Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Baby Step Your Way to a Greener Lifestyle

Many people get discouraged when they start thinking of making changes in their day in order to become more environmentally responsible. We moms are already busy and many of us feel stressed out and tired. The thought of adding something new to the routine is overwhelming. That, coupled with discouraging reports from the media that claim it all doesn't matter, can cause many a mom to just give up. Yet I think most of us have a nagging sense that we're going to be forced to change at some point in the future. We're all concerned about what kind of air, soil and water our kids are going to inherit.

My feelings on the matter are this: Baby Step it.
There are plenty of changes you can implement, one at a time that add up to a big difference over time. And the changes build on themselves. Isn't it true that once we start a new routine, it seems like a big deal at first, but then we hardly notice it? Here are some ideas of things you can do right now to Baby Step your way to a greener life. I'll borrow the Three R's to illustrate.

1) ReplaceAs I mentioned, going green doesn't mean going out and buying all new stuff. While hemp t shirts are all well and good, throwing out your kid's wardrobe isn't exactly eco friendly. Neither is selling your perfectly good car to buy a hybrid. Think in terms of replacing stuff as it wears out with a better alternative. As an example, I had family in town last week an with the hustle and bustle and extra bodies, I managed to lose the charger to my cellphone. Instead of replacing it with another plug in charger, I'm buying a solar charger. As your lightbulbs die out, replace them with CFLs or LEDs. The next time you have to repaint your home, choose No VOC paints. When your favorite cleaning product wears out, keep the bottles and the all purpose dilutable cleaner from the Clorox Green Works line. It's inexpensive and very effective. I use it for everything from kitchen counters and toilets to mopping the floor.

2) RemindPutting reminders on your calender. For example, put "check tire pressure" on your calendar once a month. You'll burn less gas and save money too. What about reminding yourself to make a once a week trip to the recycling center instead of letting your recyclables pile up, tempting you to toss them instead? You can also do a yearly check up of your home: see if any of your toilets or faucets are leaking water, and check the seals on your refrigerator.

3) RethinkPart of going green is giving a little more mindfulness about your day to day decisions, especially about what you bring into your home. For instance, if you're planning a party, do you have to buy disposable plates and napkins? Why not use cloth napkins and real plates instead? They're far more elegant. When your computer wears out, instead of just tossing it, take it to Staples and have them recycle it. Or have a tech savvy teenager sell the parts on eBay.
I did this once and made almost as much money on the parts as the computer cost new!

Keeping these 3 principles in mind will help you "baby step" your way to a greener lifestyle. Making gradual changes that stick is the ticket here. Enjoy the process!

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