Tips on Going Green by “Thinking” Green
1. Know Where Your Trash Goes
Where is away?” when you throw something away. There is no “away”.
According to the EPA, the average American (you & I) produces
4.5 pounds of garbage per day. That adds up to 1,642.5 pounds per
year, and 114,975 pounds over a 70-year life span. Every day the
U.S.A. throws “away” 305 million aluminum cans, 426,000
cell phones, 27 million paper bags, 576 million plastic bottles.
Yikes! Where does it go? No place(s) you or I would like to visit.
Disposables are the bane of our society. “As long as we are
trashing the planet and trashing each other, a healthy and a holistic
and a healed world is not possible. We cannot have peace on the Earth
unless we also have peace with the Earth”. Julia Butterfly
Hill. http://www.litin.com/litineco/shop/product_info.php?products_id=96 http://www.thegreenoffice.com
Understand the “true cost” of what you are paying
According to http://www.investopedia.com, this school of thought
is on the rise as a result of the perceived need for ethical consideration
in neoclassical economic theory. However, the cost of many goods
and services that are currently affordable and often taken for
granted, could see an extreme rise in costs if their "true costs" are
For example, if one accounted for air, noise and other types of pollution
caused by the manufacturing and the use of a new car, then the price
of the new car would, by estimates, raise by over $40,000.
3. Fair Trade - Follow Your Dollar
This movement advocates the payment of a fair price as well as social
and environmental standards in areas related to the production
of a wide variety of goods. It focuses in particular on exports
from developing countries to developed countries, most notably
handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton,
wine, fresh fruit, and flowers. Fair trade's strategic intent is
to deliberately work with marginalized producers and workers in
order to help them move from a position of vulnerability to security
and economic self-sufficiency. It also aims at empowering them
to become stakeholders in their own organizations and actively
play a wider role in the global arena to achieve greater equity
in international trade. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade Ask the sales person, store clerk, manager, if they know if the
product, from food to furniture, they are selling you, is made
in a sweat shop and/or if the laborers were paid a living wage.
Let us help each other to help each other.
Put the Cap on Bottled Water and Packaging – Reduce,
A vast swath of the Pacific Ocean called the Great Pacific Garbage
twice the size of Texas, is full of a plastic stew that is entering
the food chain. Scientists say these toxins are causing obesity,
infertility...and worse. Research shows that clear plastic bottles
made of polycarbonate plastic can leach bisphenol –A (BPA)
that can lead to low sperm counts and an increased risk of breast
and prostate cancer.
Below is an article excerpted from a Blog by Mark Morford at http://www.sfgate.com
You ….toss away your little Calistoga bottle or your plastic
Safeway bag or …. old iPod case or cigarette lighter or DVD
wrapper .., and it will somehow, through a miraculous combination
of time and wind and wastefulness and the flow of nature's beautiful
eternal pulsing rhythms, wend its way 1,000 miles out to sea and
then, .., just swirl around, slowly breaking apart and poisoning
all life surrounding it and joining with the mountains of other
plastic crap spewed out from our friends and enemies and neighboring
Your plastic bottle is tossed away. Plastic bottle, along with
millions just like it, escapes out to sea, drifts and wanders and
joins a giant toxic stew of other plastic garbage sitting like
a massive island in the middle of the….. Pacific Ocean.
Time passes. …Sea birds and other large marine life ingest (and then
die from) some of the billions of bits of brightly-colored plastic floating
about, as the sun slowly breaks down the rest of the plastic bottle into its
fundamental, ultra-toxic polymer molecules. Stew thickens. And then,…..
