Getting started with “Green Living”

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

When you talk about "green living", some people think about living in the woods having to grow or kill everything you eat and make everything you use but this is not, actually, the case, and self-sufficiency, total self-sufficiency, is not possible, in fact. Even the pioneers of self-sufficiency of the last century, such as the Nearings, never went entirely self-sufficient, as it, simply, cannot be done.

Green living simply includes doing things to help the environment be viable for future generations and does not mean even the attempt of total self-reliance. The latter is possible to some degree while total self-sufficiency, actually, as I have said, is not. Even the Native Americans were not entirely self-sufficient in everything. Far from it.

Our ancestors green living was rough and life was, supposedly short, for most people. Though it would appear that quite a few got older than scientists thought possible and want to have true. Their theories state the life of our ancient ones was short and that's how they want it to stay.

Green living has grown you don't have to like shed your possessions and live in a hut or a cave. Here are a few steps you can take you make your life a little greener.

Green living, first and foremost, means reducing your negative impact on the Earth. It means conserving energy, buying local (organic) produce and locally made products, reducing your environmental footprint, lessening the use of petroleum products and conserving water.

Buying local will reduce your environmental footprint in that items that you buy have to be shipped to the store where you buy them and if they are locally grown, raised, produced and made then the shipping costs, in the form of carbon and other emissions, is greatly reduced. Buying local and demanding locally grown produce and locally made products also will encourage companies, small and large, to produce and manufacture locally.

Having stuff grown and made locally also reduces the need for packaging – or, at least, it should – and even more so if we buy direct from the producer. We also must get local stores again where we can buy bulk goods loose, as it used to be, bringing our own container in which to take them home.

You should try to reuse stuff if you can. It takes a lot less energy to reuse something than it takes to recycle it. Before you throw something in the recycling bin, think about whether you could reuse it or upcycle it into something else or for a different use. Tossing anything into the recycling bin should be the last resort and not the firsdt one, as it seems to be in the mind of so many folks.

Use products that don't end up in landfills like cloth diapers instead of disposables or cloth towels instead of paper towels, real metal cutlery instead of disposable ones, including bamboo or wooden ones.

Demand products that are made to last rather than that come with built-in obsolescence, whether those are computers, washing machines, wireless sets (radios in new money), shoes, etc., and which are repairable. Ideally products that can be repaired at home with a little skill and knowledge or, otherwise, by a corner repair shop.

Getting started living green will not require large changes to your life; it may lead you eventually in the direction of major change. These are just small changes you can make to decrease your impact on the earth. You don't have to change your life overnight. Integrate green living into your daily routines over time. Small steps can make a huge difference over time. If we all do it things are going to change. Together we can make a difference and the powers that be cannot ignore us.

Our perfectly manicured green lawns are not so green as they appear to be. More pesticides and other chemicals are used on lawns per acre than are used on farmer's fields. High concentrations of insecticides wash down into streams from rural areas. Theses chemicals eventually end up in the food chain and you eat fish they will end up in your body.

Chemical fertilizers, based more often than not on petroleum products, supply a vacant kind of food to plants. This is like the empty calories we get from eating refined white sugar. It is a good high but you can't live on it. Such fertilizers are, in fact, “plant food” and often referred to as just that. They do not feed the soil but give the plant a high, often one that just makes leaves and nothing else, and they leach the soil clear. Only organic matter, such as compost and mulch, and charcoal, can give fertility back to the soil. Most of our agricultural land is leached clear of nutrients and is devoid of nutrients and microbes.

When it comes to transportation and travel look at option to the car. Can you walk or cycle to where you are going? If so do so. It is good for you and the Planet. If not can you use public transport to get you where you need to get? You can? Then use it.

Grow your own food, reuse before recycling, and make more of your own things, including cleaners, lotions and potions. Tooth powder can be made at home for pennies as can other remedies and whatever.

Let's green our lives proper, and that includes each and every aspect of it.

© 2011