When many Americans hear the term “green living”, they might just get an image in their minds’ eye of hippies from the 1970’s, living in communes while making everything they use. There are various truths to the ‘Going Green’ mentality, and it can depend on where you live now, how you live, or where you grew up. But on a more global scale, there is one true meaning – helping the environment we live in to be viable for those who will follow in our paths.
Any of us who grew up in the Eastern world probably have memories of a simpler time. Our houses, methods of living and cultivating our foods were almost always ‘green’ in nature. We made due with what we had, and for many of us that wasn’t a lot. There were no chemicals for the crops, water consumption was limited, any most of our food ‘purchases’ were actually barters with other farmers and goods dealers. Of course, this all depended on where you were raised.
But what about now? What about here in the US? What can each of us do every day to start going green, and giving back to the soils we want our children (and their children) to get nourishment from?
The first thing I’ll say is buy locally. When you choose a farmer or market from your own city or town (or at least close to it), there are less transportation expenses. This also means less fuel and pollution in order for you to actually receive the goods you need. If there are no farmers’ markets in your area, consider starting your own organic garden in your back yard. Then you won’t even need to use the gasoline in your car to pick up your produce!
Another great option is using cleaning and other household products which don’t contain harsh chemicals. Not only will these be safer for the environment, but your family as well. It’s quite easy to make your own products with ingredients from your kitchen. The two most potent kitchen staples which can be used for cleaning are baking soda and vinegar. They are also quite inexpensive, especially when bought in bulk.
Conserving energy is one of the easier things you can do. However, before you start getting into the habit of turning off those lights you don’t need, start by changing your light bulbs for those which consume less energy. Many electric companies are offering incentive programs for those people who change out all their old bulbs for the newer, and longer lasting type. You may also want to check your windows for drafts, and either replacing or repairing seals. Lower your heat by a degree or two, as well as changing the settings on your air conditioning. All of these steps, and many others can help.
Turn off lights as you leave a room. If nobody is in there, why leave the lights on? The same goes for televisions, stereos, computers and other appliances or electronics. Unless it absolutely NEEDS to be kept turned on, turn it off until you require its services again.
Every little bit helps. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking going green in a little bit more depth. From recycling to leaving the car at home, we’ll cover a variety of subjects over the next little while so that we can all do our share for this planet we call home.