Here’s another installment in my “Towards a More Perfect Union” series. Click here to read the first one. The purpose of this series is to figure out ways that you and I can help President Barack Obama get the country on a more prosperous path. The task seems a bit daunting, but once you think about all the little ways you can help, the overwhelming feeling melts away a bit.
GOAL: Being Green
REASON: History has taught us that depending on unstable, oil-rich countries can be a very costly venture (in dollars and lives) and there’s something we can do about it! We wouldn’t have to worry about “stabilizing” (aka occupying) far-flung countries so often if we used less non-renewable energy. If we use less non-renewable energy,we will not be at the mercy of ruthless dictators at the gas pump and hence we will be contributing to a cleaner, more peaceful world. Plus, a lot of green stuff is also cost effective. Bonus! Obviously doing your part to be green will not magically usher in an era of world peace and perfection, but being green is the right thing to do and every little bit helps.
Rock re-usable stuff instead of plastic
Shopping bags, water bottles and other common plastic items use a ton of non-renewable energy to create them and they stick around forever in landfills. A really easy way to be green in that arena is to buy re-usable items like canvas totes and thermos bottles that you can wash and re-use instead of just throw away. Plus, there are some really cute shopping totes out there. I bought one from the Container Store that I use all the time. Of course there will be times when you can’t avoid using plastic shopping bags, but you can tremendously cut down on your collection. Think about all those quick drugstore trips and the trips to the mall (ugh) for a couple pairs of jeans. The bag I bought has useful pockets and zippers, so I don’t even need to carry a purse. I just put my wallet and keys and everything in my shopping bag. I love it. Try it and see if it works for you.
Walk/Bike Instead of Drive
I live in NYC, so I have the luxury of not owning a car. Many of you live in places where public transportation is not as abundant, so you have to cough up the dough to own and maintain a vehicle to get you from Point A to Point B. If you have to hop on the expressway for 20 minutes eachway to get to work, you probably don’t have a choice, but to drive. But for those other little trips (store, park, neighbor, etc) try keeping the car in the garage. It’ll feel good to get some fresh air, you’ll be doing your body a favor and you’ll save money in gas. There’s really no downside. All you have to do is do it. Let’s go!
Captain Obvious says that one way to be green is to recycle. Unfortunately, not every city has a recycling program that will pick up your recyclables from the curb, but despair not. You can recycle on your own. You could re-use gift bags and boxes for storage. Instead of throwing away mistakes from the printer, re-use that paper for small printing jobs at home. Do you still buy actual newspapers? Instead of throwing them out, you could cut them up and use that instead of tissue paper for padding gift boxes. Newspaper also works great for cleaning glass. I use a water/vinegar combination on the glass in our house and crumpled up newspaper does a great job for a streak-free shine.
So, you get the idea. There’s a lot you can do to be green(ish). Sometimes it’s hard to do these little things though because we get so set into our comfort zones. But if you keep doing the same thing everyday, you’ll always get the same result, right? So, think outside of the box and help yourself, your president and the planet.