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Sunday, 10 February 2013





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Green living:

A mutually beneficial partnership

In recent years, terms such as ‘green-living’ and ‘eco-friendly’ have become buzzwords on talk shows, commercials and product packaging. The term ‘green-living’ has been used for so many products and practices, its meaning is in danger of being lost. By understanding the true meaning of green-living, we can implement the practices that will lead to healthier living and a cleaner planet.

Green living means that we choose to lead a simple life while always keeping the safety of environment in mind

Green-living literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources such as water and energy. Green-living products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution. You can engage in green-living habits or practices by being more conscious of how you use resources.

Making a truly green-living product keeps both environmental and human safety in mind. At a minimum, the product is non-toxic. Other green-living attributes include the use of sustainably grown or raised ingredients, produced in ways that do not deplete the ecosystem. Organic ingredients or materials are grown without toxic pesticides or herbicides.

Products with “made from recycled materials” contain glass, wood, metal or plastic reclaimed from waste products and made into something new. Biodegradable products break down through natural decomposition, which is less taxing on landfills and the ecosystem as a whole.

When it comes to the environment, being a good global citizen starts at our doorstep. Sometimes it seems like greening your home requires a master’s degree, a lot of money and endless amounts of time. Fortunately, there are some very easy ways to green your home to make it easier on the environment and on your pocketbook. You can save money on utilities, cut down on waste, and maybe even get a little uncluttering in while you’re at it.


It’s time that our society starts recognising what choices and sacrifices go into truly being green, so that the practice doesn’t just get lip service - it’s something all of us truly understand.

First and foremost in being green we must have an understanding of where our consumer goods originate. Where were the products made? What materials are contained in these products? Are these products harmful to our families and community? Were people or other life displaced to make this product? How many natural resources were used to make this product? Will this action create more pollution or less?

While this may sound overwhelming, all it takes is education. If you read the labels, ask questions, look up information from reliable sources, and most of all keep an open mind, it would not be a difficult task.

3 Rs

Moving vehicles cause severe air pollution in cities and become a threat to green living

One of the easiest first steps in living green is using the three Rs: Recycle, reuse and reduce.

Did you know that you can never really throw anything away? You can put your trash out for collection, but it doesn’t really go away. In actuality, all you’ve done is simply had it moved from one location to another. It stays on the planet…in the land, in the air and in the water. And with every passing day it’s becoming more of a burden in terms of air pollution, water pollution and a toxic environment.

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why should I recycle?” The best reason is to keep the planet a cleaner and safer place to live in. At least, you owe it to your future generations. Recycling reduces greenhouse gases and air and water pollution that results from the use of raw materials - and saves resources and energy.

Everything we consume uses some amount of raw material and energy for its manufacture. We can save both by reusing materials that have already been mined, collected, refined or processed.

So what do you do with your trash? The best thing you can do for the planet is to Reduce Reuse Recycle the amount of waste you produce. The things you can do are numerous. Let me cite a few examples:

- Consume less
- Buy items with less or no packaging
- Reuse and recycle items
- Compost food scraps and yard clippings
- Buy used products
- Sell or donate stuff you no longer need or want
- Use things to the end
- Buy recycled products

Daily choices

Examining your daily choices is a great first step towards going green. You are in the driver’s seat. Let me give you some guidelines for creating change with helpful going green tips.

The biggest enemy of green living is known as ‘Consumerism’. It is the concept of purchasing above and beyond your basic needs. The Industrial Revolution paved the way for mass consumerism. It created an era of abundance. Mass production led to increased availability of products at a lower cost.

While rampant consumerism is associated with modern society and a desire for status, it is not a new idea. Wasteful consumption, however, is contributing to our carbon footprint, the greenhouse effect and global warming. You can fight against consumerism and win.

Taking out the trash

The next issue is, “How do I reduce my trash?” My own path to going green at home has led me to make some significant changes in my life. By recycling and composting, I have managed to reduce my trash to less than one standard trash bag a week for a family of four, and some weeks even less.

I have switched to cloth kitchen towels and napkins and have replaced all my light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. These changes reduce my use of paper towels and napkins and help me to conserve energy.

Conserving energy

I’ve cut down by half using my air-conditioner and have been careful to keep lights, fans and televisions off when not in use. For two months in a row I’ve cut my electricity bill by more than one-third. Green-living is not only good for the planet, but also easy on my cheque book.

If you could reduce your energy bill to one-sixth of the average, would you cut back? One family of four did. By taking a closer look at their lifestyle choices and making a commitment to going green in a big way, they made huge savings. They figured out how to save electricity by eliminating unnecessary luxuries and cutting back on the use of electrical appliances and gadgets in their home.

For example, starting a compost pile at home is easier than you might think. It’s not the messy, smelly heap you might have envisioned. For me, it’s the best alternative to throwing it in the trash. Composting your organic waste keeps it out of the garbage dump. Another benefit is that it puts nutrients back into the soil you use for organic vegetable gardening or cultivating ornamentals.

If you examine closely your expenditure of resources, you too will find excesses. Saving energy and preserving resources make cents and rupees. What is going green worth to you?

Take by stages

Learning to desire less - and teaching your children if you have them to make do, reuse, and live with less - could be the most green-living change you can make.

When you make changes, the main thing to remember is to take it slowly. Don’t feel like you have to do everything at once? Instead, choose one or two areas in your life to begin with, and maybe one or two items to change within those areas, then work from there.

Developing an environmental-friendly lifestyle is not something you can do all in one go. But it is a lifestyle change worth working on, however long it takes you.

Green living, carbon footprint, environmental consciousness …they may be buzzwords, but a greener lifestyle makes both logical and economic sense. Green-living means not only minimising our negative impact on the environment, but also any negative impact our environment, be it natural or man-made, may have on us. After all, we are part of the ecosystem. Living a greener, healthier life doesn’t have to involve expensive dramatic changes such as installing a solar power system. It can be as simple as making logical choices on a daily basis.


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