Size Six: Easy ways to go green

Filed under: In The News

Many people complain that going green is an expensive proposition. But the cost of inaction is much higher -- affecting your family's health and the world we live in. Admittedly, some things, like buying all organic food, would add hundreds of dollars to your annual budget. It's not for everyone. Here are six things that anyone can do to help the globe.

1. Think before you buy.
In a quest for convenience, we've become a disposable society. Sure, that Swiffer is really good at picking up cat hairs, but what happens when you toss that sheet out? Taking a moment in the store to consider the trash you will make by buying something will help you to make smarter choices.

2. Make your own cleaning products. I have sworn by this for the past 6 years -- ever since my cat started foaming at the mouth after licking a toxic cleaning product-soaked sponge. Here are some great recipes for keeping your house clean and your kids safe.

3. Take bags to the grocery store.
Whether it's the never-ending pile of plastic bags from stores, a reusable plastic bin, portable cart or some canvas bags, bringing your own to the store is an easy way to go green. Everyone from small towns to big cities are passing laws banning these carbon-emitting baddies.

4. Go "veggie" once a week. Cutting out meat for at least one meal a week can greatly reduce worldwide energy consumption. Raising livestock uses more energy than growing veggies, and I won't even get into the carbon that a cow's butt releases.

5. Support your local farmers.
In their new book, The 100-Mile Diet, Alissa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon estimate that by the time we sit down to dinner, from farm to plate our food has traveled an average of 1500 miles! Make the most of seasonal ingredients and farmer's markets. Read labels and use common sense.

6. Change a light bulb.
Switching to CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs) may seem expensive, but they last up to 10 times longer than conventional bulbs and save 2/3 more energy. According to the ENERGY STAR website: If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars. Now how easy is that?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.