by: Kristie Lorette
At one time, going green seemed like something a little out of the ordinary: the neighbor who jumped on his exercise bike every time he wanted a smoothie, or the Hollywood starlet caught recycling by the tabloids whenever she needed a little positive press. These days, however, being green is a full-blown movement that has become downright trendy. Trends aside, incorporating green techniques into daily life can have an important impact on the environment and your budget.
Ultimately, going green is about small steps and simple choices each day. By recycling your aluminum cans, you can help to save energy: in fact, more than 50 million recycled cans reduced U.S. oil usage by 15 million barrels in 2009. Placing recyclable items in the recycling bin instead of throwing them away can limit landfill waste by as much as 75%. Reducing water use can ensure fresh water for the future and also add a little to your budget. A ten-minute shower uses about 40 gallons of water. By cutting the shower time in half or even just shaving a couple of minutes off you can limit waste.
Going green in small areas can make an impact on your budget. For example, natural cleaners such as baking soda and vinegar are as effective as standard cleaning supplies and considerably cheaper. Starting your own vegetable garden can be cost effective and enable you to eat fresh, seasonal produce. Additionally, buying in bulk is a green option, because it enables you to make fewer trips to the grocery store and to spend less in the long run.
In some cases, going green can get a little costly. Adding solar panels to your roof is expensive. Unless you live in a sunny location, the panels can take decades to pay off. But going green is not so much about incorporating all of the available green options as it is about using less and reusing when possible. Using rags instead of paper towels, turning off lights, and taking shorter showers can all add up to going green.
On average, a family of four in the U.S. emits more than 20 tons of carbon dioxide annually. Taken across the U.S., this amounts to more than 20% of the world populations carbon dioxide emissions (with only 5% of the worlds population living in the U.S.). Environmental scientists believe that carbon dioxide emissions contribute to rising global temperatures. Melting glaciers can cause the sea levels to rise and result in massive flooding. Plants and animals can become extinct if they are unable to adjust to a change in temperature. Environmentalists note that making even small changes in everyday life the mantra of reduce, reuse, and recycle can have a big impact on reducing emissions and ensuring the continuity of life.
For those who are new to going green, there is no rush to incorporate all of the changes at once. Instead, consider making one to two changes per week or per month, depending on your lifestyle. This might be as simple as switching to non-toxic cleaning products or as life-changing as riding a bike to work every day. Whatever you do, look at going green as a process instead of an end result.
Kristie Lorette is a freelance writer and marketing consultant that specializes in green living. She is also the editor of Green Living Diva, a blog devoted to green living tips, tricks, and advice for consumers. You can read Kristies blog at www.greenlivingdiva.blogspot.com or learn more about her writing and marketing services at www.studiokwriting.com.
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