I’ve heard so many people say that it’s impossible to be green in this economy; it simply costs too much money. To which, I can only respond: “…” See, the truth is, being green can actually save you a lot of money. Yes, buying a hybrid vehicle and installing solar panels is crazy expensive, but look at all these other ways you can save the planet that won’t cost a thing!
– Wash your clothes in cold water. I promise you, it gets the job done just as well.
– Dry your clothes on a clothesline, if you have the space.
– Skip the heated dry on your dishwasher. Besides, you’ll be able to put your dishes away sooner, as you’ll actually be able to touch them.
– Stop buying bottled water. If your water is safe, recycle an old glass juice bottle and fill ‘er up that way.
– Drink water instead of pop!
– Have a sunny window? Grow some of your own vegetables. Replace those ferns for fresh herbs.
– Take your own cup to Starbucks. You’ll even save 10¢!
– Skip Starbucks and make your coffee at home.
– Explore what’s around town, instead of wasting gas getting to that mall or attraction half an hour away. You’ll support your local economy, which helps stop urban sprawl. You might be surprised – things might be cheaper around home than in the high-class suburb!
– Re-use all those flyers sent home for non-essential printing. So the recipe you found is bright yellow and has the lunch menu on the other side – who cares? Save the fresh white paper for final drafts of papers and things.
– Let the grass grow a little bit longer before you cut it. Go a week and a half instead of doing it every week – I mean, if the length of your lawn in comparison to your neighbors is so very important, maybe it’s time to take a good look at your life and figure out your priorities.
– Trade your gas guzzling lawn mover for a manual lawn mower instead. You’ll get a great workout, too!
– Buy local, in-season produce instead of spending $4.99 a pound for out of season tomatoes.
– Recycle everything that you can – which is pretty much everything. It’s green and doesn’t cost you anything!
– Compost if you have the space. Some places around the country will even collect your organic garbage.
– Walk or bike to your destination – you’ll save on gas and burn off some calories!
– Check out events around town – places like your library, coffee shop, local restaurant, museum, Y, university… they’re usually free (or nearly) and open to the public! Coffee shops and restaurants often have poetry nights and musicians; libraries, museums, and universities often have special guests to talk about the latest and greatest. Many university schools of music have free (or very cheap) concerts from awesome, aspiring musicians.
– Turn off the lights!
– Forgo plastic and paper cups, plates, and flatware in favor of the washable kind.
– Go for recycled paper towels and napkins.
– Take a cooking class at your community center and learn how easy it is to cook many of the things you order at a restaurant! Things like chicken breasts, spaghetti, lasagna, french fries, fish, stir-fry, hamburgers – they’re easy to make, even from scratch! Save going to the restaurant for truly special occassions – and when you do go, make it local and not a chain.
– Visit your library for cookbooks to borrow – the one where I work literally has hundreds to choose from!
– Plug appliances into a power strip, and then turn that off when you’re not using them. You lose energy from those toasters and coffee makers even if they aren’t on!
I think a lot of people misunderstand the Green movement. It’s not just a way to get our greenhouse emissions down and be independent from foreign oil. Think how much better we’d be as a society if we stopped urban sprawl. If we supported our local economies and helped re-grow those towns and cities that have been affected by changing industries. If we walked and biked around town instead of relying on our cars – the air would be cleaner, and we as a nation would be healthier. We’d be a happier, healthier people, instead of the angry, hurried, stressed mass that we are now.
Have other ideas? Leave ’em in the comments!