Nature's most efficient organic filters, the sea jellies, absorb those tiny
plastic molecules into their bodies. Small fish eat the jellies. Larger fish
eat the smaller fish. Slowly, the deadly plastics, which never completely biodegrade,
amble their way back up the food chain and back into the stomachs and bloodstreams
and ecosystems of larger and larger animals until, voila, there again is your
plastic bottle, right there on your dinner plate. Officially speaking, cleaning
up the GPGP would reportedly require a massive global effort, billions of dollars
and unprecedented international cooperation and widespread admissions of pollutive
It has been estimated that over a million sea-birds and one hundred thousand
marine mammals and sea turtles are killed each year by ingestion of plastics
Carry your own reusable tote bag & reuse your produce bags (rinse, dry,
re-use). Most Packaging is not recyclable, and will outlive you, your children,
and many future generations.
Do not forget to carry your own re-usable produce bags. http://www.reusablebags.com/store/shopping-bags-produce-bags-c-2_10.html . Speak out to your markets about supplying you with re-usable bags. I carry
a Chico bag in my very small handbag. I use it often, from Macy’s (no
need to take one of their plastic bags), to food shopping. http://www.chicobag.com Stainless Steel water bottles http://www.kleenkanteen.com and http://www.sigg.com
Watch the Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard (and share with everyone
you know) http://www.storyofstuff.com
The cost of Food “A Perfect Storm” Brewing: Energy
+ Food Production http://www.earthpolicy.org/Updates/2005/Update48.htm
For every calorie of food we take in, it takes approximately 10
calories of energy from fossil fuel to produce that calorie. This
of our agricultural system’s reliance on transportation,
fertilizers, pesticides and mechanization. Become a Locavore, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_food Buy locally grown food as much as possible throughout the year.
your own garden, even if an herb garden. Fresh and local is best.
7. Offshore Drilling
Drilling would not lower prices at the gas pump but would put at risk currently
protected areas along America's coastlines including ecologically sensitive
places and world-class beaches in Florida and California. http://audobon.org/news/DrillingQuiz/quiz1.html
8. Electricity Reduction
Hook up your computer, printer, and fax machine to a single power
strip that you can switch off at night. Available at your local
hardware store. If not, ASK! Your electricity comes from a grid
which is powered by coal, nuclear, hydro, or gas. Renewable energy,
such as biomass, geothermal, wind and solar are just beginning
to emerge as clean sources of power. http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/renewable/renewable.html
Turning your thermostat down by 1 degree can save up to 10% on your
annual heating bill.
9. Water Savings
Switch to energy efficient showerheads and aerated faucets to cut
water use by as much as 50% http://www.drinktap.org and http://www.waterlegacy.com/
Install an in home or office water filter. There are many available.
Here is one example of what is out there - http://purificawater.com I recommend you ask questions and shop around. Also, in order to
reduce the amount of water you let run while your water heats up,
visit these tankless hot water heater websites for endless hot water
and lower energy bills: http://www.noritz.com , http:www.takagi.com,
10. Solar Hot Water Heating
Solar water heaters—also called solar domestic hot water systems—can
be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for your home. They
can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use—sunshine—is
11. Water Efficient Landscaping
Use native plants suited to your area. Irrigate longer but with less
frequency to encourage the growth of deep roots. Connect downspouts
to 3% to 4% perforated pipe and lay this on top of soil. Use drip
irrigation rather than sprayers.
12. High Efficiency Windows
If your windows need replacing, buy double or triple glazed units.
Double-glazing can reduce heat loss by up to 50%. http://www.neep.org/initiatives/ES_Windows.html This website also covers Energy Star Appliances, commercial and
residential high efficiency HVAC, etc.
13. Sunscreen, Lotions, Etc.
Sunscreen bleaches coral and accumulates in fish and other
aquatic life. “Almost 80% of our water in the U.S.
shows trace amounts of chemicals from personal care products,
which could be sunscreens,
lotions, colognes or medications,” according to http://www.Baykeeper.org an environmental watchdog group. 4-Mbc has been detected in human
breast milk, and can alter reproductive function. Be on the lookout
for benzophenone, homosalate and octyl methozycinnamate. Products
with no chemical additives and natural ingredients include Alba
Botanica, Burt’s bees, Avalon, and more, found at natural
food stores and some drug stores. Visit http://www.cosmeticsdadabase.com, www.teensforsafecosmetics.org and http://www.bodyburden.org for
more information. Knowledge is power!
