10 Green Tips you probably won’t see on other 10 green tips lists

23 03 2010

E and I have talked a bunch about how to be more environmentally friendly in our lives, to reduce our impact on the Earth and live as sustainably as possible.  It seems like the “top 10 ways to go green” lists that are fairly trendy these days make being eco-conscious “easy” but maybe not effective.  I am really happy that Going Green is getting trendy!

I talked with Pat Murphy, author of Plan C: Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change, when he came to Guelph to talk in November.  I asked him what he thought the most important thing we needed to do in order to create effective change was.  He answered simply: numeracy.

I wrote an article for the Guelph Mercury touching on this.  His point was basically, if we want to preserve some sense of “life as we know it” on Earth, then we need to be doing more than just turning off a couple of light switches, lowering our thermostats and ditching plastic bags.

So, I decided to come up with a 10 Green Tips of my own.  Ones that, based on what I know of the actual impact, will create significant changes in our environmental landscape. Of course, these are just “tips”, concepts to move towards.  Each of these tips could constitute a number of steps needed to fully express them.  They provide a destination to move towards.  It requires patience and commitment (themes of this blog?) to get there. And once you arrive, the journey still continues, on and on.


Seriously folks.  Almost 50% of carbon emissions are because of cars – and that is not just on the driving end.  The production end of the things is WAY more polluting than the entire life of driving the car.  We could improve air quality, water quality, our health and community life by not having a car.  Not only does it save you tons of money (estimated cost of owning a car/year in Canada $7000-$10000) but time as well.

2. Eat only local, organic food.

Pat Murphy estimates that by changing our diet to all local and organic we can reduce our carbon footprint (in that area) by 80%.  Not only that, but it helps the air, water, soil, plants and animals involved in being our food source.

3.  Live with other people

If you rent, find roommates.  If you own, add in an extra apartment.  Increasing human density is one of the best ways that we can prevent all sorts of environmental problems related with the growth and sprawl of cities.

4. If you must buy at all, buy used things the vast majority of the time

Man, there is just SO much stuff in this world.  SO much.  There is virtually nothing that you need to buy new.  By reducing our consumption of new things, we take pressure of limited resources and can find some really funky things.  I sometimes think that landfills are going to be the goldmines of the future, as we throw out so much usable stuff.   There are some really creative ways of finding used things, other than the standard thrift store.  The side of the road is a pretty great location for people to put out things they don’t want (make sure there is a FREE sign attached).  Also, going to the end of garage sales and seeing what hasn’t sold.  Try things like Freecycle or craigslist for their free section.  And another wonderful thing to do, ASK! Most people in North America have more things than they know what to do with.  You never know who might have an old *whatever* hiding in their basement.

5.  Go outside!

Now, this one seems obvious to me.  However, it is missing in a lot of “green” literature.  If we spend more time outside, appreciating the Earth and all Her gifts, we will have more motivation to protect it.  Also, we might notice more the intense effects of our actions (climate change, pollution etc).  And, it’s just plain beautiful. 🙂

6. Organize your neighbourhood

By creating closer bonds with our community, we are healthier and spend less time pursuing STUFF and more time connecting to other humans.  We can also find creative ways to reduce our impact like bottle drives, craft projects, park clean-ups, lending libraries (of more than just books) and asset mapping.  Neighbourhoods are also wonderful places, when organized to purchase food in bulk, saving packaging and money.

7.  Support alternative economies

Bartering, local currencies, gift economies: all of these things allow us to become less dependent on the dysfunctional capitalist machine that has worked so long at destroying the Earth.  Going “green” is not just a trendy thing to do in your spare time.  Going “green” is part of a wide-scale shifting of the predominant paradigms.  Recognizing the interdependence of all systems allows us to move outside of the unhealthy ones into new paradigms of whole system overhaul.

8.  Write letters.

While it may seem pointless, a letter goes a long way.  How do politicians and corporations know what we want unless we tell them.  I write dear Stephen Harper often, and always send a blessing along his way, encouraging him on the way of Love and Light.  If we write local, provincial (or state) and national governments and offer suggestions or comments on their current policies then they better know how to represent us.  Participating in democracy is one of the only ways to make it work.  Also, writing corporations allows them to offer better services.  There are several cases of Sobey’s stores in Southern Ontario being bombarded with requests for local food, but unable to provide, as Sobey’s does not allow food outside of the “Sobey’s” supply chain.  Many of the local supermarket owners went independent to please their customers and offer local food.  Change can happen when we use our voice!

9.  Pray!

As the whole world is energy, influenced by our thoughts and feelings, prayer is a powerful form of activism.  Pray for the Earth.  Give Love to the Earth.  If you practice energy work, offer that to the Earth.  Start a prayer group for the Earth.

10.  Nurture yourself

The more you take care of yourself and nurture yourself, the more you are able to nurture the Earth and put effort into its well-being.  Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, take time for your creative pursuits, and anything else that allows you to feel whole and healthy.  The Earth will thank you as you create a sustainable well of energy in yourself to nurture Her with.

Blessings on your journey towards a healthy Earth!  Please, share with me anything you may be doing in your life, or your top 10 lists!




2 responses

24 03 2010

A good list! Well said.

One point, though: collecting from roadside. This can be hazardous and cause more problems than it potentially solves because of one very tiny, incredibly devastating thing. The bed bug.

Something put out to the curb, especially around garbage pick-up day, may be going out there because of an infestation with these guys. Once you bring them in, they’re INCREDIBLY hard to get rid of. Treating for them results in a HUGE waste of resources. They can only be effectively gotten rid of with repeated spraying with poison (or treating with diatomaceous earth — which doesn’t pollute but can cause serious lung irritation and potentially chronic illness with overexposure). The process for controlling them involves washing and drying EVERYTHING you own on the hottest setting, and then packing everything in sealed plastic, examining every item taken out for use (for the next year to 18 months), and resealing the package to prevent further contamination. It’s also necessary to vacuum every crevice, every floorboard and baseboard, and all your furniture far more often than is normally necessary, thereby wasting more electricity.

And… It’s often necessary to throw out items of furniture where they reside to really get rid of them… and that furniture will end up curbside. And the cycle continues.

People should be VERY careful if they’re going to pick something up from the curb, especially in a city with as bad a bed bug problem as, say, Toronto. And NEVER bring in a mattress or a bed frame from the curb (although they can live in anything, even just boxes or clothes). It only takes ONE egg-laying female, or one unhatched egg deposit on something, to make your life a living hell. Visually inspecting a piece of furniture might help, but they’re usually invisible. Even touching something that’s infested can make them transfer to your clothes, and it’s easy enough to bring them home that way.

That’s just my PSA for the day! Know your risks!!!

24 03 2010

Wow! yup, bedbugs are crazy. thanks for the infos.

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