Friday, March 27, 2009

How and Why of Going Green

The “How and Why” of Going Green

Today there is a growing awareness about the need to become “Green.” However, many people are still unaware of what they should do to really make a difference. This is the first of a series of Green Blogs that will share some significant information that will help you to be aware of the situation and how to implement some of the Green Best Practices that are practical and affordable.

Why should we be concerned about implementing Green Best Practices in our homes and in our community? There are 3 reasons.

1. Reduce the Effects of Global Warming. While there is some controversy over whether or not the fuel we consume contributes to Global Warming, or if we can still reduce enough to make a difference will yet to be determined. However, is the statistics of the changes that are occuring to our planet is alarming. For most people, they would prefer to err on the side of reducing one’s carbon footprint rather than wishing later that we had taken action when we could.
2. Improve the Quality of our Natural Resources. Our natural resources are depleted. We do not have clean air, clean water, clean soil. We have too few trees, too few native plants, and too few animals in their natural habitat.
3. Improve Our Health Today We have seen an increase in the number of health ailments directly related to our unclean environment today. There is an increase in asthma, allergies, cancer, attention deficit disorder and other physical and emotional difficulties. These have been associated with the chemicals and toxins in our food, products we use, and our lack of a natural environment.

What are some things we should do? There are 4 types of changes we need to make:
1. Use less fuel and utilize alternative energy sources. While you may not be able to afford a hybrid car, you can do other things to reduce your fuel consumption such as, drive less, use a bicycle or a motor scooter. Replace appliances with solar or energy efficient brands. Turn off the lights in your home and use cfl’s.
2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Theese actions need to be done in order. The first thing is that we want to use less and consume less. This reduces the amount of products in our landfills. Landfills are one the biggest sources of green house gas that affects the environment and a source of toxins in our water and soil. The most important items that need to be reduced are plastic grocery bags, plastic water bottles, and product packaging.
3. Use Product from Natural and Sustainable Sources Most popular would be bamboo or corn instead of wood from trees or plastics. Our food, household products, and personal care products should also not contain artificial ingredients, colors and artificial fragrances. Products can receive a seal of certification that their ingredients are natural and there are websites that will tell you about the ingredients of the products.
4. Purchase from Green Companies. It is popular today to let others know you are a “green” company. However, there continues to be those who are misinformed about what being green means and thus may be “greenwashing.” See: It is up to you the consumer to know some of the criteria for choosing a green company. Here are two questions to ask:

Do they have a green product or service? This would be something that has a
direct impact on reducing greenhouse gases, part of the reduce, re-use, recycle
process, or reduces the effect on our natural resources. Scientific studies also should indicate that they have done their homework and their product is effective.

Do they implement best green practices in their organization?
For example, while a real estate person may not have a green product or service,
but as a company they implement best practices. Among other things, they would decide to
not use disposable cups, plates, and other such items.

There are organizations that are recognizing other organizations for following best
practices. A couple examples would be the Climate Neutral Award, the Stevie
Award, or FGBC (Florida Green Building Council). But most importantly, you can
check out an organization’s website for more information about what they are doing
to implement Best Green Practices. This is usually found under a link from the
home webpage to information about the company.

Going Green is a Win-Win situation. It helps to reduce Global warming, protect our natural resources, makes us more healthy, and is good for the economy. Knowing some of the best practices and making a commitment to implementing some changes can make a difference.

To find out more details, please continue on with the next blog in this Green series:
How Can Cleaning Your Home or Office Make a Difference to the Environment?

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