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A Green New Year

Have you made your new years resolution(s) yet? Have you thought to add some green goals to your list? You can do your part for the environment by using and wasting less and setting an example to others around you. Simply recycling more, using less plastic and driving less are all ways to help reduce your impact on the environment.

Whatever you decide to change or add to your “greeness”, the environment will thank you for all your efforts. To get you started on your green journey or to add to it, here is a list of some green ideas that you can incorporate into your everyday life. But, don't get overwhelmed and think you have to do it all. Try adding these slowly and eventually it will become second nature!

  1. One of the easiest ways to go green and help the environment is to bring your reusables with you when you are out and about. Begin by having your own grocery and produce bags handy for impromptu shopping and slowly add other reusables to your “on the go goodie bag” such as cups and mugs; utensils; glass containers for take-out; glass straws; cloth napkins.
  2. Reduce your waste- it is not as hard as you might think. Recycling and composting can significantly reduce your waste. Bringing new life to items that would otherwise end up in the trash or recycling bin will help to decrease your garbage. If you want to go one step further, you can practice refusing items that are unnecessary such as excess packaging, plastic bags, plastic straws etc. Some good alternatives are to buy in bulk with your own reusable bags or buy a glass straw to name a few.
  3. Reduce how much plastic you consume.
  4. Ditch the nasty chemicals. Try limiting the number of toxic chemicals you bring into your home. This can vary from what you clean your home with to beauty products to the mattress you sleep on.
  5. Short and sweet: Walk and bike more, drive less.
  6. Buy local and/or organic. Purchasing organic and/or local doesn't have to be expensive. Check out farmers markets, join a CSA, or buy in bulk, and look for sales. If buying all organic is not feasible, focus on items on the dirty dozen list.
  7. Do it yourself. Why? First, it is cheaper to make your own; second, you choose the ingredients; third, it is better for you. There are so many easy, simple recipes out there.
  8. Eat more fruits and veggies. The average person consumes animal meat every day and sometimes as often as every meal. Not only is consuming meat every day not the best thing for your health, but it is not so wonderful for the environment. The United Nationsโ€™ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide which is far more than transportation. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound. With that said, have you thought to try Meatless Mondays? There are so many great plant-based recipes out there.

Most people feel overwhelmed, judged, or even guilty when they can't do it all – forgetting their reusable container or throwing a banana peel in the trash. For me, this is what I have on my new year's resolution list. Stop self-judging and feeling guilty every time I can't do it all. I have to let go and man oh man is it ever going to be hard.

I have to remember- whatever positive contribution to the environment I (we) make is better than sitting and doing nothing and hoping for the best.

Here's to a greener and happier new year!

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read day in and day out, over the last 5 1/2 months. I appreciate each and every one of you!

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