It is not difficult to “GO GREEN”

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Many people think that if they go ‘green’, as individuals, it will not have any impact in environmental terms. They have the belief of “what change can one person really make?” The answer here would have to be “the power of one” and the power of one, multiplied by all the “ones” that are doing something is a great power. And, the power of one person’s example can bring positive change to those there around.

So what can each and every one of us do, and how can we influence others?

Lighting, and electricity use in general, is something where you can make a huge impact and is one of the easiest ways to help green your environment.

Change your light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use less energy, even though there is the issue with a tiny amount of mercury in them. They are, after all, basically, mercury vapor lamps. In countries such as Britain you no longer have the choice as to whether or not to buy CFLs; you cannot buy any incandescent light bulbs, the Edison bulbs, anymore.

Turn off light in rooms that are not in use. Unplug those chargers when they are not charging your devices. It all helps and those little chargers really add up to lots of energy being consumed.

Transportation is another one that can make a great impact, whether it is the daily commute or vacation help yourself and others create ways to reduce toxic emissions.

Rideshare or carpool to the workplace, or consider mass transit if that is an option. When running daily errands try to limit them to one trip and have a mapped out plan to cut down driving. Use a bicycle instead, and if need be with a bicycle trailer, or walk.

Electric power: One thing that consumes a lot of energy at home and office is your computer and therefore make a habit to unplug it from the power strip when you leave the office at night, or when you go to bed at home. A computer that is turned off and still plugged in is burning energy. The best idea is to get a power strip that you can, actually, turn off. That makes things easiest.

So make either make it a habit to unplug the computer – and the peripherals – or get a power strip that you can turn off, either by simply using a switch that is part of the strip or get a strip that does it by remote control or, with a PC (not a laptop) you can use an intelligent power strip that turns off all peripherals and the PC when the PC shuts down. The latter kind of strip does, however, use some amount of electricity which it uses to power the sensors.

Paper: Did you know the average worker wastes 10,000 pages of paper per year? To reduce that impact on the environment print carefully and, where possible, go paperless by storing documents on the PC in PDF. Print double sided or, if pages are not printed thus, make use of the backs (including junk mail) for note paper. Shred and recycle all used paper, and the easiest way to recycle such old shredded paper is as animal bedding, such as for chickens and then composting it afterwards.

Eating: Good eating habits can help the planet. Use ‘real’ silverware, coffee mugs, china for your daily meals. Paper and plastic are not OK and even biodegradable plastic flatware is a waste of resources. The majority of “paper” cups, for instance, are non-recyclable as they are lined on the inside and cannot be recycled as paper. They go into landfill.

Switch to “organic” foods grown, ideally, by local farmers that will help both you and your local area. The basics are to eat local, eat seasonal, eat organic, and eat less meat. Do not fall for the “organic” French beans from Kenya for (i) who certifies the “organic” bit and (ii) consider the environmental footprint and the food miles of those beans which get flown to the UK daily.

The power of one – multiplied by many ones – which it is – is a great force and a good force for change. You can do it with small steps and get others involved too by showing then that small steps can go a long way. So let's change the world one small step at a time.

© 2011