Living Greener In The Future
Making a green-new-years-resolution? Starting on January 1st? A set time is better than "no" time and you are to be commended for planning on breaking bad habits that will prevent-future-carbon-footprints.
The idea of a green-new-years-resolution or any New Year's resolutions in general though has really got me thinking this year. Why do we have to set a time for making improvements? Why not just make the change the second it ocurrs to us?
I suppose the answer is quite simple.
Usually, this resolution is indicative of correcting or stopping some kind of negative behavior that is enjoyable or has just become a nasty habit. Habits are hard to break. I know; I make resolutions every year and have failed miserably at many of them.
There are the typical and standard resolutions that one makes from year to year aren't there?
Quitting smoking and cutting out the goodies are no doubt at the top of the most popular list.
Spending less money and reducing debt is probably another. I do know that these are at the top of the list, because I'm reading about them being the most popular everywhere I look.
I think basically, January 1st represents the first day of being on the road to self-denial in some form or another. That's how it's perceived isn't it by most people? Timing is funny.
It's like starting a diet on a Wednesday. Unheard of.
Diets always have to start on Mondays, everybody knows that!!
And besides, by setting a date to correct the behavior it allows and justifies, at least in MY mind, a few more days to continue enjoying that negative thing we are doing.
In other words, some of us have to gear up and psych ourselves up to change something we're accustomed to doing.
We have to leave our comfort zone in some way that will change our already formed comfortable and familiar routines. Depending on what it is, that can be a little scary and intimidating.
Being a little greener and planning some eco-friendly- resolutions is really no different. Recycling is probably the most popular of the green-new-years-resolutions.
There was a time for me, when I didn't recycle.
Didn't matter what it was, it went straight to the green garbage bag. A soup can, a plastic bottle, a three day old banana I knew no-one was going to eat, or an old purse. Straight to the garbage can with all of it. Much easier.
I now shudder when I see what can accumulate for just a two-person family in a week and remember what I used to do with it all.
I have learned to recycle properly and have quite a thing about this; I've taught my husband to be the same way and it hasn't been an easy task. We do the best we can in this area.
I know that bananas and tomatoes to name a few, can be frozen when it's obvious no-one is going to eat them, and used to make some pretty good recipes at a later date. A frozen orange is great for orange zest just when you don't think you have an orange in the house. I've learned that coffee grounds and used tea-bags are great additives to my garden.
Large plastic coffee cans are great for storing alot of my baking spices, and they also hold every single nail my husband has accumulated on his work-bench in huge piles.
Glass bottles will help out a friend tremendously with pickling instead of having to buy them.
My green-new-years-resolution last year was to get through Christmas again without having to buy one single piece of wrapping paper or a bow and I did.
I faithfully keep all of the christmas bags and tissue paper and all of that stuff from year to year. None of that goes to waste.
The same can be said for christmas lights and decorations. Although the lights are slowly dying string by string, I make-do and just cut down on the power consumption.
Our home and property used to be "lit up like a christmas tree" at one time. This has been toned down quite severely, but isn't any less prettier either.
As for the decorations? Don't need new ones, just learned that less is sometimes more, and I switch them around from year to year. You don't need to display every single thing you own at once.
I do happen to view January 1st as the first day of "spring" cleaning; a kind of green-new-years-resolution, and try to meet a quota weekly.
Don't know why, just do. Well, it could have something to do with the fact that my Mother makes her yearly visit (gulp) in the Spring. As I start trying to re-organize and get rid of clutter, I don't have garbage cans lined up though like I used to.
I try to think more in terms of "who could use this?" Or, "what else could I use this for instead of getting rid of it?"
Living a little bit greener is a process, and it takes time to adjust to a different way of doing things. I've always said alot of it revolves around common sense.
If a green-new-years-resolution is what you have in mind toward self-improvement, my advice would be to start in small ways around the home to prevent-future-carbon-footprints.
Begin to question what you are about to throw away. Question if something has an alternate purpose either for you or someone else. If not, put it out in the proper recycling bin and be done with it.
This is the best way to get started, and it will become a good habit in time.
As holidays and important events to be celebrated like a birthday or a wedding for example come up during the year, ask yourself how you can make-do with what you have at your disposal or tone it down in some way.
Maybe by this time next year, you will have some good ideas on how to simplify a party or New Years' celebrations at home, but without taking away from the event.
Be always aware of what's plugged in and running but not being used around the house. Learn to get picky about lights being left on.
Have cloth shopping bags in the car for groceries; or, request boxes when shopping if you forget. At least they can be used for storage at home.
Visit the many many green living websites out there and educate yourself in small ways on how you can make subtle changes in your lifestyle as part of your green-new-years-resolution.
Small changes at home will become bigger as you broaden your horizons and knowledge about all aspects of reducing carbon footprints outside your own surroundings.
In the meantime when planning your green-new-years-resolution, don't set the bar too high.
Give one or two changes time to truly become a part of your everyday life before you take on another. It will be much more meaningful that way, and much easier to stick to in the months to come.
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