As we say goodbye to 2008 and welcome in the New Year, millions of people will be making New Year's Resolutions. Exercise equipment will fly off store-room floors and shelves as people resolve that this is the year that they will lose weight and get in shape. Resolutions such as these are great if you stick with them. Here are some changes that you can make right now to start off the New Year "Green".
Change a light bulb. You have probably heard this many times before but this is one of the easiest things you can do for the environment. By changing your light bulbs over to either compact fluorescents or LED bulbs you will also save money on your electric bill. According to a New York Times article last December, a bill was passed so that by the year 2012 all inefficient incandescent light bulbs will no longer be sold in stores. If you cannot change your current light bulbs all at once because of the higher cost, just change one or two at a time, or go room by room. Every little bit helps.
Sleep "green". I know it is a bit early for spring cleaning and the ritualistic airing out of the mattress, but put some thought into investing in organic mattresses, bedding and pajamas. We spend one-third of our lives sleeping and if you are doing so on a conventional mattress, you are breathing in some pretty nasty stuff. All mattresses and much of kids' sleepwear are now coated in a cocktail of flame-retardant chemicals classified as Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) This toxic brew includes Antimony Trioxide and are classified as neurotoxins and possible carcinogens. They are linked to learning disabilities and even seizures. There are many companies that offer chemical-free alternatives to help you cut back on inhaling and absorbing these dangerous toxins. If you find organic mattresses unaffordable, you can wrap your current mattresses to prevent out-gassing. *See Resources.
Go cloth. We are talking diapers and bags here. Manufacturing of plastic diapers and bags are a huge contributor to environmental pollution and are disposed of in massive amounts. Plastic bags can take a thousand years to decompose, and plastic diapers, five hundred years! Many consumers have made the switch to more economical cloth that helps save money and natural resources. Opt for organic cotton whenever possible so that you are not contributing to the way conventional cotton farmers pollute with pesticides.
Shop local. Scout out your local farmer's markets and health food stores and find out where their produce comes from. Look for CSA's nearby where you can get in-season, organic, locally-grown produce. Shopping local insures that you are getting fresh food that hasn't traveled thousands of miles to get to your table. You are also helping to save fuel and lessen greenhouse gas emissions.
Build "green". If you are planning on doing any home building or remodeling projects in the coming year, consider more eco-friendly options. By choosing bamboo or maple flooring, reclaimed wood cabinets and furniture, energy efficient windows, VOC-free paint, denim insulation, recycled glass countertops, solar or wind power, a tankless water heater and Energy Star appliances you are taking a huge step towards a healthier home for you and your family. You are also reducing indoor and outdoor pollution which is wonderful for the environment.
Take the time to make changes throughout the year and make it a great 2008. These small steps can add up to significant savings financially, physically and help preserve the Earth and its God-given natural resources for future generations.
Organic Mattresses & Bedding
Mattress Wrapping Info
Additional Mattress Wrapping Info
Local Farmer's Markets & CSA's
Written by Sarah Outlaw originally for Natural Life 101.