What Shade of Green Are You?

Have you thought about living your life in a “greener” way but maybe wonder how on Earth (pun intended) to incorporate it?

Recently our kids received a box of art supplies tucked neatly into a tiny white box made of recycled cardboard. It didn’t take long for that box to get destroyed as our anxious ones tore it open to find an assortment of many bright and vivid colors of soy crayons in the most lovely shades of violet, tangerine and my favorite…Blue. Good old fashion blue – boring? Well, let me spice things up a bit by saying ANY and ALL shades of blue! Yeah that’s right…I am really wild like that *wink*

That is when the thought came to me on living green. I love living green and I was recently asked a hard question, “how do you define green”. Well, technically I could have come up with an answer but to my defense – it was DURING Easter brunch! That is a thought provoking question to be asked when your mouth is stuffed full of homemade muffins, rolls and fresh fruit salad!

But the beauty of our little box of crayons made me realize a very important thing. I have always believed that we can all be green just by making small changes everyday – but I also believe that there is not at all the “perfect” shade of green. Depending on our lifestyles, financial circumstances, geographical locations etc, we just have to be the best shade of green that we can be with every choice we make.

So where do we begin? Anywhere! Everywhere! There are so many awesome things that each of us can do every single day to not only create a healthier lifestyle and home for ourselves – but for our planet as well. I have created a small list of changes that we can all make that do not cost much and in fact, just might save you “green” at the end of the day! So if you are “celadon” but find that cadmium green is more your shade…try making just a few changes and see how great it feels 🙂

1. Stop using dyer sheets that contain harsh and unnecessary chemicals and instead spritz your clothes with a refreshing essential oil!

2. Throw out plastic containers as they can leach nasty and unhealthy chemicals such as BPA into your food. Use glass instead!

3. Purchase fresh foods as much as possible. The second best choice is frozen since studies are showing that cans may also be leaching BPA into the foods. Support your local farmer’s by purchasing your fresh goodies at your Farmer’s Market.

4. Do not use air freshener sprays – they contain harsh chemicals and fragrances that you are inhaling. Rather, fill a small spritzer bottle with several drops of your favorite essential oil and some water. This is a much healthier way to add a lovely scent to any room.

5. Fill your cleaning bin with two simple and healthier alternatives to toxic cleaners….baking soda and vinegar. These work great and cost much less than traditional cleaners.

6. Turn off your lights. Open curtains and enjoy some natural sunlight!

7. Replace your old light bulbs with CFL’s!

8. Use your library – there are so many ways to use this resource including books, CD’s and movies!

9. Unplug electronics that are not in use as they can continue to use energy long after your energy runs out!

10. Walk or ride your bike to get where you need to go rather than driving. Not only are you avoiding carbon emissions, but you are getting a healthy workout too! It’s a win-win!

11. Fix leaky faucets and for just a few dollars you can add a low-flow faucet head to greatly reduce the amount of water you are using.

12. Only do full loads of dishes and laundry, choose shorter cycles and turn your water temperature to cold in the washer (your clothes will still get clean)!

13. Use reusable bags when shopping. If you feel that you cannot afford to buy them, reuse the ones they give you at the store.

14. Pay your bills online

15. Use scrap paper for your “to-do” lists. Always use the back sides of papers – many come home with our children from school each and every day!

16. Before buying anything new, use Ebay, Craigslist or Freecycle.

17. Never again use paper towels, and instead use old towels, t-shirts or cloths to wipe up messes.

18. Plant a vegetable garden. Don’t have the space? Plant a container garden!

19. Use rechargeable batteries

20. Recycle!!!

21. Involve your children in all of the above – and they might really surprise you at how excited they become in preserving our Earth!

There are so many shades of green, so no matter whether you are Chartreuse or a bold Dartmouth Green….always remember that no one shade is perfect! We all just do the best we can do while leaving a lighter footstep for the next generation!

Written By: Lynn Stone (smilinggreenmom)

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