Making Earth Friendly User Friendly

>> Wednesday, July 18, 2007

As I ran this morning on a path in the woods, I was impressed with the greenery all around me. It was everywhere I looked, like a 360 degree canopy, enveloping me. While this sense of green was a great comfort in its immenseness, in life messages of green can be overwhelming.

It's all over the web. There are pesticides in the food. The air we breathe is polluted. Landfills are impossibley full of things that will never biodegrade. Our natural resources are disappearing. Global warming is actually a fact. Oh, and our drinking water is contaminated with prescription drugs. And this just scratches the surface.

It is overwhelming to consider all the alarming news. People are trying to increase awareness and create a motivation so that we will all act NOW. However, the alarmists actually cause some people to tune it all out. Maybe you know someone who has tuned it all out. Maybe you are one of those people.

Here are some easy, medium and more challenging ways to help make things better:

Easy-recycle, turn the temperature up or down two degrees, use phosphate free dishwashing detergent, turn the water off while brushing your teeth, run the dishwasher and washing machine after 7pm, use non-formaldehyde nail polish, grow toxin removing plants like ivy and peace lily, grill with natural charcoal, use plastic containers instead of zip bags, use cleaning cloths instead of paper towels whenever possible, replace bulbs with long lasting flourescent light bulbs, turn electric appliances off whenever possible, and don't leave adaptors plugged in.

Medium-buy appliances with the Energy Star, use less paper and more emails, replace your chemical cleaners with nontoxic cleaners, stop using bleach, save rainwater in closed containers to water plants and flowers, buy organic fruits/veggies, carpool, walk/bike on short trips, paint with low VOC paint, and use natural alternatives to pesticides.

More challenging-buy a hybrid or flexible fuel car or SUV, buy front loading washing machines, switch to geothermal heating and cooling, install solar panels, in construction--use hemp countertops, non-toxic wall paper paste, sunflower particle boards, try organic cotton clothes and towels, and quit smoking.

Start with some easy things that you'll hardly notice and work your way to the more challenging things. Keep this list handy so that when things in your house need updating or replacing, you will remember to expore the more earth-friendly options.

Share your stories here; we're in this together.


Anonymous November 11, 2009 at 9:19 AM  

I love the idea of making small changes and gradually adding more and more healthy/green habits into our lives!

I used to be overwhelmed and confused by all of the warnings of dangerous chemicals and end-of-the-world environmental issues in the news.

It makes a lot of sense to change behaviors the way you might start a healthy eating program- not leaping into it blindly. The first step is to educate ouselves and then make reasonable changes that can become permanent habits.