1) Be thrifty
How do the greenest among us afford all that fancy organic produce and those swanky tankless water heaters? Easy –they don’t spend their money on much else!
Nothing, absolutely nothing, will ever green you up faster than using less of whatever it is that you use –borrow, scale back, repair, reuse, repurpose, barter, find it used, or just skip it entirely. Get thrifty, seriously thrifty. Watch the money pile up and tread a little lighter on the earth at the same time.
2) Be patient
We tend to create emergencies in our lives which justify a quick fix or urgent purchase: the plastic snow shovel in a March squall, the parka during the downpour, the gas station coffee every other morning. Not only are some of these quick fixes overly expensive, but often they are shoddy, disposable products. The green tend to wait it out or to get by with what’s on hand.
That being said, not all “emergencies” are so frivolous. Many times frustration or a need for escape can push us into a panic over something a little more substantial. If you are thinking about a larger purchase or radical lifestyle change, give yourself time to consciously attempt living without it before you make your final decision. Cooler heads make for greener people.
3) Be confident
Face it, there are untold billions of dollars spent every year in order to convince each and every one of us to center our lives around consumption –-and it is working. Being the one that has a problem with it all can be an isolating experience. Marketers have begun to play on our fears of alienation by stamping “green” on the side of just about anything. Opt out, scrutinize, and ignore the claims of anything that has a price tag on it.
4) Be observant
Greener people keep an eye out for the little things. They know that carbon footprints can shrink by a thousand cuts: packing freezers, cranking down/up thermostats, and displacing the water in toilet tanks are all tiny contributors to a greener life. To make those changes, you have to be looking for them.
5) Be generous
The more junk you accumulate the more time and resources it takes to maintain, store, and enjoy all of that wonderful stuff! Give or loan unused and underused things away to others and not only will it reduce the environmental impact of both parties, but your things can go from collecting dust to doing whatever it is that they were intended to do.
6) Be sociable
As an aspiring green human being, it is your duty to become an active member of your community. Whether it’s an exchange of ideas, used sporting goods, or seeds participation is a key element to making greener neighbors and selves. Do not assume just because your neighbors overdo it with the 10-10-10 that you have nothing to learn from them. Relax a little and open your life to the people in your community. Greener folks know that shrugging off the consumer yolk is just the first agonizing step, becoming citizens is the ultimate goal.
7) Be self-aware
It is no secret that stepping back from entrenched habits and lifestyle choices can be a major boon to your daily carbon quotient. The green mindset is always asking “Can I really get by with no car, less living space, or a simpler lifestyle?” The answer is that unless you are living in a lean-to in the forest, you most definitely can, but we all have comforts and conveniences that we cling to in spite of better knowledge. It’s that admission and the continuing search for alternatives which makes one green in the first place though, isn’t it?
Go to the original article to see additional suggestions in the comments section. I really like #6 – Being a positive part of the community is of major importance, especially if you want to see sustainable changes close to home. Even just picking one of these habits to start with could change your life drastically. Remember, even the smallest steps make lasting imprints!
Photo from ways-to-go-green.com