Darren at ProBlogger has started another group writing project, and I think this is a really great one. I’ve only been involved in three group writing projects in the past, and my very first one was with his blog. The reason I’m excited about this particular one is because of the theme. Each participant is doing a post on their “top five.” The cool thing is that Darren has readers from pretty much every corner of the blogosphere. I have no doubt that the entries are going to give me tons of interesting stuff to read on pretty much every imaginable topic. I’ll be sure to share some of them here.
In the meantime, I wanted to focus on my own top five. We touch on quite a few topics here at the Something Good blog, but one that really seems to spark for us is the environment. It’s so neat to learn how we can do little tiny things that can actually make a difference to the planet on which we live. Today we can do Something Good by thinking about our own favorite ways to be environmentally savvy.
- Reduce. One of the best ways that we can make a positive impact is to reduce our consumption. This could mean something as drastic as taking the bus instead of driving or something as simple as not using a paper towel to clean off the counter. When you go to the store, try to buy things that don’t have a bunch of extra packaging, and try shopping with a list rather than just buying whatever catches your fancy. Rather than getting four small containers of yogurt, buy one large container. Reducing our consumption saves money, sends less trash to the landfill and causes less resources to be used in manufacturing.
- Unplug. It wasn’t until recently that I learned about “phantom loads.” It turns out that many of the things we have plugged into the wall are using electricity even when they’re off! Anything that has a “standby” mode (i.e. anything that uses a remote control) has to continue using a little bit of electricity in order to be ready to turn on when you hit the power button. Why not unplug your t.v., stereo, or computer monitor when you go to bed at night? Darling Husband Rob knows of someone who knocked $40 off of his monthly power bill just by turning off his computer when he wasn’t using it. It turns out that cell phone chargers are a big culprit, too, so unplug those bad boys when you’re done. Using compact fluorescent bulbs can reduce your energy needs, as well.
- Clean up. Instead of using chemical cleansers around the house, try using vinegar instead. I’ve switched to vinegar for nearly all of my cleaning needs, and it works great! It kills germs and is less likely to cause irritations than harsher cleansers like bleach. I now use vinegar on all of the glass in our house, as well as on the floors. It smells a little funky at first, but it dries odorless. In fact, vinegar even removes odors from the air in your home.
- Reuse. Find new uses for old items. Rather than throwing out a book when you’re done with it (not that I can imagine such a thing), pass it along to someone else. Reuse jars in place of Tupperware. Donate clothing and furniture to charity, or sell it to earn a little cash. Reuse plastic grocery bags, or even take your own reusable canvas bag to the store when you shop. Every item that gets reused not only avoids the landfill, but it also keeps us from needing to produce new ones.
- Buy local. (Okay, it should be "buy locally," but I like the sound of it better this way.) Buying locally grown and manufactured goods has a lot of benefits. First of all, your money is staying in your own community and helping to stimulate its economy. Secondly, it doesn’t have to be transported from here to there. When you buy an imported tomato, for example, you’re not only paying with your money but also with the air that was polluted when it was flown or trucked across the country to your local store. Shopping at farmer’s markets is a great way to buy local produce. Check out local nurseries for plants, rather than buying the ones trucked into the Extra-Super-Mart. There are probably dozens of artisans in your area that would love to supply your furniture, artwork, dishes, jewelry, etc. You can support them and the environment at the same time.
These are just a few of the ways that we can very easily do Something Good for the planet. So, I want to know. What super-duper easy things do you do to be more environmentally conscious?