Green Living

I do as much as I can to be green. By green living I mean doing the 3 r’s: reduce, reuse and recycle.

This isn’t just some fad. It’s not just an argument for frugal living. The fact is, we live on a finite planet that has finite resources. These finite resources will run out unless they are carefully managed or replenished. An all-consuming profit motive will ensure these resources run out.

Some resources, such as oil, will run out in a matter of years. Whether it’s 50 or 100 years, oil will eventually run out. So why are so many people dependent on it? Much of the use of oil in North America, for example, is to fuel cars. Unfortunately, cars are also status symbols and people are emotionally invested in their possessions. The car is invested with an almost mythical power. Listen to someone boasting about their truck or what they’d give just for the privilege of driving a luxury car and you’ll see what I mean.

I think asking questions about the use of oil is crucially important to the future of the planet. If you drive a car and if your driving is not necessary, why do you drive? Apparently it costs the average family about 4 months of their yearly income just to keep a car on the road. In other words, it’s a lot more expensive than it seems.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that many cities have been built around the car. The grid system of many major cities revolves around car use. If you choose to drive your car when you could walk or take the bus, you are choosing to use a finite resource and you are polluting the atmosphere. The real costs are not reflected in the price of gas. They will be costs reflected in the sacrifices borne by future generations who have to give up a clean environment.

I choose to ride a bike and not own a car. I have ridden a bike ever since I was a child, so it seems natural to me. When I see other people on bikes braving the dangerous car traffic, it reminds me that the future might not be so grim if people can curb their cars.

I also realize that there are choices I can make as an individual to change the world. Maybe my choice to bike won’t change anything, but I agree with Ghandi’s words to be the change you wish to see in the world. If I want people to bike, I have to bike myself.

If you don’t like soemthing, then you can, despite considerable resistance, make a personal choice to change it. Actions speak louder than words.

Here is a list of 10 green living things you can do:

1.) Reduce, reuse, recycle. Why throw it out when it can be used again? Use recycling bins or create your own recycling program. Compost organic waste if you can. I think most people realize that recycling is a good idea, but don’t forget the other 2 R’s as well.

2.) Curb the car. Bike. Bus. Even if you have to drive, bike some trips. It makes a difference, however small your trip.

3.) Eat local. Know where your food comes from. Check out the farmer’s markets.

4.) Go vegetarian. Eating less meat reduces energy consumption and the resources used to raise a cow or pig or chicken. If you have to eat meat, make sure it’s free range.

5.) Make your own stuff. DIY whenever you can. Go to the thrift shop to find stuff to reuse. Do you really have to buy it new?

6.) Reduce paper consumption and/or use recycled paper. I’m a writer so I go through a lot of paper. I have gone as paperless as I can, but I’m working on it. Read a newspaper and recycle it so someone else can enjoy it.

7.) Educate your children and the people you love. They may think you’re nuts or not support you, but make sure they understand why you’re biking or going vegetarian. Live by example.

8.) Join a cause. Find a group that believes in what you’re doing. There is strength in numbers, and there are probably a lot of people who agree with what you’re doing. Get political.

9.) Be nice to people, but also know thy enemy. Some people will purposely (or not) work against you. Do what you believe, but playing the blame game only leads to a lot of finger pointing and angry people. Focus on the positive and create good stuff rather than rant about the bad.

10.) Have fun. I think a big part of living green is enjoying it. Biking is fun! Having a yard sale with the kids and your neighbourhood brings the community together. Helping to protect the environment builds good karma.

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