paper.  In addition to the leading three of recycling, there are a lot of other items that can be recycled.  Plastic bags are a big one.  Grocery stores should have plastic bag recycling bins or take them back.  But it you have a reusable bag, you don't even have to worry about this.  Things that you can't recycle at home like electronics and tennis shoes can be taken to your local recycling center.  Here's an idea, so you don't feel like I've added an inconvenient errand to your list.  If you have a Goodwill pile, this happens around whenever your "spring cleaning" time is, put your recyclable items in a pile near that one.  On the day you make your trip to Goodwill, swing by the recycle center with your e-waste and tennis shoes.  Nike recycles shoes and uses them for new ones.  Surprised?  So was I.

Alright, that's my piece.  I'm not going to push your attention span for green.  I think those are easy ways to start.  If you have questions, send them my way.  If you have comments, send them my way.  Next time we'll talk about buying green products.  Don't be scared, we're layering our green!

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