With another New Year upon us, it's that time again— the time we set goals with the best intentions for the year to come. Some of those goals may be tough (but keep at it, you can do it!) and some can be simple— like making the decision to be more green. But when you decide to be more green, where do you start?
Here are 15 easy things you can start doing today to make the future better for the earth, you, and your children. If you want to go beyond these 15 suggestions, here are 25 more!
Many of us leave our computers on or in hibernate mode rather than shutting down at the end of the day. But doing so creates a drain on energy and shortens the life of your laptop's battery. So before you log off, read everything in those 25 opened browser tabs, close them down, and shut your computer off for the night.
To save energy, when away for long periods during the day or while you are on vacation, don't heat or cool your home as you would if you were there. Turn the thermostat down or up so the heat or air conditioning does not kick in as often. When you return home, set it back to a comfortable level.
By supporting your local farmers, you contribute to your local economy, you reduce carbon emissions, and you help to secure easy access to what farmer's have to offer. Farmer's markets are usually a spring/summer/fall thing, but many cities have indoor farmer's markets that run during the winter. Do a Google search for active farmer's markets in your area.
With everything being online these days, get rid of the paper version of your favourites and go for a digital subscription instead.
Keeping your car maintained is a great way to cut back on vehicle emissions and save you money. Set a schedule and stick to it and you will enjoy the benefit of less repairs in the future.
As a former small retail business owner, I can't tell you enough how important it is to support local small businesses. The economy will thank you, the environment will thank you because you have to drive less, and the small business owners will be forever grateful.
Do a purge of all the plastic containers in your kitchen and replace them with longer-lasting, and safer glass or stainless steel containers.
Using the wrong type of detergent is harmful to our lakes, rivers, oceans and our health. Do some research and find out what the most eco-friendly (and healthy for you) laundry detergents and dish detergents are.
If grabbing a morning coffee at your favourite coffee shop is part of your routine, then avoid the one-use paper cups and buy a nice reusable mug or tumbler for your morning coffee. Some places even offer a discount if you bring your own.
I know...I know. We all love our long, hot showers, especially in the winter, but those few extra minutes use extra energy to heat the water and there is also the extra water is being used unnecessarily. Cut back on your showers by a few minutes to save.
This is a difficult habit to break, I've been there. If you are finding that cutting back on paper product use is a hard thing to do, take baby steps and opt for products that are more eco-friendly. If you are ready to ditch the paper products for good, buy a few sets of cloth napkins that can be reused.
Step away from the screens and get outside to explore nature with your kids. By encouraging outdoor play and exploration of nature in our neighborhoods we can show our kids how we are connected to the environment and how our actions affect it.
Clean up household clutter by taking the time to go through all of your kids' old clothes and gear and get rid of them in an eco-friendly manner.
If you are a gardener, purchase a rain barrel and collect rain water to reuse for watering your garden.
This the best ways to keep up to date on the latest in the green world and to learn new ways to be more green. Of course, this blog is a great place to get green info, but if you are looking to add to your list, try Green Living, Mother Nature Network, Green Moms Collective, Tree Hugger, The David Suzuki Foundation...to name a few!
Which tip will you start with? Do you have any more to add?
My last post from 2013 was all about highlighting some of my favourite posts. It's never an easy thing to pick just a few to showcase (I love them all!), but I've managed to narrow them down again for 2014. Here are a few of my faves from this past year...just in case you missed them!
There is a green solution to cleaning pretty much everything. These posts helped show you how to get started:
The only way to understand and avoid harmful ingredients is to educate yourself. These articles help to shed light on some things you may not have been aware of:
The types of foods we eat have a huge impact on the environment and obviously, our health. These are a few of the food-related posts I shared with you this past year:
This year, I came across some amazing stories about what others are doing to protect the environment as well as some smart educational campaigns and programs. Here are a few:
One of my favourite things to share are tips to help make your everyday life greener and to show you just how easy it can be. Here are some posts that do just that:
This year, I was lucky enough to get some assignments that involved cars, a topic I love. Car can be somewhat of a mystery to some, I helped break some things down for you:
Some of the posts I wrote in 2014 were suggestions and requests sent in from readers. If there is something you'd like me to cover, let me know in the comments! I look forward to sharing more with you in 2015, have a wonderful holiday!
When tasked with buying a hostess gift, it's easy to fall into the trap of leaving it to the last minute or buying the same gifts over and over again. You know what I'm talking about. Soaps, flowers, a box of chocolates...all very nice thoughts, but all on the predictable and boring side.
As with all gifts, the best ones are unique and show the recipient you put lots of thought into buying it.
Here are 10 unique, eco-friendly gift items that will send that exact message.
If your hostess loves candles, opt for soy candles over regular paraffin candles. Soy candles are a sustainable resource and produce 90% less soot than paraffin which makes them better for your indoor air quality and your health. Look for candles that are fragranced naturally like Lucia candles. Here are 8 more reasons why soy candles are better than paraffin.
Wine is a popular and easy hostess gift choice. If this is the way you want to go, then take it one step further and buy an organic wine. The grapes used to make organic wines are non-GMO, and they are not grown with the use of pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers. Organic wines also do not contain sulfites. Haven't had an organic wine before and not sure which one to get? Ontario-made Connect Organic White Wine from Southbrook is an excellent one to start with.
Who wouldn't love a gift that involved you taking the time to bake? Make your specialty baked item or if you don't have a special thing you are known for, here are some great ideas to give you inspiration. Package your homemade gift up in a reusable tin or in recyclable packaging.
If your hostess loves to bake herself, then you can't go wrong with a few high-quality, fair-trade, organic baking essentials. My favourite place to shop for really good baking ingredients is Ten Thousand Villages. All of their baking supplies are organic, fairly traded, and high-quality.
Chances are, if your hostess is throwing a party, she likes to be in the kitchen. For those of us who love being in the kitchen, we know that there is no such thing as having too many tea towels. Especially when they are cute. Gift her with a made-to-order, printed organic cotton towel.
If you know your hostess well, you may have a pretty good idea about what is on her reading wish list. Get her a book she can download to her e-reader. Go for one you've read and think she will enjoy too or one you know she has been wanting to read.
For the coffee lover, you definitely can't go wrong when you gift her with one of her favourite things. Ten Thousand Villages makes some of the best organic, fair-trade coffee I have ever had.
If you know your hostess loves stationery, then she will love a gift that includes pretty, Canadian-made, eco-friendly journals, or cards from ecojot. Find a store near you that carries their products or order online.
For the indoor gardener, these hand-stamped, up-cycled herb markers made from re-purposed vintage knives are as unique as you can get.