April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014; Tips For A Greener Life

Earth Day is today! Happy Earth Day, friends!

While I believe that every day should be had with Mother Nature's best interests in mind, maybe today can be the push you need to be a little more green in the next year?

If you're interested, (and I hope you are!) I would like to share with you a few of the things we've done in the past couple of years to "green" our lives.

Go paperless!
Do you have credit cards, bank accounts or other accounts online? Almost all companies give the option to go "paperless". This means that instead of getting those frequent, irritating papers in the mail every time you spend money or owe something... you get an e-mail! You're most likely on the computer at least weekly, so there's not much of a chance that you will lose a bill. Convenient, super simple, FREE and not at all wasteful. SCORE!

Reduce garbage out-put!
We've made the effort to bring reusable bags to the store when we go shopping. We even have a nice big set of reusable produce bags. They are easy enough to make on your own, but buying them from a sustainable company is an A+ idea, too! Think you'll forget them? Buy or make enough that you have a nice little collection and keep a few in your car and in your home. When you use the ones in your car, you can take them (or the ones in your home) back out the next time you go outside. So easy! Another idea is to stop buying plastic bottles of water. Not only is drinking (or eating) out of plastic not a very health-conscious idea, it's not ideal for Mother Nature either. And yes, this still goes for the "99% recycled plastic!" bottles, too. Glass is infinitely reusable. Plastic is not. Plastic is harmful to your health. Just go with glass! Yes, sometimes the washing is tedious - but that seems like a fine cost to me to make sure I'm giving my family the best.

Quit using plastic!
A continuation of the above note...
Seriously. If you decide to still use plastic, (it's hard to get away from - we still have a decent amount of plastic things...) it is certainly in your best interest to at least invest in a nice set of glasses and set of reusable glass containers with lids. Other than the lids on some of the glass containers, we have zero plastic in our kitchen. Zero. We don't do plastic in the kitchen. Ever. Glass is reusable, doesn't emit any dangerous chemicals and looks fantastic! Can't afford new glass items? That's what's great about glass! It doesn't leech anything from your food so buying glass from the thrift store is a fine idea! And don't forget about recycling... Did you buy a glass jar of applesauce or pasta sauce lately? When cleaned well, those make nice containers too! And they cost you nothing extra. Sure, they might not all match, but they are free. (And good for you and Mother Earth.)

Use "green" products!
We have no toxic cleaners or body products in our home. Your ~fancy~ lotion might not be the most healthy for you. And cleaning with those toxic chemicals can hurt you, your children and your pets. That "nice, clean smell" is toxic. The smell makes it no cleaner, we're just used to it. Still crave the smell of "clean"? Start using essential oils! Find pure, all-natural kinds and use them! They are infinitely useful and don't hurt the Earth (or you!) Cool beans!

Have a "meatless Monday"!
Okay, so this one is a bit of a cheat. My family and I have been "meatless" for years, but we *did* actually make the switch from unhealthy Vegetarians to healthier Vegans a year ago. (April 2013!)
I know, I know. "How will not eating meat for one day help Mother Earth?" To be honest?... This one is more about you and "green"-ing your body. Animal by-products aren't really the most green, (that is an understatement!) and by limiting them (even by avoiding meat for just one day a week!) you could really improve your health! Now, I'm not talking about going to the store and buying the biggest Vegan soy-cheese pizza you can find, followed by a giant Vegan cupcake (or five.) While that does sound like an awesome (and delicious!) idea, it's not the most healthy either. (But not in the same way that animal products aren't healthy... That's a discussion for another day.) If you're wondering what the benefits are of a meatless day, check out the Meatless Monday website's "Why Meatless" article.

We've even got a few green goals for the year! My "I want to be more green!" list is relatively lengthy, but I'm trying to be realistic by implementing them a few things at a time.

We have a nice little composting bin but we (for no good reason) haven't bothered using it lately. My biggest concern is that the cats would try to take the top off of the canister and eat the old food. Composting is fantastic for the Earth. It's just taking what She gave you and giving it back to her. It's the circle of life, baby! Just make sure not to research well before-hand if you plan to compost so as not to put anything that will rot and stink in the container. (And for those wondering; no, it doesn't stink! At all! The smell of compost is earthy but not at all "rotting.")

"No electricity" days!
We already unplug everything electronic when it isn't in use. (The only things that don't get that treatment are the fridge and stove.) Avoiding all electronic things for a day (or a few days) sounds like an awesome idea. No lights in the evening, just falling asleep to the light of the Moon. No TV during dinner. No video games. Nothing. It certainly won't hurt our electricity bills but I'd like to do it because I'd like to spend some uninterrupted "us" time with my family. (And not dealing with the questionable rays emitting from our electronics is definitely not a bad idea, either.)

Waste less water!
We are guilty of leaving the water on a bit too long. We are more conscious about it but it still happens more often than I would like. So I'm vowing to quit leaving water on too long. It's wasteful for the Earth and for our pockets.

What are you doing for Earth Day?
What "green" things do you already implement in your daily life?

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