What to do in 2016?
Bring on the Green!
by Amy Lignor
As Christmas departs, some are left with a White Christmas that never happens (AKA: Snow in Roswell, NM? What?) And, soon, the next holiday will be upon us all. The clock will count down the last ten seconds, a mighty ball will fall, and we will cheer for the incoming year of 2016. All colors of fireworks will be shot into the sky, and one of those colors (green) should hit a chord within the minds of millions. In other words, they should realize that the slate is wiped clean on January 1st, 2016, and those who have not yet hopped aboard the “green” recycling train can do just that.
Yes, the New Year can become one of the best and brightest years for everyone, as they save energy, clean the environment, and realize that even doing the most minor of things can allow the planet to live a whole lot longer. The biggest resolution will most likely be that old “losing weight” theory that everyone wishes they can keep longer than they do. But what should be a very close second is finding ways to save the world for the next generation to come. And, yes, there are extremely easy ways to do just that. Another benefit? All of these save you cash.
So you wish to erase carbon footprints? Leave bottled water in the stores. Using an at-home filtering pitcher goes toward erasing the 1.5 million barrels of oil that is used to make plastic water bottles (yup, that much). Oil and water should not mix, so take oil out of the equation. Add in a reusable bottle for the on-the-go situations and you will always be prepared. The money saved? Depending on the brand you constantly buy, you will be saving anywhere from $800-$1500 a year along with saving the planet.
Stop with the Starbucks. Now, everyone knows Starbucks will not go out of business, nor will other merchants who sell coffee in those cups (with sleeves, mind you), that are thrown out each and every day overflowing landfills. An insulated mug with perhaps a coffee brand that supports our very own farmers saves the environment by reducing all that waste.
This one green idea has caught on and grown over the years, yet some still seem to forget that you need to use those reusable bags. After all, that’s what they’re there for. One million+ plastic bags are being thrown in the trash (per minute, by the way). Taking your reusable bags with you to the store, however, is the easiest and most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. So, remember, when you get back from the store and unpack everything, put the bags back into the car. That way, you never forget them.
Put together resolution one and two and get some exercise while saving the planet by taking the bike instead of the car for those short jaunts. You don’t have to be a super-lover-of-the-workout to do this; you can literally be lazy, if you want to. Those short trips, like picking up milk at the grocery store or meeting friends in the area for coffee – any trip that’s one or two miles at most, by using the bike, will save money on gas and provide a workout for you to increase your own better health. If you don’t have a bike, here’s a thought: walk.
No one says meat eaters have to turn into broccoli eaters. But what about taking meat out of your family’s diet for just two days a week? This will decrease your personal carbon footprint by about one-third of a ton, and meat-free meals are most definitely just as good. Don’t shake the head. What about pancakes, soups, veggie pizzas…and the list goes on.
And when it comes to really hitting big and erasing a whole lot of your carbon footprint, look at your technology. No. You don’t need to grab your cell phone and hold it to your chest as if someone is about to say throw it out. What I mean is that it takes less than a second for you to unplug the charger for your cell phone, but most don’t bother as they run out the door. There are power strips, people, for everything in your household. Just by plugging that charger into a power strip along with your TV, DVD player and even stereo, you will have a timer that will automatically shut them off overnight – taking care of that energy loss if you just happen to forget to unplug. The energy bill coming into your home will be cut as much as 10% per year, and you won’t have to do anything to achieve it.
Last but not least sounds like a much larger project, but worth it when it comes to saving massive amounts of cash. Switch to green power in your home. However, you do not have to make this a super-huge project. No solar panels have to be attached to the side of your home. Why not just call your local energy company and ask about “renewable options.” They will have some, and you will feel better about jumping aboard that “green” train that, in 2016, will hopefully become packed with passengers.
Happy New Year, Everyone!