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7 Easy Things (and 2 Tough Ones) To Help the Environment

Posted by sdrury on November 21, 2009

1. When you go shopping bring a re-usable shopping bag. They only cost a dollar or so, but they are large and extremely durable. I’ve had mine for over two years. Some stores even give you a few cents off when you bring your own bag.

2. Where possible, go to paperless billing. It’s easy to track and you can look up all your statements online.

3. Get two boxes. Put your paper and cardboard in one and your plastics in the other.

4. Buy your produce at a local farmer’s market. The average piece of produce travels 1500 miles which is bad for the environment and raise costs. The produce you buy at a local farmer’s market will not only be fresher it will also help your local economy. That’s called a win-win. Think there’s not one near you? Check www.localharvest.org and you’ll find that there probably is. And remember local and organic is great, but if you have to choose between local or organic, local is always preferable.

5. Use compact flourescent light bulbs (CFLs). Anybody who’s seen An Inconvenient Truth knows this, but in case you haven’t, be advised that CFLs cost more but they last far longer than the previous generation of light bulbs.

6. Invest in a socially conscious, environmental mutual fund. There’s too many to list and picking one over another would be an endorsement that I’m not qualified to make. What I am qualified to say is that the ROI on many of these meets or exceeds the typical fund. Make money and help the planet. Win-win anyone?

7. Use that travel mug. Whether it’s filled with coffee, tea, water or other, more consciousness-altering fluids, you’ll limit your contribution to the mountains of styrofoam plaguing the planet. And, drinking anything out of styrofroam is gross.

And the tough ones.

8. Starting today, stop eating either chicken, turkey, beef, or pork. Start with one, it’s not hard. That’s what I did. The CO2 emissions from livestock are greater than the emissions from ALL forms of travel. Seriously. There’s that much meat on the planet. Let me help you. If you have a pet imagine it as someone’s snack. The superiority you think your dog or cat has over a pig, for example, is purely imagined. The only difference between your pet and a pig is that no one cared about the pig enough to give it a name.

9. And maybe the hardest. Drive less. The stuff that blows out of your exhaust is bad, bad, bad. Digging into the earth with massive tools to extract oil is expensive and damaging to the earth. It will only get more expensive and more damaging. Walk, bike or carpool. This is easier in urban areas. In the suburbs it’s a challenge. I live in Greenville, South Carolina, hardly a metropolis, but I can walk or bike most places. The only places I can’t are retail outlets. I suspect that’s true for a lot of people. So, when you go shopping do it all in one trip. But, walk whenever possible. It’s astonishing how much you can learn about even those who are closest to you when you walk with them for 30 or 45 minutes.

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