Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Green New Years Goals

Happy New Year Everyone! 2009 is expected to be forward-moving for "green" and the environment. So many more people are aware of what needs to happen to better protect our planet, its resources and animals, and our safety. Now, all we need is a lot of action.

Going green really starts in the home. Your children's attitudes, viewpoints, and behaviors relating to the world begin at home -- this is where the current and next generation become who they are and then branch out from there ... to the community, to work, to schools, and beyond.

So what are the PRACTICAL going-green goals you can have for 2009? Here are my suggestions:
  • EAT LESS MEAT -- Eating a diet richer in plants than in meat benefits your health and the planet – especially when you cut down on beef. This is because livestock produce gases from their bodies and manure, which surprisingly makes up 1/5th of the world’s greenhouse gases. In fact, the United Nations considers livestock one of the world’s most serious environmental problems and has reported that cattle rearing across the world contributes more greenhouse gases than all vehicle driving together. An easy tip is to simply not eat meat one or two days of the week. Instead, you can substitute with foods like beans, eggplant, tofu, eggs, or cheese -- and add lots of veggies. Eating a more plant-based diet or a partial vegetarian diet lowers most people's risk of heart disease, hypertension, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and other dangerous conditions. More about the benefits are found at the American Dietetic Association's website.

  • START A COMPOST -- If you have a backyard or not, you can compost. Certainly a backyard makes it easier, because otherwise you would have to use an indoor composting machine or be a lucky resident with a municipal composting program. Even if your community has a curbside compost pickup (which is still rare these days), then if you have a backyard opt to do your own composting -- it's better for the environment and your pocketbook not to have your city pickup and find a place to process the compost garbage; plus, you get the added benefit of using composted material as a soil amendment and mulch on your own property (a money saver!) My upcoming book has a lot of composting resources, as well as this previous blog post.

  • CLEAN WITH BAKING SODA -- Simplify your cleaning this year and look to clean most of your home with cheap baking soda. It's easy, saves money, and is non-toxic.

  • ADD LOW FLOW TO YOUR SHOWER -- As a home improvement this year (even for renters!), change out your showerhead for a low-flow showerhead. You'll save a lot of water -- and therefore save money on your water bill. And if you rent, save the old fixture to put back on when you move -- take the low-flow fixture with you.

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