Thursday, March 13, 2008

It Can be "Easy to be Green"

By: Brody O'Connell

Going "green" does not mean you need to buy a new hybrid car, live in a solar panel home, or stop using electricity. Simply choosing to be conscious of your day-to-day decisions can make a big difference. Recycling is one of the most common ways to get involved in the green movement, and there are many things you can recycle. Glass, plastic, aluminum, and paper are commonly recycled, but you can also recycle electronics. With a little bit of effort, you can even recycle falling rain.

Ohio University student Matt Hartman uses old rain to help keep his garden green.

Green Tips
Recycling is just one way to be green. There are many things you can do everyday to help save our planet. Here are some ideas.

1. Buy products made from recycled paper. Look at the label. Does it say "100% recycled"?

2. Bike or walk. If you are only traveling a short distance, give your car a break. Plus, the exercise will contribute to a healthy life-style.

3. Go FLUORESCENT! By replacing your standard light bulb with a fluorescent bulb, you can save money and energy. Energy Star light bulbs can use about 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last about 10 times longer. According to Energy Star, within one bulb's life span, you will save almost thirty dollars.

4. Create a compost pile. Find a small corner of your yard and throw your food scraps into an existing dirt pile. Be sure to shovel and turn the pile once a week. After a month or so, you will have rich soil that can be used to help your plants grow.

5. Start a garden. Being less dependent on store-bought produce will cut down on the amount of pollution created in the process of shipping and selling the goods. Packaging means creating plastics and pollution.

6. Use your own grocery bags. Avoid the question, "paper or plastic"? Both harm the earth and can be avoided by bringing your own cloth bags. Plus, with your own cloth bag, you don’t have to worry about the bags breaking! Next time you are at your local grocer, ask them if they sell shopping bags.

7. Insulate your home. Keeping your home warm in the winter can be a constant battle if you have poor insulation. Make sure your home is well insulated. The more your furnace runs, the more energy you waste and money you spend.

8. Turn off the lights! Once you leave a room, there is no need to keep a light on. Remembering to flip the switch as you exit a room will save energy and money.

9. Do not litter. Nobody wants to live in filth. If you see someone else litter, politely explain to them the negative impact they are having on our planet. Also, do not throw your cigarette butts on the ground! The smoke already does enough damage.

10. Turn off the water while you brush. While you are brushing your teeth, there is no need to always have the water running. Turn it on when you need to rinse. This will keep your water bill low and cut down on wasted water.

Technology matters
Technology has made it possible to use less energy. Many appliances, such as washers, dryers, and dishwashers are available in energy efficient brands. Some homes in Athens already have these earth friendly machines.

Matt Hartman shows off his energy efficient washing machine.

Many of the methods used to save energy will also save you money. The lower your energy bills are at the end of the month,the less impact you have had on the earth. Practicing "green" methods can help minimize the amount of pollution our society gives off.

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