Today, being Green is a necessity. It’s not just for hippies and tree huggers any more. Actually being a tree hugger is a good thing, but that’s another article. We are in a time that if we continue our bad habits, the children of our not too distant future will not have one.
The 20th Century brought technological growth and change for the masses, however, it was not always for the good of the environment. Now we are suffering from the effects of change. We need to get back to basics and lead less extravagant lives. We all have lots of stuff. Generally everything we buy is new, and that takes a toll on our environment. What we manufacture takes energy, causes a certain amount of pollution, and uses precious natural resources.
We need to reduce our waste, reuse what we can and recycle just about everything. Just recycling our cans and bottles is not enough anymore. (Lots of us don’t even do that!)
We can reduce waste, just by not purchasing so much stuff. Every time we buy something, we throw away the packaging, bags are used to put our stuff in and paper is used to print receipts. Not to mention the energy it takes to power the store we bought the item in and the energy we used driving our vehicles to get there. If you need something try to condense your shopping trips or order it over the Internet.
Reuse what you can. By reusing items or re-purposing them, we can save money, energy, and keep our stuff from unnecessarily being sent to the land fill. Use old broken dishes for the bottom of you flower pots for drainage. Use old socks or t-shirts as dust rags or to wash the car. I know it seems small and simple, however if everyone did it we could make a significant change for the better.
Recycle everything. We can recycle leaves, grass clippings and food scraps into a composter and it will turn into beautiful rich organic compost that is good for the earth. (Some countries in Europe have made this a requirement.) Recycle your cans, bottles, paper, clothing, old household items, furniture etc. Habitat for Humanity will accept old cabinets, doors, windows, appliances, furniture etc. The Veteran’s Association will come pick up clothes and small household items right at your door. Good Will has drop off locations where you can take your unwanted clothing and household items. Share your children’s clothes they so quickly outgrow with family or friends. It is amazing how much money you can save by sharing. Vintage and slightly used clothing stores are popping up as cool chain stores for teenagers and young adults. Plato’s closet is a nationwide chain that sells gently used brand name clothes for the young adult. You can take in your unwanted brand name clothes, (in good condition)and they will pay you for them, then you can shop and get fantastic deals on the latest fashions. There is even a shoe company that makes their shoes from recycled materials, and when you are done with them, you can send them back to the company and they will recycle them back into new shoes. (Oka-B Shoes)
The products to live greener are out there, and becoming more readily available. By reducing our household waste we can reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions coming from our already overtaxed landfills. By Reusing and recycling our unwanted stuff we can cut down on production, which also saves the environment’s resources and reduces pollution. By purchasing less and purchasing only environmentally friendly products, it will also force the manufacturing companies to adopt cleaner, greener processes.
The general consensus has been that to live green one must sacrifice and perform tasks that are difficult and unpleasant. Living Green is simple. You may have to plan a little more or take a few more steps to the recycling buckets, but it is simple and necessary.