Tuesday, September 1, 2015

10 Quick Green Living Tips

The Climate Crusader's life is changing ... and she's wondering how to keep it green.

When my daughter was born in 2005 I transitioned from working full-time to working part-time. Then shortly after my son was born in 2008 my company underwent a massive downsizing and so I transitioned to working part-time from home. It was good. I was able to spend more time with my children during their early years. I volunteered in classrooms and baked my own bread. I gardened and upcycled and read books on green living.

I have always been concerned about the environment, but having children increased my stake in our planet. And working a reduced schedule, much of it from home, gave me the time to research green living and make changes. I have been lucky, and I know it. Not everyone has the resources to do what I have done. When you're pressed for time and money it's that much harder to spend your evenings on green do-it-yourself projects. I get it ... and I am about to experience it first-hand.

In a week and a half I am starting school full-time. For the next 12 months I will be working hard to earn my teaching degree. Once I have earned it, I will (hopefully) be working. At minimum, I will be working to secure a job.  So for the first time in more than 10 years I am going to be out of the house for eight hours or more a day, five days a week. I will simply not have the time to live the lifestyle I've built as a mom who spends all her time at home. So I have been researching ways to live green when you don't have a lot of time. Here are the top 10 ways I will be going green while studying full-time.

10 Quick and Easy Green Living Tips

  1. Pick up Trash - We all see trash on the sidewalk, right? Picking up someone else's garbage can help keep our world a little cleaner. Here's how one person does it.
  2. Carry Reusables - I have a couple of reusable nylon bags that fold up really small stashed in my purse and my backpack, and I carry a stainless steel water bottle, to reduce trash.
  3. Soft Copies - One of the big changes from the last time I was at university is how much material can be accessed online. Whenever possible I opt for e-textbooks and keep articles and emails online. Since I already have a tablet and laptop this lowers my eco footprint.
  4. Pack Garbage Home - My university has composting and recycling stations, but many schools, workplaces and public spaces don't. When I have recyclables or compostables and no place to put them, I bring them home to dispose of them properly.
  5. Take Shorter Showers - I love to luxuriate in my shower, but I will no longer have the time. Luckily, by reducing your time in the shower you're also reducing your energy and water use.
  6. Skip Straws - When you do find yourself eating out, skip the straw. You don't need it and it will just be thrown away. Or bring your own glass or stainless steel straw.
  7. Turn Down the Water Heater - I admit it, I love hot water. But heating water uses energy. Turning down the thermostat on my water heater takes seconds, and saves money and carbon.
  8. Program the Dishwasher - I can set my dishwasher to run in the middle of the night ... but sometimes I don't. If I make this change I will be reducing the load on the power grid during peak hours, and possibly saving myself money in the bargain.
  9. Update the Thermostat - Like many people I have a programmable thermostat. It's currently set up to reflect the fact that I'm at home all day, though. Updating this will again take almost no time, but save money and carbon.
  10. Source Non-Toxic Personal Care Products - I've been making my own deodorant and experimenting with other green personal care. Some of it is easy - like not washing my face - but some of it takes time I just won't have. For those things that will be harder to swing I'm cutting myself slack and buying greener products. If you're currently using conventional products this a very easy change to make, replacing each product as you run out.
Do you have any quick and easy green living tips? I could use your ideas!


Green Bean said...

These are really helpful ideas! It is easy to be overwhelmed with sustainable living habits that suck up a lot of time - baking your own bread for instance. These, by contrast, are so easy to do. Once they become habit, you can live lighter on auto pilot.

BTW, love the link to the ideas on picking up trash.

Christy said...

This is very timely for me as I am returning to work full time for the first time since having kids 11 years ago. Thanks for the great reminders and tips.

Karen Lee said...

Love these ideas. Every little bit helps!

Bodhist said...

Great article! I definitely need to work on taking a short shower. That is my weakness.

Kathryn Ray said...

When I was commuting to a day job, I almost always brought a packed lunch in re-usable containers, along with real utensils.

Norm Brown said...

Great set of tips. Maybe add use public transportation as another option.


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