You don’t have to be Al Gore to understand that going green is vital to Mother Earth’s survival—and our own. Most of us want to do our part to prevent global warming, but don’t really know how. The good news is, if each of us does our part to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by just 2 percent a year, we could actually prevent the worst effects of global warming by the year 2050!
With the year 2008 well under way, now is the perfect time to resolve to make 2008 your greenest year ever! To get you started, here are 10 easy resolutions you can make today:
1. Say Goodbye to energy vampires. Reduce your utility bill and your carbon dioxide emissions by upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, like an adjustable thermostat, throughout your home. Also, unplug common appliances like your cell phone charger, computer and TV when not in use: if they’re plugged in, they’re draining energy even if they’re not turned on.
2. Make the switch to CFLs. Still waiting around to change out your regular incandescent light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs? By making the switch, you can save about $50 over the life of each bulb—and reduce your CO2 emissions.
3. De-tox your home. Since green is everywhere, nowadays you can opt for an eco-friendly redecoration by using low-voc paint, carpet, paints, and even wood cabinetry. Also, detoxify your home by avoiding standard household cleaning and personal care products, which contain toxic chemicals like sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and phosphates. These chemicals are not only carcinogenic, but also wreak havoc on the planet when rinsed down the drain and into our rivers and streams.
4. Install a Water Filter. Using a water filter will not only keep you from digesting toxins in our water and give you better-tasting water, but it will also reduce your dependence on plastic water bottles. In fact, a typical filter can eliminate up to two tractor trailers full of plastic bottles in our landfills, and the energy (and CO2) required to manufacture those bottles.
5. Eat organic or sustainably grown food. Organic farming is better for the planet than industrial farming because it’s free of harmful pesticides that run into our rivers and streams. Eating organic food will also be better for your body, because it’s free of toxins like GMO’s (genetic modifiers), antibiotics and hormones, which are dangerous to your health when digested and have been linked to degenerative diseases and learning disabilities in children.
6. Reduce your meat consumption. Most people don’t know that the meat industry is the largest industrial polluter of the planet, wasting millions of tons of precious water, land and natural resources each year. In fact, studies show that 18 percent of greenhouse gases have been linked to farming animals for food. Fact: A meat-eating diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day. By comparison, a vegetarian diet requires only 300 gallons of water per day, and is less costly to your wallet and the planet.
7. Wear Eco-Chic Clothing. Before buying your next outfit, take into account that about one third of a pound of pesticides is used just to make one cotton T-shirt! Do your part by purchasing clothing made from sustainable fabrics like bamboo, hemp or organic cotton, which feels like silk on your skin.
8. Travel green whenever you can. To cut down on C02 emissions, consider driving a fuel or energy efficient vehicle. If you can't buy a new car or aren’t ready to trade yours in for a Prius, opt to walk, bike, or carpool (public transportation counts) instead of driving.
9. Offset your carbon footprint. When all else fails, do your part to neutralize your carbon footprint the easy way by purchasing carbon offset credits. Carbon offsetting is one of the most popular ways to clean up CO2 emissions from daily activities in your home or business like driving your car, flying, or turning on the heat.
10. Become a conscious consumer. Being a conscious consumer means voting with your spending dollars to create the change you want to see in the world. Buy only what you need. Purchase green products and services whenever you can. Support local businesses that offer products and services sourced from no more than 100 miles from your home (start with your local farmer’s market). Expand your portfolio by investing in socially responsible businesses.
Bianca Alexander is the executive producer and co-host of Conscious Living TV, a lifestyle show that empowers consumers with fun, practical tips on living healthier, greener, and more conscious lives. To watch the show, or
to share your tips, visit www.ConsciousLivingTV.com.