Friday, July 31, 2009

10 Earth Friendly Ideas

10 Earth-Friendly Ideas Easy suggestions for a greener lifestyle--and kids can help!

Concerned about the pace of climate change and its effects on the planet? We asked Beliefnet members what they were doing--in their home and community--to care for the environment. Here's a selection of the earth-friendly possibilities they came up with.

1. Recycle as a Family

10 Earth-Friendly Ideas As a family we recycle what we can. We separate out glass, plastic, cardboard, cans, and newspapers, taking it down to our recycling centre when we are passing it--no point in using the petrol to make a special journey there as that would defeat the object of the exercise! We also turn off the TV standby button, and switch off unnecessary lights, just our small bit to try to save our precious planet for our grandchildren!


2. Get Unplugged

10 Earth-Friendly Ideas Unplug! There are many, many things around the house that are plugged in and draining little bits of energy round the clock, without even being "on"--i.e., your TV/VCR/Stereo/DVD player, computer, microwave, battery charger, anything else with a constant display (clock) or some sort of programming that resets when the power goes out. Unplug them until you are ready to use them and forego the convenience of the programming if possible, or use a power strip and turn it off, thus unplugging many things at the flick of a switch (great for the entertainment center).


3. Teach Kids About Nature

10 Earth-Friendly Ideas I've always had a love affair with nature, but now that I have a child, I am spending a lot of pondering time in it. In walks to the park I feel a sense of enchantment, awakened by my daughter's wonder. We explore flowers, trees, and rocks. After our outings, I feel peaceful, connected, and refreshed. She leaves with a smile on her face and a calm that silently bonds us. I am starting to understand the deep impact nature has, and the responsibility I carry with my choices. I have recently started using environmental diapers, recycling diligently, and buying natural products.

I don't want to lose my connection to earth; and I see that in making conscious choices, I can help my daughter understand that in nourishing the earth; we are in turn nourishing ourselves.

--Healer Mother

4. Go Hybrid

10 Earth-Friendly Ideas I don't know how possible this is, but my idea is for the government to order all car manufacturers to make only hybrid cars from now on. No more cars that run on just gas. That way every person buying a new car will be buying a hybrid, and in a matter of just a few years, the percentage of hybrid cars to gas cars will be much higher.


5. Walk Lightly on the Earth

10 Earth-Friendly Ideas Lead by your life's example. If you are concerned with the effects of pollution, overconsumption, encroachment, extinction, etc., you must start by "walking lightly" on the earth. Be more aware of how your choices impact the world. Make transportation choices that consume less energy (e.g. walk, ride, public transit, carpool). Learn to distinguish what you need from what you desire, and then make intelligent choices based upon how much utility you gain. Take some of the money you save from the above exercise and use it to support groups that are making a difference.


6. Garden Naturally

10 Earth-Friendly Ideas I have five composters. The resulting compost feeds my many gardens and my decreasing patches of sod. I grow fruits and vegetables and freeze and can as much as I'm able....I don't use air-conditioning in the summer, use natural gas for heat, cooking and clothes drying in the winter (in the summer we air-dry mainly); recycle my gray water for plant watering in the summer, collect rainwater in a barrel.


7. B.Y.O. Grocery Bags

10 Earth-Friendly Ideas In our country here Down Under, there has been a movement to introduce reusable shopping bags instead of giving people the usual plastic bags for groceries. The reusable bag, which is made of some lightweight sort of fibre, costs $1.00, and you can put a lot of groceries in them. They have become very, very popular here, and it is like a badge of honour to carry one. In fact, although you can still get a plastic bag for your groceries if you want, the checkers in our supermarkets in our mall always ask customers if they wouldn't rather buy a resuable.


8. Hop on Your Bike

10 Earth-Friendly Ideas As much as possible I commute on my motorbike; 65 MPG. Speeds, even on the highway, are kept down. The car & motorbike live by the WWII adage: "Is this trip really necessary?" As much as possible I take the bicycle instead. For recreation I bicycle, sail or paddle instead of motor.


9. Clean with Green

10 Earth-Friendly Ideas I try to clean with "green" products. I noticed that many regular household cleansers were actually bringing irritants into my home. I could hardly breathe and my eyes would burn. And then once released down the drain or thrown in the trash, I realized they would wreak their own special havoc on eco-systems. So now I try to use products made by companies like Seventh Generation--or I just wash windows with vinegar and newspaper, scrub the tub with baking soda and water.


10. Eat Less Meat

10 Earth-Friendly Ideas I'm not a vegetarian (yet)...but I'm cutting back on my meat consumption and eating more organic produce. Most of the deforestation in the world is caused by fields cleared for livestock grazing. Cows' methane is a huge contributor to global warming, and the amount of resources it takes to feed one cow could grow many times more grains and vegetables. So it's not just the ethics of eating meat, but even cutting down our consumption can make a huge impact.