Well it may come as a surprise to learn that for many people who live a more cost-conscious lifestyle is largely based on their desire to live lighter on the planet. Our parents and Grand parents were some of the greenest people around long before Green was a lifestyle, it was just a color!
Think of some of the simple things that they did.
1. They dried their clothing on a clothes line or clothes wrack – no need for an expensive dryer
2. They not only grew their own vegetables, they canned them – making em last all year
3. They went outside and enjoyed nature – took us fishing, hiking, camping and picnicking – loved the great outdoors
4. They drank water from the tap – no plastic bottles, could you imagine gramps spending $1 for water!
5. They ate at home or made a lunch – no fast food or take out, restaurants were for special occasions
6. They played card games and board games – not video games and much less television
7. They simply bought less, they used what they had until it wore out ,until there was a need to buy new
8. They ate left overs, have you ever heard of hash?
9. They made things – sewing, knitting, baking, homemade crafts, etc…
In recent years people have equated “living green” with buying specialized — and often higher-priced — green products. For the most part, that’s faulty thinking.
True green living costs less, not more. The fact is that if you’re a typical American, the most earth-friendly thing you can do isn’t to buy pricey green products, but simply to buy and consume less. It’s just that simple.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, if everyone on the planet consumed at the levels that we do here in the U.S., it would take three planet Earths to provide the resources necessary to sustain us. Americans are only 5 percent of the world’s population, but we consume 30 percent of the world’s resources. According to U.S. Census data, the rate of per capita consumption (i.e., the amount of “stuff” we consume) has increased by more than 50 percent in the last 30 years.
So the good news is, what’s good for the environment is usually good for your wallet, too. Here are some examples of how you can save some green while living green:
Cleaning Products. Specialized green cleaning products are definitely better for the environment, but they can cost much more than their toxic equivalents. Don’t despair. Good old-fashioned products like baking soda and vinegar can be used to clean nearly all household surfaces. They cost only pennies per application and are even lighter on the environment than many specialized green cleaning products.
Hybrid and Electric Cars. There’s no denying the fact that hybrid cars get better gas mileage and have lower emissions than cars with a conventional internal combustion engine. Unless you are in the market for a new car, dropping $25,000 or more on a Hybrid or $30,000 plus on a new electric car will be a little hard to recoup in gas savings alone., but if you are in need of new transportation by all means check these options! Even if your current car is a relative gas guzzler, it’s likely to be more eco-friendly (and much more economical) to drive than a hybrid if you simply drive less, consolidate trips and carpool when possible. Driving your 55-mpg hybrid to the office every day by yourself may make you feel green, but carpooling with four friends in an 18-mpg clunker uses much less gas and creates less pollution per passenger. Of course, all driving options pale in comparison to what are always the greenest and cheapest options of all — using public transportation, walking or bicycling whenever possible.
Organic Foods. Foods raised without the use of pesticides or antibiotics are generally lighter on the environment and healthier for you. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, organic foods cost more — nearly twice as much for a gallon of organic milk, for example. While some organic foods may be worth the additional cost, a decision to simply eat lower on the food chain — more fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, poultry, etc. — even if they’re not organically grown, would be a boon to the health of both most Americans and Mother Nature as well, but of course buy locally grown whenever possible! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that Americans eat, on average, twice the recommended amount of meat, and only 14 percent of us eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Eating all organic foods would be nice, but eating a healthier diet — one that’s also less destructive to the planet — is a potential starting point. Eating less red meat and fewer dairy products and processed foods can also be considerably less expensive, particularly if you’re a smart shopper and plan your meals around what’s both healthy and on sale. Here is a list of 50 healthy foods for under a dollar a pound!
Energy-Wise Landscaping. What’s green but not green? Lawns are notoriously tough on the environment, with all of the fertilizers, pesticides and water they require. They’re also tough on our bank accounts: According to one study, lawn care services and supplies in the United States are a $12 billion-a-year industry. Consider reducing the size of your lawn or eliminating it entirely by mulching it over or replacing it with low-maintenance ground covers like pachysandra or creeping thyme. See Energy-wise landscaping — to learn about landscaping in such a way as to eliminate the need for supplemental irrigation and toxic chemicals — can save time, money and Mother Nature. The U.S. Department of Energy says that strategically planting as few as three trees around your house can reduce your heating and cooling expenses by as much as 20 percent. Not a bad investment, given that landscaping also typically increases the value of your home when you sell.
Use and Re-use. Don’t be in such a hurry to buy the latest version of the hottest new thing. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, about 75 percent of household items Americans bought in the 1980s were to replace an item that was worn out or beyond repair. Today, only about 20 percent of such purchases are to replace a worn-out item. The other 80 percent are simply because we want the hottest new thing, even if our old hottest new thing is still working just fine; after all, who can live with the hottest new thing in last year’s model? By simply using things up and making things last, you’ll be living green and saving big. And when you do go shopping for something new, consider doing the truly earth-friendly thing and buying it used instead — at a thrift store or yard sale — or maybe getting it for free through freecycling.
Simple Energy Saving = Money Saving. Don’t think you have to invest expensive home improvements that promise to pay for themselves in energy savings. Always do the math yourself. You will find that many costly energy-saving measures — IE: replacing windows in your home with more-energy-efficient models — often don’t make economic sense unless you’re going to stay in your home for many, many years. In general, it’s smart to upgrade to energy-efficient appliances and other energy saving items only when the time comes to replace a worn-out older model. Most homeowners will save more money and more energy by undertaking simple, inexpensive, do-it-yourself projects first, such as installing low flow toilets conversion, filling gaps around the house that let heat/cooling escape, adding extra insulation in the attic, installing programmable thermostats, and turning down your hot water heater, weather striping and sealing doors and windows, etc… According to the Energy Department, the typical older home has enough easily repairable energy-sucking gaps around windows, doors, etc., to be the equivalent of leaving the front door open all year long! Think about that, and then head out to the garage and get your tool belt and your caulking gun!.
Until Next Time, The Go Green Guy says “Think Green, Live Green and Go Green America”
Category: Go Green Living Tips
About the Author (Author Profile)
Creator/Host of Go Green America TV
Jeff (Jf) Davis aka The Go Green Guy is from Maine
Moved to LA to follow his passion as an actor
these days he is still acting, lives in LA with his wife and two boys
an writes about Green Living for his website Go Green America TV
that will soon be a TV show!!