Helping the environment—this sounds like a great idea, but then you ask yourself, why? If there are billions of people on the planet, what difference am I, a single person, going to make? A friend of mine just visited Tokyo, Japan. Upon return, there was no immediate mention about what you would expect – how great the sushi was, the cute girls, or the adorable gadgets. Nope, their sole amazement in the city was how green it is. The reason? Japanese people take pride in their environment and their country. Additionally, public trash cans in Tokyo we omitted for anti-terrorism measures, and since then, the country has continued to do so because it: saves money, encourages recycling, and makes everyone more aware of their waste.
Going green is not just for the environment, it is for you too. It should be a lifestyle and not just an act of recycling a few bottles on Sunday. Ever wonder why Kermit is always so happy? Yeah, that’s right—he’s gone green, and you should too. To get you started, we are going to go over some simple ways that you can start helping yourself and helping the environment by going green.
Simple Ways to Go Green
Here are some easy ways to begin to implement a green lifestyle into your current one. Try to have as much fun with these as possible to get you excited about the concept!
Have A Green Party: A great way to bring out the fun in being environmentally friendly is to have a green party! Invite some of your friends over and use things that are all recyclable, healthy, and environmentally friendly. This will show everyone that there is no reason to cut back on the fun when attempting a new type of lifestyle. Also, Green weddings are becoming increasingly popular so if this is something that interests you, ask your wedding planner how you can make it happen.
Research: In the beginning of your going green venture, you are probably going to have a lot of questions and be looking for a lot of ways to do certain things different. That is what the internet is here for! Simply go online, do some searching, or visit your city’s website to increase your knowledge.
Plant a Garden: This is a great way to get yourself in the green spirit while practicing with your green thumb as well! Planting a garden and growing your own food can save you time, money, and gas when it comes to going out for groceries. Plus, you will be able to handle your own vegetables and fruits. If you do not have a backyard, do not worry – plenty of fruits and vegetables can be grown in pots on widow stills or balconies.
Walk or Bike: It might sound like a hassle to set aside your car during certain situations, but the overall benefits are definitely something to write home about. There are plenty of ways to go green when it comes to transportation. You can: get a bike, carpool, walk, or buy a hybrid. Being more physically active in your transportation will not just benefit the environment, but your heart will be happy as well!
H20: There are places that are experiencing droughts. Using less water can be as easy as cutting your shower time down a few minutes, or fixing the leaky faucet that you have been ignoring in your bathroom. Additionally, remember to water your lawns in the evening or wash two cars at once to keep your water consumption low.
Recycle: There are probably things that you can recycle or reuse that you had no idea you could. However, once you have made the decision to go green, you will find yourself aware of buying products that are degradable, reusable, or able to serve multiple purposes. Of course, this can be hard when you have grown up in a society that thrives on the public’s ability and want to consume. Going green will also encourage you to save money and spend in more efficient and effective ways—it is a win win!
Get Out! Going green and helping out your environment is going to want to make you spend more time in the place that you are trying so hard to take good care of. In short: go for a walk, go to a park, or visit a National Park instead of spending the weekend in a mall, movie theatre, or in a bar. Additionally, when you are in nature, pack a sack lunch and try to eat things that are as natural as possible. Nature has a bounty of offerings for you at its disposal!
Clothing: If you think we are going to encourage you to wear green clothes, do not worry – we understand that green is not flattering for everyone. However, another thing that you can do with your possession is to go through your closet and recycle some of your clothing. You can also attempt to reuse it (remember the three Rs!), and turn a sweatshirt into a short sleeve top, or a skirt into a tote bag. Get creative!
Going Green In the Workplace
At work, often times it is hard to pay attention to anything else besides your to-do list: emailing, creating spreadsheets, organizing meetings, or contacting clients. However, the next time you are at the office, take a few minutes to look around and consider how you can green-up your space. This will help to save energy and create a more healthy and environmentally-friendly work environment. Do not forget to recruit some of your co-workers too! Here are a few things that you can do at work to go green:
Computers: There are plenty of ways to conserve your computer’s energy, whether you are working on a desktop or a laptop. Here are some things you can do:
- Buy a computer with an “Energy Star” label (in the US).
- Power off your computer whenever you are not using it.
- Use energy-saving settings (ie: motor and display sleep, turn off hard-drives, and system standby or sleep)
Turn off Other Hardware: When you are not using them, unplug any power adaptors, unplug chargers (we know you are always charging your phone!), and use a power-strip.
Print Less: We know it can be easier to read things that you are holding, so here are some steps to keep one of the most worked devices in your office more environmentally friendly:
- Print in black and white.
- Print on both sides of the paper to save trees!
- Recycle ink and toner cartilages. This will also help you save money on your next ink purchase!
- Print preview what you are going to print so that you can fit more text on the page.
Go Paperless: Try your best not to have your office space or work environment stacked full of paper, catalogues, or small documents. You can do this by:
- E-mailing instead of sending notes.
- Suggesting setting up direct deposit for the company and its employees.
- Keeping important files on your computer and not on paper.
Energy: Offices are usually very well lit. To tone down the amount of energy that you are usuing for electricity in the office, here are some other ways to reduce energy usage:
- Use desk lamps with compact florescent light bulbs. This will save both energy and money on your monthly electricity bill!
- Turn off the lights in office spaces where there is nobody working.
- Keep the blinds open to allow sunlight and warmth into the room. This also can help out with improving employee mood and spirit. No one likes and drowned out dark working space with no natural energy!
Airflow: Ever wonder what you are breathing while in the office eight hours a day? Air pollution outside is bad enough, so let’s take a look at some ways that you can ensure you are breathing healthy inside your working space:
- Do not use toxic cleaning products on your desk or work equipment.
- Open your windows and take your breaks outside to breathe fresh air.
- Do not smoke in the office, and if people do, politely bring this up with management.
- Use air purifiers if necessary.
Green-Up Your Desk: No matter where you work, it is always nice to customize your space. After all, you are probably sitting or standing there for most of the day! Consider having a potted plant or flowers on your desk. Plants absorb indoor air pollution and can simply brighten up an otherwise dull space.
Recycle: Just because you are not at home does not mean you should not be recycling! Recycling is for anywhere – just make sure that you do it! There are plenty of things in the office that you can aim to recycle each day:
- Paper products
- Cardboard boxes
- Soda cans or water bottles
- Plastic or paper bags
- Ink cartilages
Now that you have the basics down on going green, be sure to take some time to sit back each day to remember why you are doing these things to keep your environment and yourself healthy. We need to be kept clean just as much as our planet does, so let’s start beautifying our world!