Green Resources

Published on February 7th, 2011 | by Guest Contributor


Ways to Make a Green Start to 2011

For the last decade now it seems that every year, the social and political push to become a greener person gets stronger. Increasingly people understand what causes global warming, and I don’t think for a minute anyone out there ever thinks that they would like to pollute the environment or harm our planet. But just how do you and I make a difference? Yes there are changes you can make and things you can actively start doing that will have a big impact. But I think it is more important to get in the mindset, as making a permanent lifestyle change will have much bigger consequences in the long run.

Here are some ideas for 2011, you don’t have to adopt them all; but hopefully one or two might be attainable.

1. Recycle

I know you are thinking, ‘I already do this, and it’s so obvious’. Yes a lot of you already recycle, but do you recycle everything you can? And do you recycle every week? I know for myself the answer is no, and I guess for a lot of you it’s the same. The key is to getting into a routine, building the recycling process into each day.

2. Switch to online banking

Why wait for your statement to be delivered to you every month when you can go online and check it whenever you want. Similarly, pay your bills online too instead of wasting all that paper and effort mailing or driving to the bank. It is thought that if every house in the US switched their banking efforts online it would stop 18 million trees being felled.

3. Buy a reusable bag

It’s amazing how quickly you can build up a collection of plastic bags, pretty much every store these days hands them out with every purchase. Plastic bags are difficult to recycle and extremely toxic to produce not to mention the devastation they can cause to wildlife, so get a tote bag and feel good about going shopping.

4. Turn electronics off

I know putting electronic goods to sleep is so easy, and reaching behind to turn them off at the wall seems like such a chore at the time. But in doing so, you will dramatically reduce the amount of energy you consume each week and as a result; reduce your bills too.

5. Cut out baths and shorten showers

Taking a bath on average uses twice as much water as showering, so it is no surprise that we recommend removing baths from your routine entirely. Once you have successfully made the switch to showers it is time to start reducing the amount of time you spend under it. We all like taking a bit of time in the shower, but for every minute you spend under the water roughly five gallons of water is wasted.

6. Turn the temperature down/up

My old economics teacher used to say “heat bodies not spaces”, whilst it is understandable in most situations that the heating or cooling needs to be on, it is worth considering just what temperature you need. It is thought that every degree warmer in the winter and colder in the summer you make your home you add 10% to your bills.  If you spend a lot of time in the winter in a single room, you can turn down the thermostat in your whole house, and just heat the room you are in with an energy efficient space heater.

7. Cut down on driving

We all know that some trips are unavoidable, but there are some which could be cut out completely or completed by another mode of transport other than by car. The simple fact is that we all drive too much, and have become too reliant on the trusty automobile. Instead of jumping in the car to go down to the shop get the push bike out or even walk, you will not only be benefiting the environment, but doing yourself some good too. If the journey is simply unavoidable such as work, try to pool cars with local colleagues or even get the bus.

This post has been syndicated by Nathan Brown, the green building career recruiter for Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage and provider of Eco Advertising.

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