by Yvonne M. Glasgow
It is true, green living not only helps the health of the planet, but family health too. Even household pets will benefit. The important thing to realize is that going green does not have to cost a lot of green, money. Even the things that do cost a little more are well worth it in the long run; they last longer and save more money over time with bills. A good example of this are the fluorescent light bulbs now available. These spiral bulbs cost more than normal light bulbs, but they use less energy and last longer. They make a difference in the cost of electricity over time and need to be replaced less often.
One of the easiest steps to take towards a greener life is to shut off and unplug electronics and appliances when they are not in use. Just having the computer plugged in and turned off still draws power from the electricity in the house. Not a lot, but it adds up over time. Some things, like lamps, are actually off when they are off and don’t draw additional power. Anything with a clock, stand by or lights that stay on, or keep charging when off, continue to draw power and run up the electric bill. Not only does this make a higher bill, it also leaves a bigger carbon footprint behind.
What is a carbon footprint? This is the measure of the impact humans have on the environment. When pollutants destroy the ozone, when water and electricity are being depleted, when gas is too relied upon; the environment takes a beating and thus humans take a beating. Gas prices rise, the air is unsafe to breath and more. By lowering the amount of electricity and gas we use we can lessen our need for it and its negative imprint on the environment. When we stop putting pollutants in the air from smoking, factories and vehicles, we help save ourselves, animals, trees and more.
With that being said; another way to help live a greener and healthier life, and save some money, is to quit smoking. Cigarette smoke contains many unhealthy things that hurt both the environment and all of the people exposed to it. Carcinogens in cigarettes can cause cancer in people, both smokers and non-smokers who are ever in the vicinity of smokers. Quitting is not as easy as it sounds, but with all the aides and medications available to help there is no reason not to quit.
There are many, many other ways to save the Earth. Some cheap, some expensive. Most people cannot afford to get all new energy saver appliances or solar panels installed, but when new appliances are needed it is easy to slowly replace the old ones with energy saving new ones. When the sun is shining open the shades and let the light naturally warm the house in cold weather. In the summer keep shades closed to keep heat out, instead of cranking the air conditioner.
Grow veggies and fruit at home. This can be done with an indoor garden, porch garden or a normal outdoor garden. Plant treesto help produce more oxygen. Start composting at home. Compost pits are great places to get rid of food garbage from the home, instead of filling landfills. Recycle. Learn where recycling places are in the area, what they take and how they take it. Put recyclable papers in paper bags, put cans and recyclable plastics in their own bags. Reuse things as often as possible; reuse plastic bags from grocery shopping the next time shopping instead of getting twice as many. Better yet, take cloth bags to the store and avoid the plastic bags all together. Lastly, donate. When getting rid of things that are still usable do not throw them away! This just fills up land fills with stuff that will never go away. Donate them, instead, to a local thrift store, church or a needy family.
It is not hard to go green, and it does not always have to cost an arm and a leg. Make a point this new year to use some of the tips above and help save the environment for future generations.
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