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Lifestyle & Travel

7 Ways to Go Green

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You recycle when you can. You turn the lights out when you’re not using them. You try and take quicker showers.

These days, most of us do our best to go green, while also admitting we could probably do better. Whether you’re in a small city or a big town, here are seven things to consider to help out our earth.  

  1. Plant a garden. By growing your own edibles, you may naturally feel a stronger connection to the earth. If space is limited, you can plant a small herb garden in a window box, or grow tomatoes in containers. If you’re feeling more ambitious, devise a more elaborate vegetable garden or sign up for a plot in a community garden. It’s a chance to get your hands dirty – literally – and a great way to keep your kitchen stocked with fresh food all summer long.
  2. Add pollinator-friendly plants to your yard. Butterflies, bees, and other pollinators are vital to our ecosystem. They help move pollen from one part of a flower to another, fertilizing it in the process. In recent years, pollinators have been imperiled because of pesticides, parasites, and other environmental challenges. You may be able to help them by planting a pollinator garden. In planting this kind of garden, the United States Department of Agriculture cautions people to avoid using pesticides when possible and suggests planting a wide variety of native plants that bloom from spring to fall, clustering them together so that they’re easy for the pollinators to find. (Read more about pollinator gardens here).
  3. Support your local farms. Pass on the giant factory farms and the imported fruits and vegetables when you can, and support the farmers who live and work in your community. By buying local, whether it’s at your supermarket, a farmer’s market, or through a community supported agriculture program (CSA), you’ll be eating locally grown food that’s fresher and didn’t have to travel far. You’ll also be supporting an independent local business and keeping your money within your town.
  4. Reduce your reliance on plastic. Plastic bags. Plastic straws. Single-use plastic containers. These are things that are will outlast all of us because they never biodegrade. Make an effort to reduce your plastic consumption. You can do that by taking your own reusable bags to the store, buying in bulk, and carrying a refillable water bottle. Become more mindful of the prevalence of plastic and find ways to avoid it when you can.
  5. Flex your pedal power. More and more small cities and big towns are creating bike infrastructure that makes it safer to get around on two wheels rather than four. If you feel comfortable cycling in your area, then pump up the tires, grab that helmet, and get that bike in gear! By leaving the car behind – even if you’re just riding a couple of miles to the store – you’re not only helping the environment, you’re also getting in a workout that’s good for your health.
  6. Make your own household cleaners. It’s amazing what a little vinegar, baking soda, and elbow grease will do around the house. By making your own cleaners, you can avoid bringing chemicals into your home while contributing fewer plastic containers to landfills – and you may even save money in the process. To add a fresh smell to your homemade cleaners, consider adding lemon juice, herbs, or your favorite essential oils. (Here’s a story from Good Housekeeping that shares recipes that work.)
  7. Think before you buy. Buying less is another often overlooked way of going green. If you make the best use of the items you have, whether that means fixing up your old car or repairing your broken-in shoes, you’ll be generating less waste in the long run. Also, consider buying items that have been used or borrowing something from a friend, rather than buying new all the time. If you do end up buying a new item, make sure the old items you’re replacing go to a local charity and not the landfill.

With some slight tweaks to your daily routine, you may make a difference that will impact people for generations to come.

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