Being “eco-friendly” is no longer a counterculture trend, an idealistic option or something interesting for people to half-heartedly dabble in. Living within our environmental means has become an issue so pressing and so dire, it worked its way onto our national and statewide ballots this year.
Renewable energy sources, alternative forms of transportation to minimize pollution and traffic relief practices for environmental concerns, all demonstrate the now imminent future of living a greener lifestyle. The hippie frivolity that some naysayers have associated with environmentally friendly practices is gone, and taking responsibility for the damage done to Mother Earth is ours. And yours.
We have gotten ourselves into quite a pickle, and luckily there are those organic, carbon footprint-reducing pioneers that are there to help and not just with an “I told you so.” These good-hearted souls combined with the ever churning American wheel of progress and profit have come up with a multitude of ways to start re-training the way each individual operates.
Whether you follow the suggestions or not, by now most are familiar with the pros of carpooling, taking the bus, riding a bicycle, or gasp .... walking. For us to be successful at this countrywide makeover, we must strip down to the basics, and realize now more than ever that even the tiniest actions count.
Replace your bright lights with energy efficient bulbs (mood lighting people!). Use coffee filters made from recycled paper or better yet, get a reusable filter.
Stop buying water bottles on that daily commute or those hours in class, and purchase some form of a reusable water bottle. You don’t need to be a backpacker anymore to own a Nalgene, and if it’s still too outdoorsy for you there are plenty of stainless steel water bottles in every design imaginable. If you must buy plastic, look for the ones with the number one or two on the bottom, as numbers three through seven are generally more difficult to break down and less accepted by curbside recycling pick up.
The key to this whole living green thing relies on you as an individual and taking the initiative to incorporate these practices into your everyday life. At idealbite.com, a quaint and effective Web design merely underscores the site’s effectiveness as it emphasizes taking tiny “bites” out of an earth-friendly lifestyle.
Self-titled “a sassier shade of green,” the site covers all major U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, with a cosmopolitan emphasis that includes a daily tip on how to shop, cocktail, eat or be pregnant, the green way. It will take two minutes to add yourself to the daily tip e-mail list, and if you’re feeling extra ambitious, check out the archives for tips like “Baked Goody Two-shoes” on how to make vegan pumpkin cupcakes.
The fact that the beer bottles, pizza boxes, newspapers and Coke liters we put in the recycle bin do more than make us feel good is something often overlooked. Those things that get dutifully separated out of the trash really DO end up reincarnated as a tote bag, polar fleece, floor tiles or even a little house for ol’ Fido the family dog. At the Daily Green’s Web site (thedailygreen.com), self-proclaimed as “the consumer’s guide to the green revolution,” you can find all this and more to greenify your household, diet, transportation and even look at which celebrities receive the green thumbs up of approval.
Extremely accessible but still information-packed, this site goes a step beyond telling you what to do, but why and how certain things are considered eco-friendly or not. Try to follow their 30 day plan of eating green or even treat yourself to some green online shopping, and then pat yourself on the back for most likely already doing an eco-tip like paying your bills online.
Unsure what to do with that last sip of vodka from last night’s party? The Daily Green says spritz it on your clothing to cut back on laundry waste; vodka dries clean and scentless but masks odors in the process.
Not everyone can be an environmental renegade or a conservation trailblazer, and this is one instance where it’s perfectly OK to be a follower. Copy those good ideas you see, and even write about them online for others to copy again.
Proof that this task at hand is doable is Target’s portion of its Web site devoted to eco-friendly goods (“reuse, re-imagine, reduce”). Consisting of a large cross section of merchandise, its subcategories direct you to everything green from reusable cups and thermoses, solar powered yard decor and natural beauty products.
Living an eco-friendly existence should be thought about as a lifestyle change, not a fad diet. Being green is no Atkins or South Beach, and it’s a necessary part of our manifestation of a country in order to keep on keeping on.
The secret to diet success is to change the way you live; change the infrastructure of your everyday routine and only then will your changes stick. The same goes for the being green; all you need to do is take that first baby step.
Article posted on 11/18/2008
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