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I’m sure it happens all the time; I know it happens to me.
New Years Eve arrives, there’s talk about living and eating better and being more conscious of our environmental impact, and then January second and third come along without resolve and the next 12 months aren’t much different than the previous 12.
It’s like we ran out of gas before getting off the ground.
That’s why when it comes to our health and well being, going green as a process — instead of focusing on individual acts — can make a significant difference in how well we integrate it into our lives.
Because progressing along a certain path is often a lot more meaningful than a few cosmetic changes. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything people tell you about eco-friendliness, but by allowing the ideas and concepts to sink in — becoming part of you — manifests real change from within.
That said, in the spirit of inaugurating a new routine, here are a few points to ponder and start working on so you’re ready for those green-minded resolutions to take effect in time for New Years…
We don’t always realize it, but harmful chemicals are in many of the products we use daily including shampoos, moisturizers, processed foods, cleansers, insect repellents and more. I’ve developed headaches from simply washing the floors because of the noxious substances in certain cleaners that I’ve breathed in.
Additionally, it’s important to note that since our skin is porous, these chemicals can be absorbed into our bodies, which over time can cause serious health problems.
Challenge: One of the first things to do in time for New Years is switch these chemical-based items to eco-friendly and organic brands. Doing this now will ensure you’ve started on the right path come January 1st.
I don’t know about you, but utility usage — such as water, electricity, or gas — is one of my biggest money drainers during the year.
At the same time, I’ve discovered a portion of what makes the bills so high can be eliminated because it’s due to unnecessary waste — such as when I leave the faucet running, walk out of a room forgetting to shut the light, or cook something on the stovetop with the gas on high much longer than necessary.
Furthermore, much of this waste not only impacts my wallet, but the environment as well.
For instance, many power plants supplying electricity run on coal, a material that produces fair amounts of pollution. The more demand I place on the electric company with all my gadgets, the more pollution I am responsible for.
Challenge: The key to saving money on utilities is thinking greener, and doing so means attaining better efficiency. Try and be more vigilant when it comes to how utilities are used. Add water regulators to faucets, switch to compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs), and seal drafts so indoor heating systems aren’t overworked and heat stays in.
When I tried to make a personal lifestyle change, I found a big part of what was needed was to adjust my diet to a greener one.
At first I didn’t know what this meant, but learned about pesticides and which fruits and vegetables carry more and which ones carry less.
Then I discovered being greener with food also means buying local whenever possible, considering the carbon footprint of delivery trucks, and if the labor force included fair trade.
Challenge: Before New Years, do some investigative shopping so you can eat healthier and support more eco-friendly food companies and farms.
Today’s world is a consumer culture. By nature, people consume food, various types of products, clothing, and machines to survive.
Nevertheless, there comes a time when the many things we bring into our lives reach their end and are of no use anymore – or so it seems. That’s when we have to ask ourselves: Can it be recycled, reused, or repurposed into something else?
I do this all the time with everything that comes in and out of the house.
Challenge: Set up a recycling station in your home for everything under the sun. At the same time, go with reusable containers, bags, and water bottles so there is less disposable trash and more focus on how ‘less is more’ when it comes to the environment.
I’m a home improvement journalist. I blog about a broad range of eco-friendly topics including DIY home remodeling, cleaning tips, frugal living, as well as unique landscaping and gardening ideas.