14. Bar-b-que: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Use low smoke charcoal without added filters or chemicals. www.cowboycharcoal.com and petroleum free charcoal starter www.realgoods.com AND/OR ask
your local store to carry such products. Discover what your ecological
footprint is by visiting http://www.redefiningprogress.org
Clean Green & Read Your Labels
Can you pronounce the names of the ingredients in the products
you purchase? Will they break down in time or live for thousands
years in a dump/aka landfill? Stop buying household/office cleaners
that are potentially toxic to both you and the environment. David
Steinman, author of "The Safe Shopper's Bible," suggests
reading labels for specific, eco-friendly ingredients that also
perform effectively. These include grain alcohol instead of toxic
butyl cellosolve, commonly found in carpet cleaner and some window
cleaners as a solvent; coconut or other plant oils rather than
petroleum in detergents; and plant-oil disinfectants such as eucalyptus,
rosemary or sage rather than triclosan, an antifungal agent found
in soaps and deodorant. Or, make your own cleaning products and
save some money. Use basic ingredients such as plain soap, water,
baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), vinegar, washing soda (sodium
carbonate), lemon juice and borax. Two useful books on the subject
are by Annie Bertold-Bond : "Clean and Green" and "Better
Basics for the Home." “The Better World Shopping Guide” by
Ellis Jones is a must. I chose my new Cell phone made by Sony based
on the rating system in this book. Companies are rated from A – F
based on the company’s overall Social and Environmental
Records. This is a great website for vinegar use: http://www.vinegartips.com
Bedding, mattresses, pajamas, made of materials (synthetics)
that do not breathe end up costing us dearly. Our bodies
and heal at night while we sleep. This natural process is imperative
to our health. We stifle this process and sweat in our beds,
tossing and turning, breathing toxic fumes, for 1/3 of
our lives. We develop
respiratory problems and allergies and we do not know why. Indoor
air quality in the bedroom is key to a good night sleep. Your
bed is the one place on which you place your entire body,
to toe. You are literally breathing in your bed. No other piece
of furniture is this intimate. You need to rest and breathe.
A natural mattress breathes. It does not contain polyurethane,
petroleum based product. Traditional bedding contains synthetic
materials such as formaldehyde and arsenic. The off gassing from
these beds lasts for years, and has been known to create health
problems such as asthma, sore backs, and chemical sensitivity,
which reduce the quality of a good night’s sleep. Rather
than soak a mattress in flame retardant, a layer of natural wool
is placed between the core of the mattress and the mattress cover.
This use of wool passes Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
open-flame standard, recently published as 16 CFR 1633 http://www.vivetique.com.
Since you spend 100 days a year in your bed, this is a piece
of furniture to be chosen with great consideration. Visit http://www.coyuchi.com for information on cotton.
17. Importance of Indoor Environmental Quality
Americans spend an average of 90% of their time indoors,
where levels of pollutants may be two – five times – and occasionally
more than 100 times – higher than outdoor levels according
to the U.S. EPA. “Most of a person’s daily exposure
to many air pollutants comes through inhalation of indoor air.
Many of these pollutants can cause health reactions in the estimated
17 million Americans who suffer from asthma and 40 million who
have allergies, thus contributing to millions of days absent from
school and work.” World Health Organization, 1999 Air Quality
18. Become a Global Citizen
Global citizenship is people all over the world working together
everyday making the world a better place. (Wikipedia)
19. Facts Resource
http://www.oberlin.edu/recycle/facts.html Facts are organized by
category: water, energy, paper, metal, aluminum cans, glass, plastic,
styrofoam, steel, junk mail, garbage, tires, food, and miscellaneous
20. Bonus Point
Have SMART GOALS, which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic,
Timely. Allow me to help you achieve those goals, as your Consultant
for Transformative Thinking and Green Living.