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Living Green
Photo: Charles Novaes
Being environmentally consciousness is the trend these days. Fortunately, many people are realizing the disastrous effects of ignoring our environment and living wastefully, and they’re doing something about it. Things our grandparents considered every-day living are coming back under the label “going green.”

Reducing energy use and recycling whenever possible are basic steps in living green. But there are a multitude of other contributions—big and small—that you can make each day to help create a healthier environment.

Consider these suggestions from hy-vee.com for making an impact:

1. Plan a staycation. Instead of using fuel for a road trip vacation, stay close to home. Go camping and explore the natural beauty around you while hiking, fishing and canoeing.

2. Plant a tree or garden. By reducing pollutants and producing oxygen, you help fight global warming. You’ll also see reduced energy costs as your tree matures and provides natural cooling and shade. If you can grow a garden you’ll contribute to the environment by producing some of your own food.

3. Make a temperature switch. Lower the thermostat two degrees during the winter months and increase it two degrees in the summer. You probably won’t feel the difference, but the environment and your utility bill will.

4. Buy a better bulb. Lighting options have significant effects on energy efficiency. Switch to CFLs (compact fluorescent lights). CFLs use a quarter of the energy of traditional bulbs and last 8 to 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

5. Do serious recycling. Go beyond paper and plastic. Take used car batteries, antifreeze and motor oil to participating mechanics. Donate working appliances to a charitable organization. Give away old cell phones, computers and cars to charity. Recycle empty ink cartridges at local office supply stores.

A trip to the grocery store involves hundreds of decisions which can impact the environment. Bring your own reusable bags, and choose items with less packaging. When possible, purchase recycled aluminum foil or plastic wrap. It’s better than the regular kind and is produced using only one-twentieth of the energy. There is also a wide variety of organically grown foods available in most grocery stores. Purchasing organic foods helps the environment because they’re grown without artificial chemical pesticides or fertilizers.

It doesn’t take a huge amount of effort to establish the habit of living green. But when a large number of people take those steps together they create a massive impact.

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By Brenda Forbes Dickerson. Copyright © 2010 by
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