‘Go green’ for the sake of the planet

By Marie Snider

About 20-25 years ago when the “green” movement was young, I took a short leave from work to research how our family could live more environmentally-friendly.
At that time, we had been advised that coloured toilet paper was bad for the environment. Though disappointed, most of us gave up our co-ordinated bathrooms.
We all did a little recycling, but the environmental movement as such hadn’t taken off.
I especially wanted to research which products were harmful for the environment and for our family. And I wanted to find out where to buy the environmentally-friendly ones.
And that’s when I first became acquainted with Seventh Generation (now gaiam.com). So before local stores carried recycled paper products and healthy cleaning supplies, I ordered recycled toilet paper and healthy dish soap from Seventh Generation.
For 25 years, I have been an environmentalist of sorts. But I often get lax. Not taking my cloth bags to the grocery store, not turning off the lights when I leave a room. Letting the water run, leaving my computer on overnight, drinking bottled water at times.
So it was time for me to have a reminder. That reminder came in the form of a book from our church library entitled “Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth and Get Rich Trying” by David Bach.
Bach is an internationally-renowned financial expert with a mission. He is very concerned about the state of the planet. But he also knows that money “talks,” so he gives us a list of things that can help the planet and save money at the same time.
Bach reports that Americans drink 100 billion cups of coffee a year–14.4 billion in disposable cups. “Enough to wrap the Earth 55 times if placed end to end . . . enough energy to heat 8,300 homes for a year.”
In addition, we use one billion bottles of bottled water a week—even though one in four bottles is tap water repackaged by Coke and Pepsi. It costs nearly 2,500 times more than water from your faucet and leaves us wallowing in piles of plastic bottles.
“Shop Green, Spend Less” says Bach and tells us how. Buy in bulk and buy larger sizes for two reasons. Your grocery bill will be less, and containers and packaging make up 31 percent of all solid waste.
Take your own bags to the grocery store. Every year 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide.
Grow your own “veggies” or go to your local farmers’ market. You’ll have better produce and better prices. Bach reminds us of a bumper sticker, “If you bought it, a truck brought it”–usually 1,500-2,500 miles.
Buy recycled toilet paper and save $40 a year, and we all could save 19 million trees.
The average household spends $600 a year for toxic cleaning supplies when baking soda, club soda, vinegar, and salt would do just as well.
The list goes on–drive less, go on fewer trips, lower your thermostat.
Bach says he wrote the book because he believes “that each of has the power to make a difference.”
Are you willing to take the challenge and make a difference for the good of the planet?
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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