Everyone can turn a deeper shade of green

This blog is dedicated to all those looking to deepen their green--whether you are making a commitment to a greener lifestyle and need help taking the first steps or whether you're already a practicing tree hugger who is looking for practical advice on what steps to take next. Over the years, I've heard all the good intentions and all the excuses. I've also seen my fellow environmentalists sabotage the good intentions of others. I am making a commitment to you, dear reader, wherever you fall on the spectrum, to help you take the next steps to fulfilling your commitment to the earth, to your health, and to your well-being. Stay tuned for articles and interviews.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays and New Years Resolutions

I started writing a holiday post right around the first of November. It really gets to me that the consumerism of Christmas starts before the kids have even finished trick or treating.

Then all hell broke loose…kind of. Some changes in paid employment and important deadlines in our household, then my husband’s 70-something mother was in a car accident and as she is on the mend, my 70-something mother ends up in the ER and has surgery a few days later.  As a result, my fair readers and my rant about consumerism were demoted to the bottom of the priority list.  Everyone is mostly healthy again and life is back to normal.  I did actually get to make some homemade Christmas cookies—a favorite holiday tradition for me.  And I got to spend some time with families without having to travel during the especially crazy travel times (except that ill-planed rest stop between Atlanta and Charlotte on Black Friday).

I hope that everyone, in addition to enjoying favorite traditions and the company of family, has had a green holiday-with less waste and more creativity.  I’m sitting here looking through a green holiday pamphlet put together by Wipe Out Waste, the county’s waste reduction program and there’s a section on “resolutions for the new year.”  Most of these are tips you’ve already heard, but if we think about them as green resolutions, we might come closer to making them habit and stop thinking about them as things we know we should do, but…

So, I challenge you in the next week to pick 3 or 4 things that you can do.  Make it a resolution, then make a plan to make that resolution your new reality.  Need ideas?
  • Install water saving devices in your toilet and shower
  • Walk or bike for at least one errand each week for which you usually drive
  • Turn down your thermostat at night and when you leave for work
  • Take a reusable coffee mug or water bottle with you
  • Use biodegradable laundry soap, shampoo, etc
  • Find safer alternatives to pesticides and other household hazardous products
  • Learn to backyard compost
  • Look for products made out of recycled materials to replace some of your regular purchases
  • Eat one vegetarian dinner each week (or reduce portion sizes of meat throughout the week)
  • Dedicate at least 10% of your current spending to buying local—go beyond farmers markets and local shops if you already consume there and find local brands and vendors for other products and services you use.