Editor's Note: At Cascadian Farm, we believe that there shouldn’t just be one day devoted to Earth Day, there should be 365 days. That’s why this year, we’re helping you live more sustainably every day by giving you tips and advice on how to do just that. If we all make a conscious effort to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle everyday, we will be helping to protect the planet for many generations to come. Below, Jennie Lyon from MySweetGreens.com gives us ten tips to get your New Year started a little greener. Over the next year, we will have more tips and advice on how to live greener, so keep a look out for those in upcoming e-newsletters.
1. Go Local: One of the best ways to live a sustainable lifestyle is by going local. Finding and supporting local resources is also great for your community. Research and find local farms to support while purchasing local food. Local artisans are the perfect resource for the purchasing of home goods, personal care products, clothing, jewelry and gifts. Going local can also include utilizing public transportation, frequenting thrift shops and tag sales and vacationing in your local area. The key is to try to stay within 200 miles of your home.
2. Find a Green Energy Supplier: Switching to a green energy provider may be one of the largest impacts that you can have on the environment. Most areas have a green energy program that you can enroll in. You pay a small premium on top of your normal energy bill each month, which puts green energy on the grid. You can find Green Power providers in the U.S. here and Green Power Providers in Canada here.
3. Conserve Water: Consider taking shorter showers and choose an Eco friendly shower head. Remember to turn off the sprinklers when it is raining outside and turn the water off while brushing your teeth. If you can, reuse rainwater or gray water to care for your yard, flush your toilets or wash your car. You can also help to save water by only washing full load of dishes and laundry.
4. Eat Less Meat: You don't have to become a vegetarian or vegan to make a huge impact on the environment. You can reduce your carbon footprint by simple making more of your meals meatless. Whether you decide to cut out meat during the weekdays or become a member of the meatless Monday club - less meat equals less emissions and pollution.
5. Refuse, Refuse, Refuse: Think of how many purchases we make, simply because we can. If you ask yourself the simple question, "Do I need this item?" before every purchase, you can reduce the impact on the environment and your finances. Also, there are many other venues to consider when you do need to make a purchase, including; thrift shops, garage sales, free-cycle or even borrowing items from a friend or family member.
6. Alternative Modes of Transportation: When choosing how you get around, consider other modes of transportation besides your car. If you are traveling to school or work, can you carpool, walk, bike or catch the bus, train or subway? Can your children walk or bike to school? If you have to get out to run errands, consider grouping all of your errands into one trip, this will save you time, money and the environment will thank you too.
7. Conserve Energy: When you leave a room, flip off the light. When you aren't using your electronics, power them down and turn off the power-strip. Choose a programmable thermostat and unplug electrical items that you don't use. If you have to change a light bulb choose a CFL. If you don't have to drive your car, ride your bicycle. Think twice before you purchase a new item and again when you think of throwing something away. All of these small things can save a good amount of co2 and money.
8. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse: Consider adhering to the three R's as often as possible. Reduce your consumption of products, resources, energy and water. Recycle and reuse anything that you are able to. If you no longer have use for a particular item that can be used again, consider selling or donating it before tossing it in the trash.
9. Choose Quality Items: When you do need to make a new purchase consider quality over quantity. Choose items that are built well, are energy efficient (if it is an appliance or vehicle) and that will last a long period of time. Refuse to purchase anything that is disposable or is only good for a one time use. For items that you have to dispose of including toothbrushes and razors, choose Eco friendly versions including toothbrushes and razors where you only replace the head. Also, look for products that come in minimal, recyclable packaging.
10. Buy Local Organic: When possible, choose local, organic goods. Especially when it comes to meat, poultry, dairy, fruit, vegetables and personal care products. If there isn't a local organic version available, consider the local product first. Purchasing foods or clothing that have been shipped across the world isn't as Eco friendly as buying an item that is local.
What ways do you plan to live more sustainably in 2011?
Photo Credits: Local, Green Energy, Conserve Water, Eat Less Meat, Refuse, Transportation, Conserve Energy, 3 R's, Quality, Organic