Going Green: One Month at a Time

January: It's the start of a new year! It is time to sit down and make this year's resolutions. This year, decide to go green by living a sustainable lifestyle. One way to do this is by reducing your meat intake. This decision will significantly decrease your risk of obesity, cancer, and heart disease, as well as help the planet. The meat you eat comes from a sector that generates as much greenhouse gas emissions than all automobiles combined. There are plenty of ideas out there for you to make vegetarian dishes that leave you feeling happier and healthier.

February: About to run a small load of laundry? Try to wait until the washing machine is full to wash your clothes. Did you know that while nearly 70 percent of the world is covered by water, only 2.5 percent of it is fresh. Do your part to refrain from water pollution.

March: Make a trip to your local farmer's market, to select from a variety of locally grown foods. Don't forget to pack your reusable grocery bag! Not only are you supporting sustainable agriculture, you are also contributing to the local economy!

April: Make the switch to non-toxic cleaning supplies for your spring cleaning. While you are at it, you should also skip the paper towel to use a wash rag while wiping down surfaces.

May: I'm sure you have plenty of old clothes in your closet or dresser that that you could blow the dust off of. Take this month and donate to a consignment shop near you! During your visit to drop off your donation, take a look around inside to see if there's any cute finds that catch your eye. It's a win win—you are helping the environment while saving a pretty penny.

June: Use a cup! I know this one sounds easy, but it's less hustle to grab a water bottle than to get a cup, put ice in it, and fill it with your drink. But it is worth it. Have you ever gone to the beach and seen all of the plastic that gets washed up on the shore? By making this small step, you can save money while lowering the amount of plastic waste.

July: Ah, summer is the best time to sit by the pool and refresh by drinking some cold home-squeezed lemonade and eat some juicy watermelon. After you squeeze your lemons and cut the watermelon, leaving the rims, DO NOT THROW THEM AWAY! It is so important to start a compost bin in your home! By composting, you are keeping these organic materials our of our landfills, where they take up space and release methane, which is a common greenhouse gas that is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Here is a list of the most common compostable items: Fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, nut shells, cardboard, paper, yard trimmings, grass clippings, houseplants, leaves, and wood chips.

August: This month, start the habit of closing your blinds and curtains during warm weather to reduce the usage of ceiling fans, portable fans that plug into the wall, and air-conditioning. Reduce your bill and your human impact on the environment by doing one thing that takes less than 5 seconds!

September: Make the switch to LED light bulbs. Like most things you can do on this list to save the environment, this switch saves you money as well. LED light bulbs bring down your energy bill while being much more efficient and environmentally friendly when compared to traditional lighting.

October: Unplug all of your electronics when they are not being used. Keeping electronic appliances plugged in overnight contributes to air pollution and global climate change. Reducing energy usage can save you money and reduce power plant emissions, which are responsible for 28 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

November: Mmmm it's turkey time! With thanksgiving comes lots and lots of food, which means lots and lots of leftovers. Challenge yourself this month to eat all of your leftovers. Throwing food waste away can be damaging to the environment. Instead of throwing out your browning bananas that you didn't eat, try making a banana pudding instead!

December: Donate! Donate! Donate! During this holiday season, many families are unable to afford to put food on the table, let alone buy gifts for their children and families. Please consider donating to your local food banks and food pantries to reduce food waste, while helping families in need. Not only are you reducing food waste in landfills, you are saving someone's Christmas.

Sources:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/freshwater-crisis/

https://www.epa.gov/gmi/importance-methane

https://www.c2es.org/content/regulating-power-sector-carbon-emissions/

https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/sustainable-agriculture/eco-farming/eat-more-plants/