Turn off the tap

The Green Book by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen (under $15.00): contains many practical suggestions that are easy to understand, easy to incorporate into our lives, and often eye opening.

The book is divided into chapters, each reflecting a part of our busy lives – Home, School, Entertainment, Travel, Shopping and so forth.  In between each chapter is an essay from a celebrity writing about environmental activism, or just personal “greenness”, fitting into each of their lives.

Most suggestions involve simply making good choices without changing your life, such as:

~Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and conserve up to 5 gallons of water a day.

~Keeping your fireplace damper closed when the fireplace is not in use. An open damper could let 8 percent of the heat in your house escape.  Similarly, in the summer, cool air escapes.

~Requesting no plastic garment bags over your dry cleaned clothes, and returning hangers to the dry cleaners instead of throwing them away.

~Buying only pure cotton balls. Some are made with part polyester, the production of which uses 67 percent more energy than the pure cotton ball.

~Not asking for ATM receipts.  They create more litter than we would have guessed; the authors estimate that if we all stopped requesting our receipts, the amount of paper saved could circle the Equator 15 times!

It’s Easy Being Green by Crissy Trask ($5.18):

This book is also packed with many useful tips for people who want to do the right thing to help the planet but don’t know where to start.  A suggestion that resonated with us is that many of us don’t do more than the minimum mandatory recycling.  If all of us made the simple changes recommended in this book, the impact on the planet would be significant.  In addition to offering advice on how to recycle almost everything, it also makes useful suggestions for tackling routine tasks such as building an efficient fire in your fireplace and eliminating leaks in your house.

A few examples of changes we all can make very easily:

~Plastic bags are the devil and will still be in landfills in the year 4000!  Bring home groceries in a reusable bag. The Container Store has nice ones for $8.99.

~Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer.  They use 50 percent less energy when plugged in and 99 percent less energy when running on batteries.

~ Wash clothes on the warm and cold settings instead of hot,and we’ll use 80 to 85 percent less energy.

~Send electronic greeting cards instead of paper ones.  There are several websites that make this easy, such as: www.hallemark.com, and http://www.jacquielawson.com/.

Both books are made from recycled paper. Both books define many of the terms or “eco labels” we hear daily.  Both books provide extensive on- line sources for buying green, living green, or just knowing green.

Need more tips? The Environmental Working Group has many ideas and recommendations. http://www.ewg.org/

~Do you have a favorite “green” idea?  If so please email us at asharpeye@gmail.com.  We will compile them into a second article.  Thank you for your help!