Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Earth Month!

Remember when Earth Day was just a day? Soon, the entire month of April was focused on "going green." These days, when people are tightening their belts and high oil prices scared them into re-thinking the fundamental logistics of their lives, Earth Day can seem like just another day (or month) when people are talking about conservation.

How about making April the month each of us stops talking about that one thing that we want to do to go green and make it happen? With that in mind, I'm kicking off the month by sharing a calendar, from the popular site SparkPeople, which identifies one greener thing you can do each day in April. If you've already done the item listed on a particular day, you may want to take the day off! Or, identify that thing that's been nagging you that you haven't yet done and put that on the calendar in place of something you've already done. Take a peek and download a calendar here.

I took a peek and saw that most of the days include action items that will save you green, including:
  • Recycle! In most states, turning in 20 bottles and cans will get you one piece of green in your pocket. It might not seem like much in the beginning, but it adds up!
  • Use cloth napkins instead of paper. It may involve a bigger outlay in the beginning, but you will recoup the cost in one year of using paper napkins.
  • Use your own bag everywhere -- at the grocery store, at the mall, for lunch. Whether it's reusing a plastic bag, which will cost you nothing, or buying a reusable one, grocery stores routinely credit you 5 cents per bag when you check out using your own.
  • Visit the library and check out books, CDs, and DVDs for free. Saves paper, saves transportation costs, and of course it saves you green!
  • Turn off the water when you're not using it. Don't leave it running when you brush your teeth or get ready to get in the shower.
  • Unplug.
  • Go Vegetarian. OK, this one is definitely not for everyone, but we all know that raising meat takes more food than feeding a person, animal waste contributes to severe environmental problems, and transporting the meat increases carbon emissions. If you think you could never take the plunge, just learn to make one meatless meal you could like and maybe you'll go veggie one day a week. You don't have to make a lifetime commitment, even one meal a week will make an impact!
  • Drive less.
  • Hang-dry your laundry.
  • Use Reusable Bottles.
  • Print Responsibly -- saving ink and trees will save you green
  • Sew, Mend, and Repair clothes and items that are broken but easily fixed
  • Buy Rechargeable Batteries and you'll reduce toxic waste as well as save yourself a trip to the store to buy more the next time your flashlight sputters out.
  • Go secondhand.
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater and I doubt you'll even notice a difference. I like to lower it to the point where I do notice a difference, and then kick it up a notch. Also, wash your laundry in cold water and turn off the heated dry option on your dishwasher -- just open the dishwasher door and let it air dry overnight!

Savvy readers are probably already doing these things. If you are, you've saved a few bucks and might be able to find some room in your budget for the green options that will cost a few more dollars.

For our action item this month, Mr. Green and I decided that we are going to go organic on many of the foods that are widely acknowledged as dangerous -- to our health and our earth -- in their conventionally processed form. It's not quite in line with being a cheapskate, but we noticed that our penny-pinching in our food budget has led to some wiggle room that will allow us to buy the more pricey organic items. I'll let you know soon what those items are.

1 comment:

  1. Great list! The one thing I dont well (besides the sewing, I'm so inept at crafts!) is the not turning the water on while I am getting ready to shower. My water takes 5 full minutes before it is no longer ice cold (I must have a lot of plumbing), and I just can't bring myself to step into a cold shower. I feel guilty about it too cause I know that's a lot of waste...