Paper or plastic? This used to be the prominent question when checking out at the grocery store and I would reply by simply holding up my cloth, reusable bags. Now when I stand in the checkout line, it is commonplace to see other customers bringing their own reusable bags when they shop. It is great to see more people who think of the environment right along with their own needs.
We have a multitude of options that can either help or hurt the environment with our day-to-day living. From the food we eat to the cars we drive, we all make choices that can directly and indirectly affect the quality of our environment.
I used to think that because I don’t have solar panels or drive a hybrid vehicle that I wasn’t doing enough to say I was going green. I have come to realize that buying locally grown food, recycling, hanging my clothes to dry, buying organic food and supporting local businesses are all important aspects of green living.
At this point in time, even though I don’t have solar panels, I am still making environmentally aware choices when I can.
Here are some ideas on how you can make a difference:
Cut back on single-serving items in packages. Buy items such as rice, beans, nuts, seeds and cereals in bulk or large packages instead of individual serving size packages.
Purchase organically grown food to reduce the amount of pesticides and genetically modified ingredients on your plate.
Purchase locally grown food when possible to cut back on the amount of fossil fuels involved in packaging and transporting the food you are consuming.
When the weather is conducive, hang your clothes to dry instead of using a drier.
Avoid drier sheets and household items that contain formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals.
Choose clothing made from organic cotton when available to avoid using products made from genetically modified cotton.
Keep your home environment healthy by using non-toxic cleaners such as baking soda and vinegar or other environmentally friendly, store bought cleaners. Reduce your carbon footprint by installing energy saving window treatments, energy efficient appliances and light bulbs.
Reduce your fossil fuel usage by sharing a ride, taking a bus or driving a hybrid vehicle. If you are able to walk or bike to your destination, take advantage of the opportunity to get some exercise while you do your errands.
Bring your own shopping bags to the grocery store.
Install a water filter under your sink or use a pitcher-style water filter and skip plastic water bottles.
Compost your kitchen scraps to make fertilizer for your landscape or garden.
I am a big fan of the ease and convenience of shopping online. This is a huge time saver, but I end up with a lot of boxes, bubble wrap and styrofoam packing materials. I don’t like to use styrofoam, let alone throw it away. Boxes, and all packing materials can all be dropped off at any u-ship facility; they will gladly take them and reuse them.
Recycle aluminum, plastic and cardboard. I am usually the person you will see picking up an aluminum can or plastic water bottle from a park or walkway that someone else has littered. I take these home and put them in my recycle bin; I like to clean up the environment around me.
Buy products that are made from recycled materials.
Wires, cables, cell phones, electronics, keyboards and many other things can be recycled. There are companies that will recycle as much of the materials as possible.
If you are interested in more info about recycling, check out www.RecyclingCenters.org for a facility close to you.
Support other companies that are making eco-friendly choices. The company I get my website hosting through is a green company, my dentist has a green finished building, my bank picks up my deposit in a hybrid vehicle and has recycled materials throughout their branches. Even though I don’t have solar panels, I am still supporting companies that have good business models. Going green is a concept that can be applied in all aspects of your life, whether you are the main visionary or whether you are supporting other people who are doing good work. Every little bit we do makes a difference, because it’s really about raising awareness and daily choices.
Going green means something different to everyone. Each of us has different needs and different lifestyles, so the way you go green could look very differently from the way your neighbor or closest friends are doing it. There are many things we can each do to reduce our impact on the environment and improve the environment.
Even if your small effort seems insignificant, keep in mind that you may be inspiring someone else and they may go forward making more environmentally aware choices in their own life just from seeing your example. I hope I have accomplished this and inspired you to make green choices from reading my article!
If you’d like more health tips, check out my book, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Healthy You.
By Samadhi Artemisa, Acupuncture Physician
Originally published in “A Better You” of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper April 16, 2017. Reprinted with permission.
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