Living Green --- Use your head

Using your Head

So you've decided to start leading a "Greener" life. Whether it was to save money, the planet, or both you should keep a few things in mind. You have to have a plan and take your time. If you do this right it will change many things in your life. Mostly for the better. If you don't take your time you could waste a lot of time and money. You could also wind up very unhappy. For example, don't go out and buy all the latest greatest "green" products out there. Some don't work or don't work the way you wanted them to. With this little page I hope to present a solid outline or frame work on how to go about making these "Green" changes in your life. Please share with me what has worked, or not worked, and why. Your comments will only help everyone who reads this page.

Good Luck!!!

What to do first.

The first thing you should do is choose one topic to work on. Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to do to much all at once and wind up scattered in 10 different directions. Some areas you can look into are:

1. Changing your impact through your gas/electric usage.

2. Changing your impact through your car usage.

3. Changing your carbon footprint.

4. Changing your impact through your diet.

5. Changing your impact through how you clean everything in your house.

6.  Change your impact through how you use water.

7.  Change your impact through how you garden and or landscape.

9. If you are building or renovating a house you can build it "Greener".

8. Recycling.

10. Changing your impact by using your purchasing power.

11. Giving your time and/or money to Green organizations.

12. Trying to change laws or create new laws that will make our society "Greener" with letter writing campaigns to our elected officials.

13. Trying to change how companies impact the earth with letter writing campaign's

14. Educating others on "Green" issues.

What to do once you have picked your topic.

So you've decide where you want to make a change, now what? You have to research, take notes, and write down a plan of action. This is so important. Read everything you can get your hands on about your subject. Go to the library for books, magazines, and newspapers. Try not to buy any books until you've been able to look at them enough to judge them as useful. Go online to look at websites, blogs, chats, etc. Know what you are getting yourself into to help protect yourself from scams and products that just don't work. I once bought laundry detergent that was "good" for the environment. I used it for months. Slowly all my cloths turned dull and the lighter ones turned grey and dingy. I found out that the product did not have any ingredients to keep your cloths bright. Not only did I waste my money on a product, I was unhappy. To add insult to injury I had failed in what I was trying to do. Having to prematurely buy new cloths didn't help the environment very much.

Some of the things you will choose to do will not require you to really buy anything. The "change" will be a change in your daily routine and/or habits. If you really want these changes to take hold in your life do a few at a time. Spend enough time with each one so it will become a habit in your life. Move on to other changes slowly. After a few weeks if something is just not working for you, stop doing it. It will happen. You can always try to pick it up again later. Driving yourself to frustration or unhappiness will only have a negative impact on your life. This could make you stop trying to live green.

The changes you make that require you to spend money can be a little harder. If you just want to buy a few cloth bags for shopping I don't think you'll get into to much trouble. If your installing new windows in your house, doing research is crucial. Don't rely on just your contractor. Research the subject yourself. That way when a contractor comes out to talk to you about a product, you can have an educated discussion with him. You also are more likely to see if he is misleading or just out right lying to you about his products and services.

So, use your head when you are trying to make these changes. Although each person can make a difference, your still only one person. Make decisions based on issues important to you, your lifestyle, and your wallet. Going green is no place to keep up with the Jones.

Parting Thought

One last thing I would like to address as a good example of using your head is saving money and the planet by owning a more environmentally friendly vehicle, please do a lot of research. You could do more harm especially to your wallet. For example, did you buy a larger SUV a year or two before all the gas crunch problems? Now you think getting rid of it would help your wallet with lower gas consumption. Most likely not. If you have a newer SUV say a 2006 or 2007 what did it cost you? $40,000.00 or $50,000.00? How much could you realistically get for it now? How much will you spend to buy a brand new electric car or other fuel efficient vehicle that is probably in high demand? If you bought the SUV because you really needed the room for your family or hobby you enjoy, a car might not be big enough for your needs. You should also find out about the down side of any of these new technologies that are coming out. How much does it really cost to run the vehicle? Are there any "new" maintenance issues? How much does it cost to maintain? What are the safety ratings? On the other hand if you have an older SUV and were thinking of getting something new in the next year or two anyway you still need to research the above points and check other things like if your vehicle qualifies for the government rebate plan. Crunching the numbers and doing ALL the research will help you make the very important decision of when to switch to a completely different type of vehicle..

Even though it might not be financially sound to trade in that gas guzzler right now there are a few other things to consider.  Can you walk to a bus or train station to commute to work?  Can you drive just a few miles away to a stop to commute?  This way you can drastically cut down on your daily mileage.  Even if you used mass transit a few times a week it could help.  Do your homework and see just how much mass transit cost first.  If you can think of any other ideas let me know.

Are You Going to Live "Greener" Now?

  • Yes
  • No
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Things to Avoid

1. Buying before doing research.

2. Buying something you really don't want or need just because it is "Green".

3. Doing to much at once.

4. Sticking with a change that you hate.

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