The term ‘go green’ has become a banished word in recent years, simply because people are sick of hearing it. They’re tired of being told what to do and tired of the political fighting that goes on over the green movement. But the simple fact is, whether you’re left, right, or like most people, you come down somewhere in the middle, we all have to live in our environment, so we should all hold ourselves just a little more personally accountable for being good stewards of the world that surrounds us.
Regardless of what Kermit says, ‘being green’ is easier than you think. Sure, you can put in solar panels or buy a hybrid car, but the truth is that most people just plain can’t afford these things, even if they do save money in ‘the long run.’ After all, ‘the long run’ isn’t paying our bills now, right? But it really doesn’t have to cost a bunch of money to conserve a little here and there. In fact, if each of us does just a wee bit more each day to be those good stewards we should be, we would actually save money … in the long run and the short run.
Turn off lights and electronics
I’ve been hearing it since I was a kid! “If you leave the room, turn off the lights!” my mom would yell (and I do mean yell). Flicking off a switch is so elementary, but that one simple movement can save you 10 to 20 percent of your overall electricity bill. And when you leave the office on Friday afternoon, turn off your computer. It saves the company money, which means they have more money available for your next raise!
Many of us have bad reactions to the common household chemicals we use all the time. These household cleaners, such as oven cleaners and bleach, can also be dangerous if pets get a whiff of them. And of course, safer products can save you money. Try cleaning with 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar and a few drops of olive oil. Vinegar is also fantastic for getting rid of tough smells such as cat urine. Baking soda is also a wonderful natural cleaner that can be used for everything from cleaning your teeth to cleaning surfaces to freshening laundry.
Everything old really is new again
It’s so true … one person’s garbage is another’s treasure. Hit flea markets, garage sales, and Craigslist to find valuable stuff that you can recycle as something new. And you can always donate your cell phones and other electronics you may not need anymore, but someone else would welcome. ‘Cell Phones for Soldiers’ is a great place to recycle those phones.
Reacquaint yourself with the outdoors
Have you ever known somebody who lives on a farm or in a rural area? Have you noticed how much more attuned to their surroundings they seem to be? They love the outdoors, and they seem to appreciate nature a lot more than people who live in urban or even suburban areas. Just spending more time outdoors tends to make people appreciate nature and live among it better. In fact, recent studies have shown that spending more time with nature is beneficial to mental health. Try spending more time in the Great Outdoors, and you’ll be surprised how much more beholden you find yourself to it … and how much better you feel!
You don’t have to switch political parties or become a hippie to be a good steward of the environment. Try just a few of these tips, and you’ll be surprised at the positive effects on your life … and your wallet!