Green Living - Earth Friendly Behaviors
for a Sustainable Lifestyle

By Louise Hodges

'Living Green': a great and admirable goal. Yet it is somewhat overwhelming when you aren't quite sure where to start. The ultimate destination is to live sustainably. Do not create trash, do not waste resources, and do not harm the planet. Although we all conceivably aspire to these mantras, it is easy to get caught up in the lure of instant gratification, time saving short cuts and consumerism that creates most of the problems in the first place.

To aid in the transformation into a sustainable lifestyle, the first step is education. Some behaviors we perceive to be Earth-friendly are actually not. For example - plastic water bottles. There are some perceived warm fuzzies of water bottles -

We are taking care of ourselves and our families by continuously hydrating.

By recycling the plastic, we are being environmentally sound.

Water is an abundant resource and buying in plastic bottles simply makes it convenient and readily available.

But here is the truth about water bottles -

The process of bottling water takes enormous energy and copious volumes of water many times greater than the amount of water in the bottles being produced. Energy must be used to purify the water to a level that can be packaged and not grow harmful bacteria and most often, water is used for the filtration in the water purification process.

The creation of the plastic bottles requires petroleum as plastic is a petroleum based product.

A vast majority of water bottles are NOT recycled but placed in the landfill or worse yet, tossed into the environment. In addition, those that are recycled require great amounts of energy, petroleum and water to be recycled.

There is growing evidence that storing water in plastic enhances carcinogenic toxins to transfer from the plastic into the water that is then ingested by people.

Using water bottles as an example, there are many behaviors that may seem innocent but the truth is well hidden - typically by those selling the products to encourage consumer purchases. True Green Living is a near and dear to the Earth as possible with minimal waste, minimal use of resources and minimal impact on the planet.

Here are a few suggestions for Green Living that are easy to incorporate into our lives and have no negative effect:

1. Use re-sealable glass containers for transportable drinking water. They emit nothing into the water supply, are treatable so as not to carry pathogens, and you have created no waste or used minimal petroleum to create a re-usable glass.

2. Create a compost pile. If you follow simple, easy steps (no fats, no animal products, add a variety of ingredients including soil), it will never have an odor or attract wildlife yet yield fantastic fertilizer and soil conditioner. Plus, it keeps a great deal of volume out of the landfill.

3. Consign or donate items you no longer need. Remember - one man's trash is another man's treasure!

4. Fix leaky faucets and toilets. Nothing wastes our precious resource of water like inane drips.

5. Do not use synthetic chemicals if possible! This include chemicals for pest control, for cleaning or for health and beauty products. This seems so obvious and yet we consume and are exposed to a gazillion synthetic chemicals each day. These man-made toxins infiltrate and bio-accumulate and wreak havoc in the form of Autism, Alzheimer's, Asthma, etc.

These are 5 easy to incorporate ideas to live a more sustainable life. Beginning these will help shift your mind to a more Earth friendly lifestyle and snowball forward to encourage a greener and greener existence. Another step towards Living Green.