Ever since I first saw that old campaign for the Keep America Beautiful (“People start pollution. People can stop it.”), I’ve carried around a nagging worry about the environment.
By Annette McLoughlin
Ever since I first saw that old campaign for the Keep America Beautiful (“People start pollution. People can stop it.”), I’ve carried around a nagging worry about the environment. I worry about our air, our water, and our food. I worry that not enough people worry about it. I worry that it’s too late to reverse the damage we’ve done. Recently, I started to worry about the California bees. I worry about China, which reminds me that I’m worried about the panda.
If you too are even a little bit worried about any of the above, I want to give you a few compelling reasons to get on board the eco-train and some easy ways to incorporate a little green living into your life.
Here are some good (and some questionable) points to consider when debating a greener lifestyle — or, turning over a new leaf, so to speak.)
Reasons to be Green
Your kids will think you’re cooler. Their generation is steeped in the issue, so if parents are eco-oblivious, we are less cool.
You can justify fewer showers. This one’s a personal favorite: My teenage daughters hate it; my 9-year-old son loves it. Lose some, win some.
Men can shave less often. Think of all the celebs that look hotter with beards: Matt, George, etc.
You can drive a Prius (I’m dying to) or a Volt, or a Leaf … Cool people drive them.
Converging with nature as a family gets your kids away from TV/Internet.
Environmentalism offers excellent community service options for our teenagers.
More electronic communication=more efficient use of paper.
Eating well —less red meat, less packaging— benefits us personally and environmentally. And walking or biking is better for the environment and you.
Following are a few ways to soften your eco-impact, and incorporate a more green daily routine.
Always Recycle. Real Simple magazine offers a handy little alphabetized list of how to recycle practically anything at http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/tips-techniques/recycle-anything. Display it prominently.
One Man’s Junk. The Vietnam Veterans Association (pickupplease.org) and the Lupus Foundation – will pick up almost anything from your home. Salvation Army and Goodwill are more selective. Westchester Furniture Sharehouse (furnitureshaarehouse.org) and The Carver Center pick up. And, there is our own hard-working TWIG
Here’s an Idea; Change a Light Bulb! Switch from incandescent bulbs to CFL (Compact Florescent Lights), which consume about 75% less electricity and last up to ten times longer.
Pull the Plug. Anything that has an LED (light-emitting diode) or that continues to glow after you turn it off, continues to draw power (TVs, cell phone chargers, printers, etc.)
Fix The Drip, Turn off the Tap, Skip a Flush. Dripping faucets and leaking toilets can waste 74 and 200 gallons a day, respectively. Place a drop of food coloring in the tank; if the color appears in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak.
Longer Grass is Greener. Most grasses fare better when left to grow a little longer. Taller grass absorbs more light, creating thicker turf and deeper roots, requiring less water. Leave the clippings on the lawn.
Be Label Conscious. When it’s time to replace a household appliance, choose a product with an Energy Star label.
Load ’er Up! Washing just a few clothes or dishes at a time wastes water, power, and money. Also, use cold water whenever possible.
Buy Recycled. Look for the words “postconsumer” or “recycled” when shopping for paper towels, printer paper, packing boxes, glass containers, and 4500 other products.
So this Earth Day, go out and have a picnic and hug a tree a little harder. Oh, and please recycle this fine piece of journalism when you’re done reading it.