Going green shouldn’t be considered a fad, as we only have one earth. “There’s no planet B,” as the saying and new environmental catchphrase goes. You don’t have to be wearing hemp clothes and hugging trees to reduce your footprint either. And while reducing, reusing, and recycling are important; they’re not the only things we can do to help.
There are many subtle and outside-the-box ways you can contribute to saving our planet. If you need some earthly inspiration, we can help. Read on for six unique ways to go green.
1. Throw a Green Competition
Many companies are getting the competitive juices flowing by offering incentives for their employees going green. A lot of them have it coincide with the week that starts with Earth Day, but of course any time is a great idea to get this going.
As this article by The Buzz Bin notes, “Employees are nominating each other every time they do something green – whether that’s turning off lights in conference rooms when not in use, sharing tips for donating books, toys or clothes, eating meatless meals or powering down laptops at the end of the day. All with the promise of some rad green prizes like Whole Foods gift cards and multi-device chargers for the top-scoring Green Warriors.”
Show up your coworkers by coming to work in shoes made from recycled plastic. That’s gangster level going green, in case you were wondering—plus you’ll look darn good while doing it.
If you work from humble abode or stay at home with your kids, you can easily implement the same concept here. Schools are getting in on the green action, too, with entire weeks of incentives offered for things like bringing lunches with no plastic and riding bikes to school. We should do it anyway, and making it into a competition is just good fun.
2. Brew Yo Java at Yo Casa
We’ve all probably heard the crazy numbers about what a $3-a-day coffee habit costs you at the end of the year (cough, cough–$1,092 a year, and that was in 2016).
Beyond that, though, you’re inadvertently damaging the environment even worse than your savings account with the paper cups they often serve them in. Save money and the earth by brewing at home. But if you’ve gotta hit up Starbucks, make sure to bring your recyclable mug.
3. Trusty Transportation is a Must
While carpooling isn’t a unique concept, per se, it seems to have gone by the wayside these days. Don’t be afraid to encourage friends and coworkers to try this, at least a few times a week. Look for a carpool lot in your area that’s convenient for meeting up in the morning.
Something else people don’t often consider is how much better direct flights are for the environment. And unless you love airport food and long layovers, it’s easier on you, too. Try to book these whenever possible.
4. Don’t Underestimate the Energy Factor
Again, this isn’t a new or unique concept as much as one that doesn’t get as much hype as when the Boomers were raising kids. It’s time to start reminding our kids about lights left on and even appliances that don’t need to be plugged in all the time.
Little things can make a big difference. And did you know that even sneaking a peek at that pizza baking by opening the oven door makes the temperature drop 25 degrees, requiring more energy to finish the process? Yep, maybe it’s time we do sweat the small stuff.
5. Place More Emphasis on the “Reusing” Process
Reduce and recycle get a lot of “play” in our talk about the environment, but it’s time to put more time on the “reuse” part. That’s why so many cities are requiring reusable bags when people do their grocery shopping, as the alternative is the plastic bag—the well-known nemesis of the environment. A plastic bag can take anywhere from 20-1,000 years to decompose. Although paper bags aren’t a huge improvement, they are slightly better.
The best scenario is that you figure out a way to remember to bring your reusable bags to the store. If you’re a parent, you should also try your best to avoid the plastic sandwich bags used in many kids’ lunches.
6. Deny Disposable Silverware
The word “deny” might sound a bit harsh, but it’s important to remember to turn down any restaurants that automatically put “to-go” plastic silverware in with your food. Fortunately, more and more restaurants are remembering to ask but, if not, the onus is on you to tell them there is no need for them.
There are so many more unique ways to go green than what we’ve mentioned here, but this is a great start if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint.
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement. We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I have accepted that it is impossible to please everyone. I struggled for years to fit in with what I thought were the “cool kids,” but in the end I was unhappy because I felt I could never be my true self.
I now accept that to be my true self, as an individual, means that not everyone will like me, and that I can’t please everyone. But I now understand that being myself brings to me the most fulfilling relationships.
2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?
I have learned to appreciate my family more, flaws and all. When I was young, my parents had a very busy life, and struggled to just make ends meet in our family. As a result, I became resentful that they never spent enough time with my siblings and I.
Now I appreciate them more, because they worked so hard for our family, and I am grateful now that I can have a stronger relationship with them as an adult and have a truly fulfilling relationship with them.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
The most rewarding thing I have ever done was when I decided to study abroad in Barcelona for a semester. I really felt like I broke out of my shell. Being in an unfamiliar place where you can’t speak the language is difficult, but I gained so much confidence in myself that I can achieve my dreams in life. I still have a passion for travel. I would love to become a travel writer one day and circle the globe!
4. Of course, we all have imperfections, or so we think. In truth, we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? Likewise, what imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Sometimes, I get self-conscious that I’m too weird for people. For example, I love to spend the day inside reading books instead of partying all the time. Despite staying home, I’m actually love being with people. So a lot of extroverts don’t understand that I enjoy time alone too.
Not everyone gets that that is just me! I also have what I guess is a strange sense of humor. Some people call it an intelligent or witty sense of humor, and so sometimes my jokes fall totally flat. But this is all okay, because like I’ve said, that’s just what makes me, me!
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to appreciate and express all the positive traits that make you…well…YOU! In fact, sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (We assure you!) Therefore, Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I truly love my ability to connect with people through writing. To me, it’s one of the most magical things out there. It’s pretty crazy that you can create a made-up character or story and someone, somewhere, will feel like they are understood. It’s an incredible feeling.
That’s why I enjoy reading. Even if I just write personally for myself, I feel empowered that I can indulge in my imagination. Finally, I love my ability to have deep conversations with people. When people open up, I feel like our souls just meet in a space of harmony.
When we expose our humanity to each other, I think it’s just a very beautiful thing. Also, I can’t forget, I love my cat, Pancakes! There is simply no better pet out there.