So what are some ways to incorporate ‘green’ into your life? Easy ways? I have a few ideas:
Number One: Purchase used.
By now we are all familiar with the mantra of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This does not mean that if you need a yellow tank top you have to shop every yard sale and thrift store until you find one. Go to Wal Mart. The gas you save will make that a greener choice. BUT if you just need shorts then shopping used is a great way to go.
Buying used does not mean buying worn out junk. It does mean that sometimes you have to be willing to wait until you find just the thing you need and that you probably have to be somewhat flexible. There are many places to shop for reusable items, not just yard sales and thrift stores. Try consignment shops, antique stores and the classified ads. In my area, as in most US cities, we have a trader publication where individuals can sell their used goods. Craigs List is also a great place to find things that are being rehomed.
Number Two: Grow some of your own food and try to purchase as much as you can locally. This is not as difficult as it sounds. It saves petroleum, time and gets you tastier food while boosting your local economy.
Every neighborhood has someone who is growing tomatoes. Offer to buy a few or trade for them.
You would be surprised to find out how simple it is to keep a chicken or two, even in the suburbs, if you don’t have a rooster around to notify the neighbors. No, hens do not need a rooster in order to lay eggs. They lay them regardless of whether they are fertilized or not. A movable chicken tractor is like a coop on wheels, very easy to move, lightweight, and eco-friendly. It keeps your hens confined while also allowing them to eat green grass, aerate and fertilize your yard. What could be better? Fresh eggs are amazing–the yolks stand up and are bright orange-yellow, not the pale color of store boughten eggs.
You might work out a deal with a friend who loves your spaghetti and who makes great chicken pot pies to trade premade versions of these (or whatever) items. Use glass or ceramic containers and return them.
Most places have farmers markets. Saturday mornings are the best time to shop them because the produce is fresh and in stock. The real payoff is in flavor and can make going back to Green Giant produce difficult…and tasteless.
Buy your beef by the half and from a local grower. Buy your shrimp from the guy in the rickety pickup truck with the umbrella and coolers full of fresh-caught seafood who sets up on the corner every afternoon.
These things sound like more work but really, it cuts a lot of time and effort from grocery shopping when you do it on the fly like this. It also keeps your consumer food dollars in your local economy.
Stock up on things you use a lot of when they are in season. Last year we bought 6-dozen ears of local corn. We put it in the freezer unshucked and brought it out to grill or to thaw and cut off the cob as needed. It is the best frozen corn I’ve ever eaten and is close to being as good as fresh. We also picked a lot of local, chemical-free strawberries. We made jam with demerara sugar, Sure-Jell and lemon juice. It’s great on ice cream, pancakes and sandwiches and the feeling of satisfaction is immense.
Number Three: Quit buying stuff.
Seriously. Couldn’t you just keep using that toilet brush if you gave it a good dunk in some bleach and a day in the sunshine? Couldn’t you wear those same jeans this year, even though they came with last year’s clothing purchases? Can’t you keep on driving the same car even though it’s not as cool as your friend’s new Prius? Really. You could. Stop shopping. This is one of the simplest, absolutely the least time-consuming (in fact, it’s time creating) way to Go Green.
Instead sit down and read a book, play with your nephew or call your mom (on a land line!) Put the money you would have spent into a savings account of some sort and keep adding to it. Eventually you’ll have enough money to do something fantastic and so much less clutter in your life.
Consumer culture is one of the ills our society is suffering from, in my opinion. You cannot create health and happiness by purchasing…anything! There is absolutely nothing that you can buy with money that will make the normal, well-fed American life better. Kitchen gadgets to automobiles and boats, buy them all up and you still won’t have found the Key to Happiness. It’s somewhere else. Try looking in the woods or on the beach. You might find it volunteering at a Clean the Bay Day. You may find it somewhere you don’t have to pay an entrance fee for.
Give it a shot.