Why is it so difficult to “Go Green”?
I have read every article, book and attended multiple classes in my attempt to create a healthier lifestyle and pattern conscience/caring behaviors for my children. Weekly I seem to be “starting over”- forgetting to separate the trash or purchase Eco friendly products (sorry, Tide smells better), and not recycling the egg shells/ tea bags for my compost. But like any new change, and most things that are “good for you”, it takes practice. Developing a lifestyle opposite of how one has lived for 30+yrs will not happen over night, my advice is to start slowly. I tend to try and dive right in- clean house, make proclamation and announcement of our new changes around my house (to which everyone murmurs and groans knowing it will be a week or two of me forcing something on them they don’t like). This is also why the fall feels so hard or emotionally draining when I do not conquer and slip back into the pattern of mixing paper and plastic.
We’re taking it slow this time, no announcements, I’m not cleaning out the pantry, and I am starting with the little things. Below is a list I found helpful from the Cascade Patch (I’m loving this local news network), most of the items we do anyway, upon review I didn’t feel as bad.
20 Ways to Go Green in 2013
If your New Year’s resolution is to live a greener lifestyle, check out these 20 tips to help you stick to your plan.
If you want to be kinder to the planet and save some money at the same time, here are 20 ways to go green in 2013.
- Buy fresh, local food this summer at Truly Living Well Urban Farm in East Point.
- Have your kids make their friends birthday cards and bring gifts in decorated paper bags or a cool reusable bag. Kids love getting a handmade card—as do adults.
- Bring your own bags when you shop for groceries. (this is something I MUST work on, I am so fed up with the plastic bags)
- Shop at consignment stores and thrift stores such as The Goodwill in our neighborhood or consignment shops in other parts of the city. (I do this often but my sister works for Macy’s …so….sometimes you can’t beat the deal)
- Rip up some lawn and create new garden beds this spring, and then grow your own food this summer. Need help getting started? Stop by Truly Living Well Urban Farm, and take one of their gardening classes. Your kids will eat more veggies if they grow them themselves. (this is my yearly struggle- I start then the squirrels and I fight…they usually win)
- Dispose of your hazardous waste properly. Here is the City of Atlanta’s official plan for handling hazardous waste.
- Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm to support local, sustainable farming and enjoy fresh veggies weekly. Again, Truly Living Well has a CSA, as well as SWOOM at the Atwood Community Gardens.
- Ditch those dreaded plastic sandwich bags and get some washable containers or bags. I like ReUsies, created by two Seattle moms.
- Cut down on car trips and run your errands on your bike or on foot. Rusty on two wheels? Take a workshop at Atlanta Bike. ( I do walk a lot to Kroger- except when it rains. I don’t recall seeing a Bike Rack)
- Pack cloth napkins instead of paper towels in school lunches.
- Look for an environmental service project you can do with your children, such as removing trash and non-native plants and planting trees in their place.
- Got an older house? Install double-pane windows and you’ll see immediate savings on your heating bill.
- Plant a tree. A certified arborist can help you select and plant trees that will provide privacy and shade and even years of fresh fruit. Find a certified arborist in your area. Start at Trees Atlanta for information on local arborists and events in the area.
- Dump your bottled water costs. You could save hundreds of dollars by buying snazzy metal water bottles for everyone in the family and a personal filter for your kitchen faucet.
- Organize a Halloween costume swap in September. This can be a great service project for a Girl Scout troop. Reserve a room at the library closet to you and publicize to local parenting groups and preschools.
- Replace your old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They last 15 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. You can find bulbs at the Home Depot on Cascade.
- Expand your hand-me-down circle. Organize a clothing swap for your kids’ preschool or a group of friends. Everyone brings gently used and clean kids’ clothes to your garage and parents can take as many items as they donated. The rest goes to charity. You can also swap toys and books.
- Replace your showerheads with low-flow models. Low-flow showerheads can save you up to 15 percent on water heating costs and reduce your water usage by as much as 20,000 gallons a year.
- Save up to 30 percent on your monthly heating bills by having a home energy audit done by a professional. Info on Georgia Power’s Home Energy Audit services. (there is just too much work to be done in my old house for this to work now)
- Give service and experience gifts this year instead of stuff. Make homemade gift certificates for services and experiences that could include tech support, dinner and a movie, yard work, pet walking or babysitting, or a day of organizing support for the clutter challenged.