Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrate Earth Day

Today marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, a day – and in some places a week – set aside to appreciate our planet and learn how to take better care of it.  Many communities have become more eco-friendly, implementing programs to make it easier for residents to recycle glass, metal, paper and plastic.  Doing our part is simply the right thing to do, and as I learn more, I want to do more.  

Here are a few steps, I've taken over the last year:

1) Switched to compact fluorescent light bulbs, except for one reading lamp.  The trick is to make changes gradually that you can stick with, as opposed to, all at once.  Small measures make a big difference collectively.

2) When possible, I use salt, vinegar, baking soda and borax as household cleaners over commercial products, containing a multitude of chemicals.  Washing windows with vinegar and water really works! So does unclogging a drain using baking soda, vinegar and hot water. Click here to read how.

3) I put more thought into why I buy stuff and have learned to live with less.  Now I must have a valid reason to bring new things into my home.  If you have $20 burning a hole in your pocket, why not deposit it into your bank account, or donate to a cause you believe in?  Saving for a rainy day, or making this world a better place for another person pays greater dividends than buying material things you don't need.

4) I'm slowly giving away clothes and household items I never touch.  Do you (like me) wear favorite outfits time and again, while the bulk of what's in your closet never sees the light of day?  Usually, if something -- whether it's a second raincoat, an extra skillet, or a spare vase -- is tucked away in a closet, it goes unused.  Lately I'm asking myself:  Should I keep an object, if I have to move another object to get to it?  I've decided to give many of the things, that hide behind other things away to friends and charities who can use them. 

And guess what?  I'm not depriving myself.  It all adds up to lessening my carbon footprint and living a simple life of greater purpose.  Care to join me?  Calculate your carbon footprint here, and Happy Earth Day.

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