When you think of a lifestyle change, the imagination tends to picture a cataclysmic upheaval topped off with a hefty amount of hard work and struggle. That's when, all of a sudden, you change your mind and find peace with the static way things are. However, lifestyle changes can actually be extremely simple. Furthermore, they can make a big difference--if you know how to bite off the right sized modifications, that is.
“Going green” is all the rave right now, and yes, you can be a part of this movement without having to devote too much time or mental energy into your actions. Let's tackle the basics first: what does “going green” even mean? Well green newbies, or Greenbies, rather, “going green” is a term used to describe the process of changing our lifestyles in order to secure the safety of our environment. If you were to go green you would make decisions affecting your quotidian habits that could have an impact on the environment (i.e. global warming, pollution, destruction of animal habitats, and other environmental concerns). It's hard to see any setbacks now, huh?
Now that we have the gist on going green, let’s work on alleviating our fear of the daunting lifestyle change. Here are a few practical and SIMPLE actions you can practice on the daily, according to GreenNYC:
Switch your lightbulbs: switching from traditional lightbulbs to Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) is the most cost-effective way to reduce your energy use. These super bulbs will last 10 times as long and save you up to 25% every month on your electricity bill. Simple, or what?
Fully load the dishwasher and washing machine (preferably with cold water): this will save both water and energy, especially if you air-dry the goods. Using cold water will clean your clothes while also saving nearly 90% of the energy used in a traditional wash cycle. Cold water keeps clothes brighter--another plus!
Sign up for Green Power (it's just like a superpower, but not really ): did you know that if just 10% of New Yorkers alone purchased pollution-free electricity, it would prevent three billion pounds of CO2 from reaching the atmosphere every year? And it’s easy! Sign up for green power here.
Jetsam that junk mail: not only is junk mail annoying, it’s also incredibly wasteful. The 80 billion pieces of junk mail Americans receive annually (that’s right, 80 billion) create over 4 million tons of paper waste. Learn how to stop receiving that junk (mail) here.
On The Go:
Ride your bike or use public transportation: NYC has over 620 miles of bike lanes for you to use. However, be wary of cabs because they are often not wary of you. This habit is fun, good for you, and great for the environment too! Learn more about cycling in NYC here.
Use reusable bottles and bags: styrofoam cups? Get outa here. Plastic? Paper? We don’t want you anymore. Replace those one-time use cups with a sustainable and stylish bottle or mug. And consider the money you will be saving as an extra perk! The next time you go shopping, bring along a reusable bag or two and you can be instrumental in eliminating the 100 million pounds of disposable bags Americans use annually.
And the simplest of all… drink tap water: unlike many other places in the world, or even America, NYC offers tap water that is pure, clean, refreshing, and yes you health enthusiasts, calorie-free. Drinking tap water, rather than using plastic water bottles, is better for the environment and your wallet. Learn more about NYC water here.
So what are you waiting for? Don't delay, go green today!