We often focus on things, products, or stuff when we write about going green, disconnecting them from people’s daily lives a bit.
I think this limits the degree to which people incorporate green practices or green products into their lives. So, rather than just randomly create a list of some things you can do or buy to go green, I thought I’d focus such a list around the story of your day a bit.
1. Wake Up with the Sun. The day starts for us when we wake up, and the day starts for nature when the sun comes up. Lining up these two “days” is one great way to green your life.
No, not because the early bird gets the worm or anything like that, but because if we are awake when the sun is up, we are asleep more when the sun is down, and that means we use lights less and save energy.
Of course, some people have to work late, or get up super early, and this doesn’t work for them, but many of us (myself included!) could shift our daily schedules to save energy.
2. Eat a Vegan or Vegetarian Breakfast. As you must have heard by now, eating vegan or vegetarian food is one of the greenest things you can do.
It is quite easy to eat vegan or vegetarian at breakfast – you can have fruit; cereal (perhaps even with non-dairy milk); toast; apples, bananas or something else with peanut butter (or some other nut butter); pancakes; waffles; scrambled tofu; or a host of other creative options.
3. Eat Local Food for Breakfast. OK, this may limit your breakfast options a little more than eating vegan or vegetarian, but it can also help a lot — cutting some of the pollution and CO2 emissions created from transporting food around the world.
Nonetheless, you should be able to find local fruits fairly easily in most parts of the world much of the year and I think every city I’ve ever lived in has had farmers markets and local food stores that offer plenty of other local food options as well.
4. Eat an Organic Breakfast. Alright, this is the last food suggestion, I promise, but it is quite conclusive that organic food is much better for our environment than non-organic food.
This has to be on the list. (And yes, you can eat organic without going bankrupt. I lived on organic food with a minimal monthly salary for years, so I know it’s possible.)
Organic food doesn’t have to just be food, you can even find great places to buy organic maple syrup too.
5. Use Green Personal Care Products. Another part of our daily life is brushing our teeth and using some combination of personal care products to ensure that we smell and look good around others. Whole Foods and most local healthfood stores offer eco-friendly personal care products and many large, conventional stores even offer such products these days.
So, whatever freshening up you do in the morning, look into doing it with green and eco-friendly options (often, these are better for your health, too).
While such products may be a little more expensive than their chemical-laden alternatives, you normally don’t have to purchase them all that often and if you spread out the price difference across a couple of months, it is quite negligible. And, again, you’ll probably save on healthcare costs in the long run anyway.
6. Minimize Your Water Use. You can easily get yourself into the habit of using less water when you brush your teeth, wash the dishes, or take a shower (you might even consider shower-pooling – fun and eco-friendly). It just takes a tincy tiny bit of thought and effort.
7. Put On Green Clothes. They don’t have to be the color green, of course, and don’t go changing your entire wardrobe if your clothes aren’t eco-friendly yet (since that would just use more energy), but when you have the opportunity, buy organic cotton clothing, recycled clothing, hemp clothing, bamboo clothing, swap clothes with a friend, or get clothes at a second-hand shop.
8. Don’t Drive. Transportation is one of the top three contributors to global warming, cars are the largest net contributor to global warming, and cars are also a leading cause of numerous other environmental problems (i.e. water pollution and air pollution).
Depending on your circumstances, take public transit, bike, or walk to wherever you need to go in the morning. Or telecommute. (You can often save money and will be healthier taking one of these options as well.)
Of course, we all have unique lives and maybe some of the suggestions don’t fit yours, but hopefully these rather general tips come in handy for you and help you to green up your life.
How do you go green in the morning?