Monday, May 21, 2007

Some Recommendations for Greening Up

Green Fever seems to be spreading around the world, as more people are becoming aware of the impact of their actions on the planet. We have not changed our consumption habits -- much -- but we have at least begun to shift to more planet-friendly products and services. People ask me all the time for tips to 'green up' their lives. Here are a few of my favorites. They are easy, cost-conscious and still related to sustainable landscaping (if only indirectly.)

  1. Take your own bags when you shop. Both plastic and paper retail bags (aka 'single use bags') expend abundant resources during the manufacturing, distribution and even recycling process. Besides, have you ever walked around your neighborhood creek, especially after it's rained? Blue or white plastic bags litter the banks, float in the water or hang in trees; use reusable bags made from natural fibers to do your part to minimize contamination of our local waterways.
  2. Use empty glass jars, not plastic containers, to store leftovers. (Of course, glass is not a good option when freezing leftovers.) Plastic releases toxins into your food; glass does not. Besides, finding other uses for your empty pickle, salsa or other jars keeps them from ending up in the landfill. They are recyclable, but even that process is highly energy-consumptive.
  3. Open windows when outdoor temperatures are below 85 degrees. OK, so maybe this one is not so easy for most of us. Your body will quickly adapt--trust me. Pros: cost savings on energy bill and fresh air blowing through your home. Low-effort method of dusting, too. ;-) Cons: HOT until your body adjusts to life with limited air-conditioning.
  4. Add more plant-based meals into your daily regimen. I'm not suggesting everyone go vegan or vegetarian, but regardless of our lifestyle, we ALL could use more greens, in particular. To learn why, pick up Green For Life by Victoria Boutenko. Another great book I've just completed is The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose. Adding more greens and other raw fruits and vegetables increases your health, but also the planet's. Grow your own--less impact on resources than The Lawn and actually provides health benefits (organic foods!)
  5. Read Po Bronson's What Should I Do With My Life? Not related to plants, environmental issues, or anything green. It's just a great read. (Note: After reading it last fall I was able to focus on my priorities and have been a much happier person as a result. One thing I discovered was that I missed the outdoors. Last year I was cooped up in the office all day, everyday, without any physical activity. This year I've set aside time to hike and play. Still not enough but I'm getting there...)

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