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Earth Day Part One – Reduce!

Earth Day Part One – Reduce!

From the editor: My husband says he went green every time he had to put on camos. (Punch line drum sound, and don’t quit your day job, honey!)  But seriously, folks… Today is Earth Day, and we’re launching an occasional series on ways in which military families can “go green.”  We’re starting with a 3-part post written by the folks at “Military Living Green,” a group of military spouses and service members who are trying to live more sustainable lives. More info about them below. Part One: Reduce…

Going Green…One Step At A Time
Making small changes in your lifestyle to help the environment can be both rewarding and challenging. Most people hear go-green or sustainable living and immediately think they have to give up meats, their SUV, money and basically, the right to live. Fortunately, this is not the case.  As with any departure from old habits, it takes one thing…time.  Little steps in your everyday life can be another step into making the world a safer place in which to live.

As military members, some of us have been afforded the opportunity to live in government quarters. If this is the case, chances are, you won’t receive a water or electric bill because it’s included in your “rent.”  Due to this fact, some of us, and I too, are guilty of this cliché – “I don’t have to worry about when or how often I wash clothes or how many lights I leave on, because we don’t pay for it.”  I cringe at that thought now because it wasn’t until I decided to make the change to live more sustainably, that I realized how big my family’s contribution to harming the environment actually was.  Not to mention, the transition to living on the economy will not be a shock.

One factor for many of us use when determining just how green we’ll become is the economic impact. Green products from cleaning supplies to organic foods can be expensive, yet there are several ways you can begin the journey to living a more sustainable life without making a huge dent in your bank account.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
These three concepts, in small steps, may change your thinking, habits and savings.

Reduce-Small Steps:

  • Buy in bulk (saves money and reduces waste)
  • Take Shorter Showers
  • Groceries: think before you buy-how many times have we had to throw away ‘expired’ fruits and vegetables
  • Limit the number of times to eating out as opposed to eating at home
  • Wait until there’s a full load of laundry/dishes as opposed to washing a few items at a time
  • Take a Sunday walk instead of that Sunday drive
  • Carpool to the grocery store and other places
  • Use energy efficient light-bulbs
  • Turn off the air conditioner, let the sun shine in and the air cool you off
  • If at all possible, walk  (True story, a friend of mine drives to her mailbox – 2 blocks away)
  • Don’t use plastic utensils, cups, plates (saves money)
  • Cloth napkins instead of paper for everyday use
  • Don’t buy bottled water, use an alternative solution
  • Take your own coffee mug to informal breakfast or lunch meetings
  • Try to use non toxic cleaning supplies
  • Set your computer on hibernate to reduce
  • Wash clothes in cold water (clothes come out clean and are brighter in the long run)
  • Unplug appliances that are rarely used
  • Turn off the lights and let the sun shine in (open your curtains, use natural lighting when feasible)
  • Pay bills online
  • Buy local

Part two, coming next.

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