Your Guide to Going Green

Going Green is a mantra that has been chanted for years

But how do we do it? – How do we go green and save the earth as individuals and home owners alike?

Everything we personally own that’s made, sold, shipped, stored, cleaned, and ultimately thrown away does some environmental harm every step of the way, harm that we’re either directly responsible for or is done on our behalf. Yvon Chouinard

going green

Image by: jurvetson

Given the current condition of the Earth, that harm is something we’re looking to reduce.

Here are some quick tips that you could implement as part of the going green initiative.

Going Green as an individual

Go Green Transportation

According to Going for Green, if the number of people cycling regularly increased by 10%, there would be a 4% drop in the number of people having heart disease.

Therefore, use public transport whenever possible, to save both your purse and the environment.

If that isn’t a viable option, opt to car-pool. Stop using your car as a single occupant for long distance travel wherever possible.

Try walking or cycling instead, the benefits to your heart are manifold.

If you’re using cars, then hybrid cars, or, at the very least, fuel-efficient cars would be good choices.

Stop buying bottled water

Go green, buy yourself a decent water bottle and carry it around instead of buying bottled water every time you feel thirsty.

Discarded water bottles may take decades to biodegrade besides using up precious fossil fuel resources.

As much as 17 million barrels of oil are needed annually simply to meet the demand of Americans for bottled water.

Going Green might mean you stop using disposable coffee cups

Bring your own reusable coffee mugs when you’re buying coffee.

Stanford’s sustainable choice blog indicates that if every customer from Starbucks simply used a reusable coffee mug, there would be savings of

  • 1,181,600 tons of wood
  • 2,040,061,237 pounds of carbon dioxide
  • 4,441,093,624 gallons of water annually

Borrow books and movies

Borrow books whenever possible, what are the chances that you’ll read every single book in your possession again and again.

Just buy the books that you really like, or get ebooks. There’s no point in contributing to the worsening climate with a book you vaguely remember.

The same goes for movies and dvds, if you’re going to watch them on your computer, you can buy an electronic version on the internet.

Go green by reducing your paper use

Wild animals, with examples being the orang utans and tigers are on the brink of extinction. Countless animals die every day, due to unnatural causes

WHY? – Deforestation is one of the biggest culprits of this phenomenon.

Only 22 % of the world’s forests remain untouched, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Should you wish to play a part in saving the animals, then use less paper. Only use it if you absolutely need a hardcopy.

Use both sides of the paper, and recycle it afterwards.

Bring a handkerchief with you wherever you go, and use it in lieu of tissue papers as much as possible.

Recycle – Going Green usually starts here

Always recycle or donate usable items when you no longer need it.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Someone out there will have a use for the item you no longer want.

Try offering it via websites like Freecycle, or donate them to charity.

Also, when purchasing items, if it’s for one time use only (such as for events), you may consider getting pre-loved ones or borrowing them from friends or family.

Going Green at home

Reduce electricity use

Use energy efficient electrical appliances, particularly those with a high energy star rating.

Minimize the use of electricity whenever you can, i.e. use fans instead of air conditioners, use blankets instead of electrical heaters, dry clothes on the clothes line.

Use light bulbs with a lower wattage, as they are more efficient than high wattage ones.

Unplug electrical appliances when they are not in use.

Ensure that your house is properly insulated or aerated to minimize heating and cooling the house, as they account for up to 50% of a household’s electricity usage.

Use green products

Use green household products made only from natural ingredients, they are easily available in supermarkets.

The chemicals present in non eco friendly products like detergents and dishwashers may damage the skin of your hands from prolonged use.

When the chemicals flow along with wastewater to the river, it might pose a danger to the flora and fauna.

If the fancy strikes you, you can even make your own green cleaning products from such items as baking soda and lemonade.

Go paperless

Go paper free in your home as well.

Subscribe to electronic versions of newspapers and magazines to avoid accumulating a pile of paper in your house.

The same goes for bills, newsletters and shopping catalogues.

Stop subscribing to those you never read anymore.

Statistics have shown that if every American recycled just a small fraction of their newspapers, 25 million trees will be saved every year.
What’s stopping you?

Buy green organic, local produce

Get poultry, fruits and veggies from your local farmers’ markets.

The eco dollars saved from transportation and storage costs may just be enough to save the earth.

A scientist based in Iowa has found that the food in grocery stores has travelled an average of 2,400 km, while local foods typically travel 72 km to the markets. This means 4-17 times more fuel usage and CO2 emissions.

Of course, there are other factors to be taken into account when measuring the carbon footprint of foodstuffs, if in doubt, just start your own herbal garden using compost from your own kitchen.

Going Green – It’s a healthy option for both you and the environment

Generate your own electricity

Given that the energy received by the Earth from the sun in an hour far exceeds the world’s annual energy usage, installing solar panels on the roofs of your house is a viable idea.

It may seem a hefty investment initially, but it will pay off in the long run, due to the rising electricity tariffs in recent years.

It’s not just global warming, it’s not just a loss of biodiversity, it’s not just the pollution of our oceans and the clearing of our rainforests and all these complicated systems … about the world economy, it talks about politics, it talks about personal transformation and environmental consciousness that we need to have in this generation to implement a lot of these changes that need to occur. – Leornardo Di Caprio

That said, Going Green isn’t simply an act, it is a way of life, to be practised by those who genuinely wish to save the earth.

Should you have the conscience, every little step counts, search out those green products…Now !

While you’re at it, consider installing a rainwater barrel.


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