Green Living is Easy - Top 5 Tips for Going Green
Going Green is Good Sense
Want to get a fresh start on your life? Save the planet? Feel good about yourself?
Sustainable living is 'the good life.' It is comfortable, affordable, has room for your dreams.
It doesn't have to be all bean sprouts and protest rallies. Sustainable simply means meeting your own needs, without sacrificing our common future.
Tip # 1: Get Outside and Play
If you do nothing else, get out of the house.
Walk the dog. Bike to work. Mail a letter. Go to the beach, or fish in the creek. Get your friends together for picnic and a game of Frisbee. Play golf. Go to a concert in the park. Watch the moon. Climb a mountain.
You'll be happier, healthier, and more powerful. You'll think more clearly, and the path to your dreams gets easier. And you'll start to sense that what's good for you is good for the planet, too.
Tip # 2: Eat Right, Marry Well, Big Picture
OK, that's 3 tips in one. But it's still good advice. Be good to yourself, and don't sweat the small stuff.
Good food in moderation, a good partner (and/or a good community), and a good sense of perspective, will go a long way.
If you don't take care of yourself, nobody else can.
When you are healthy, supported, and part of something larger than yourself, you are unstoppable.
Tip # 3: Line your Eco-Nest
Home is the place you spend the most time. Does it nourish and nurture you?
"Eco" means "home." It's where we live, and what we manage. Home is, by far, the best place to practice your eco-principles.
The Haudenosaunee have a saying: If a person calls himself a peacemaker, but does not practice peacemaking at home, then he is not a peacemaker.
Make one small change at a time, to help your home reflect your values. It could be a home improvement, new backyard habitat, or a change in cleaning or recycling habits.
Remember that it takes 6 weeks to get used to any new behavior. If it's working for your household after 40 days, keep doing it. If not, move on.
Your friends will notice. You can pick up tips from them too - even if they're not greenies, they have tricks for saving and living well. Ways to keep the dog out of the trash that you can use for your compost.
Lifestyles that don't work are not going to catch on, no matter how hard you try.
Lifestyles that work, spread.
Tip # 4: Find your Right Livelihood
Sustainable work means sustainable jobs: no running out of resources, toxic sweatshops, or making buggy whips in a hybrid-car economy.
'Green' jobs online tend to be a mixture of outdoor work, political campaigns, and regulation-compliance positions.
But your green career can be anything.
- Accounting (find eco-thrifty cost savings; track the Triple Bottom Line)
- Social work (stop the cycle of abuse & neglect, prevent crime & wasted lives),
- High tech (innovate, communicate, and propagate good solutions around the world),
- Mechanics (cleaner, more efficient machines, transport, and power sources),
- Artisan crafts, trades, and foods (local, non-toxic, re-used or recycled, lovely, and useful).
The Natural Step (www.tns.org) offers basic principles and analysis tools for 'greening' an existing business. What Color Is Your Parachute describes effective ways to research (and get hired for) a new job or career that suits your talents, interests, and location.
If your job feels like a dead end, it probably is. But that doesn't make it worthless. Do your best work, learn what you can, and research your next career move.
Sustainable work is good business.
Tip # 5: Think Globally, Act Locally
Global problems can seem overwhelming. How can a housewife in California affect oil industries in Texas and the Middle East? How can a Connecticut schoolchild save the polar bears, or coral reefs?
Sadness. Despair. Petitions for Someone to 'Do Something.'
But a Texas oil worker can prevent a spill, or improve efficiencies.
A California housewife can clean up the dog park, removing the #1 source of fecal coliform bacteria in coastal waters.
A Connecticut schoolchild can restore riverbanks and help Mom check the labels on seafood, and so can an Australian schoolchild.
Anyone can reduce our carbon footprint by shopping locally, planting trees, or using a bike.
Acting locally increases your influence, accuracy, and sophistication.
Acting locally, you see the unintended consequences of current and past efforts, and get perspective from local elders.
Acting locally, you find solutions that work for your personality, resources, community, and climate - things a politician halfway around the hemisphere can't possibly understand.
Local solutions to global problems are sensitive, diverse, and adaptable.
And they work.