Sometimes trying to be green is just that — trying. You want to recycle, but your neighbors keep putting non-recyclables in the can, solar panels cost thousands of dollars, your parents still hassle you for not eating meat, and your roommate won’t let you get a worm bin for composting.
But sometimes being green is easy. Very easy. Here with a list of six easy things you can do in the next week, three of which you can do as you sit in front of your computer at work. As easy as spelling SPRING!
S is for Stop the Insanity
Get the junk (mail) out of your trunk. A while ago I wrote about Greendimes, now known as Mailstopper
, a site which allows you to opt out of most of your junk mail while hanging onto the things you want (seed catalogs!). For just $20 a year they’ll clear out your mailbox, and plant five trees to boot. To date they claim to have stopped almost 21 million pounds of junk mail from having been sent.
P is for the Paper You’ll Save
Go the extra mile, and stop the delivery of “your” yellow pages. According to Yellowpagesgoesgreen.org
, 1.79 phone directories are printed for every man, woman and child in the United States, and if you have eyes in your head you’ve probably noticed how many of them go directly to the trash, often still wrapped in giant bricks of 10 or 12. National production of directories consumes 19 million trees, 1.6 billion pounds of paper, and 7.2 million barrels of oil. And that doesn’t count the fuel used to deliver them and then cart them away, unused. What a waste! Opt out and choose five receptive friends or family members, and suggest that they opt out too.
R is for Reusable Cups
Take your own coffee cup to get your next cup of coffee. A few weeks ago I strolled into the café near my office where I always get my afternoon cuppa and, handing my cup over the counter, as I always do, was informed that it was “illegal” and “against the health code” for them to reuse my cup (which was clean). I’m calling bullshit, and refusing to buy coffee from any place that won’t take a clean mug, jar, travel cup, or thermos for filling. Up in Canada, a tempest has been brewing over the 350 million coffee cups generated every year in Toronto — funnily enough, in a city three times larger, I’ve yet to hear anyone discuss cup proliferation as an issue that needs to be solved. But I DO walk down the street, and I see garbage cans, in all neighborhoods, overflowing with cups cups and more cups (and more than a few tea/energy drink/novelty drink bottles cans and boxes too). Toss a mason jar in your bag and get on with it. Please.
I is for I See Greenery... Everywhere
Join your local community garden, fill your balcony with grow boxes, or scatter seeds in vacant lots. Like the Obamas, think about feeding yourself, your neighbors, or the birds with your gardening. Or go in for a little guerilla gardening group-styles, and join the Bed-Stuy meadow project
which hopes to green every vacant lot in that neighborhood this summer. Seed bombs away!
N is for No More Homeless Animals in NYC
Now is the time to adopt or foster. With spring come kittens and puppies, and with the ongoing economic crisis, shelters are already full to overflowing. If you have ever thought of adopting, do it. I promise you, there’s no better way to enjoy the coming of warm weather than by hanging-out with a four-legged companion. BAFN
need temporary homes if you’re commitment-phobic.
G is for Go Vegetarian, One Day a Week
It’s not just an animal-rights issue anymore — meat is murder and it’s terrible for the planet. One vegetarian day a week will lessen your greenhouse-gas emissions, reduce the amounts of water and oil you consume, and give your gut a break too.