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The Greener Side of Living

The Greener Side of Living
Five Helpful ways to go Green Without Breaking the Bank.

All the cool kids are doing it.

Brad M_profileHow can we help our kids stay on the Greener side of living? There is a long list throughout history of trends that are, well, regrettable at best (cue images of guys with massive sideburns dancing on roller-skates).  Trends can certainly be a scary thing, especially if they are dangerous to the well-being of society.  Not saying disco was detrimental to society or anything, but bigger trends that use massive amounts of natural resources can be,  like a sport where people drive environmentally unregulated cars at gratuitous speeds for at least a couple hours at a time. (Sorry NASCAR fans)

Let’s talk about one of the newest trends, “going green”.

In all reality, the general American public has been doing it since forever.  Did your grandmother ever tell you, “back in my day we used something just once and then threw it away” or “It didn’t matter that school was only 2 blocks away, we drove!”?  I’m guessing not.  In fact, au contraire .  So your awesome grandparents were going green way before you were born, but now it has become a thing that people consciously work at doing and has a presence in media.  Perhaps a sign of our privilege?  Who knows.  Either way, workplaces give incentives for it, you’ll fit in with the hipster crowd really well if you do it, hell you even get tax breaks from the government for it.

Going green is a trend that couldn’t have hit the scene at a more crucial time for our planet.  You want to join the revolution, but it’s so difficult and expensive, right?  WRONG!  Here are five quick and easy ways to help:

 1. Recycle

I know…DUH!, right?  It is a practice that has still not been adopted by everyone, but is slowly becoming the norm.  It is as easy as tossing something in a bin 6 inches to left of the other bin.  It doesn’t cost you a thing, and when you do it you are helping to reduce pollution and use of resources.  For instance, if you recycled only glass, you would be helping related air pollution be reduced by 20%, and related water pollution by 50%!  It takes resources and production efforts to make new glass products so why not use the ones that already exist?

2. No meat Mondays

Trust me, this one makes me cringe too.  I have German ancestry and am originally from the Midwest, meat-eating is just in my DNA.  However, even one pound of beef not eaten is at least 2500 gallons of water not used.  That’s right, it can take 2500 gallons or more to produce one single pound of beef, and we’re all pretty privy to America’s water problems.  Not to mention, the land use and methane production along with inhumane farming practices are always good reasons to not support big beef for at least one day out of the week.

3. Get your own cup

Millions of pounds of water bottles and foam coffee cups end up in landfills every year.  They don’t disappear just because they are out of your sight.  Plastic and foam take millions of years to decompose and contain chemicals that not only damage the ecosystem, but hurt you as you drink out of them.  Science has recently shown that these products, especially when heated, release deadly carcinogens. YUCK.  Do yourself and nature a favor and get a reusable, BPA-free bottle or coffee mug.  Refilling a water bottle will save you a lot of money when you stop buying those big packs of “Mountain Fresh Spring Love” water; and lets be honest, we all know most of those bottled waters are filtered the same exact way you can filter from home.

4. E-everything

From bills to bank statements, it can all be done via internet.  Some banks will even reward you or donate to some organization on your behalf.  DO IT!  It is typically free and if every American paid their bills online we could save over 18 million trees (per year), and prevent over 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other gasses from entering the system *cough cough*.

5.  Hand it down

Just like your grandparents, use and reuse.  Similar to recycling your garbage, handing things down like articles of clothing or furniture reduces pollution and use of resources that go along with making new products.  An added benefit is simple human kindness.  Think of the person who may be less fortunate than you that you are giving free stuff to.  Maybe your donation is giving someone a job (if you donate to places like Goodwill).  Things like that are becoming a trendy thing all their own nowadays anyway.  I know quite a few people who enjoy taking old styles and revamping them to a modern theme.  Garbage is only garbage if you allow it to be…or if it is stinky and nasty and nobody in their right mind would want it in or around their home, then you have my blessing to toss it.

So there we have it, five simple, and pretty much free, ways to be trendy and join the revolution.  So now you can go to the disco wearing your awesome hand-me-downs, drinking out of your reusable water bottle, after you’ve just eaten a salad.  Right after you pay your bills online obviously.  GO GREEN!  Your grandparents will be impressed, and your children and grandchildren will thank you.

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