Helping In The Community

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

Most communities in this day and age have at least some initiatives to aid green living, and your community is most likely no different. If you are interested in making a difference beyond your household, then this is usually the best place to start. Looking in the local newspaper and online you can find ways of helping that you never knew existed – and it is a way of meeting like-minded people and perhaps increasing the amount you do from there.

Helping create a greener town or city is something that might start small. People are always throwing away things that they feel they have no more use for – it might be an old television or cell phone and it might be a piece of furniture. Instead of just getting rid of it, there is always another option. One such popular option is what has become known as “freecycling” – if you don’t want that old radio, the chances are that someone else will. Instead of dumping it, why not let someone have it for free?

Another way of helping in the community is setting up an awareness project. A lot of people do not realise how simple it is to live a greener lifestyle, and by making them aware of ways that they can do it you can help them and the environment. Getting involved here, at the grass roots level, you can gain people’s attention for an important cause and help them lead a simpler life.

Is Green Living Expensive?

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

The importance of being good to the environment is one that is often balanced against the expense. Many families, especially in the current financial climate, will find that they can afford either food or principles, and in such a situation the latter is always going to lose out. However, the truth is that you can be green and live affordably if you know how, although you may not be able to do everything that someone with more disposable income might.

Having little money often means you cannot live as close to work as you would like. This may rule out the short walk to work and even cycling. However, if your area is served by public transport then this may be more advantageous than driving, as it will help the environment and you may well save some money on fuel. If you live outside the main shopping catchment area but have more local stores, then you may be able to walk there and back – although this becomes harder when the local store is more expensive.

Recycling containers is something that always benefits the environment and can help you make something of leftovers. Making more food and freezing some of it means that you cut costs that way, and use less packaging into the bargain. No-one is going to blame you for unavoidable compromises, and if anyone does then they are the ones with the problem. Not you. Doing what you can is a whole lot more noble than cursing those who do less than you can.

Am I A Hypocrite?

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

In life, we must compromise from time to time. Even the principles that we hold so dear sometimes come under pressure when the situation becomes grave. And for an environmentalist the concern about compromising arises on a regular basis. If you get in the car to drive somewhere are you junking your principles? If you buy food that is not locally sourced, are you a traitor to the planet? If you let a glass jar fall into the wrong garbage bin, are you sticking your tongue out at Mother Nature?

Think about your other principles if you have a problem with the above questions. We all have principles and we cannot always live perfectly by those principles. We may always want to help the needy, but we may not be able to in every case. We may always want to think before judging, but anger can override that principle. We are human, and if you never slip in your principles then you should take a large bow, because you have managed something that hardly anyone ever does.

If you sometimes let your environmental principles slip, it is not because you are a charlatan. Sometimes we have to let one go because there is a reason we cannot live up to it. Sometimes we make mistakes and we cannot just repair them. As long as you live your life by sound general principles, a mistake can be forgotten and forgiven – but breaking them when it suits you is another matter, and one that is harder to justify.

Stealth Tax Or Necessary Expense?

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

Any big plan to make a difference in the world, in this day and age, is likely to be met by at least one person, and probably several more with the question “And who’s paying for all this?”. It is typically a rhetorical question, although they’re usually prepared to offer the answer themselves anyway. The implication, or the bald statement is that they fully expect the cost of the project to come out of their taxes and they don’t much appreciate this frittering away of their hard-earned cash.

Now, there are arguments to be made for and against that argument. Certainly, there always ought to be some consultation before any municipal or federal body spends tax money on a big project. However, the idea that all environmental projects amount to stealth taxes on the citizen is one that falls somewhat wide of the mark. As often as not, the funds are raised for these projects entirely separately from the tax levy – and equally often, the projects concerned are for the betterment of the area as a whole.

The idea that governments are prepared to visibly cock a snook at their taxpayers to fund an unpopular pet project defies political logic, apart from anything else. Environmental projects are rarely, if ever, just an excuse to milk the taxpayer for a few extra coins. More often, they are designed to stop a blossoming problem before it becomes a crisis. If we ignore the various problems that may arise, who will be paying? Us, our kids, and generations to come.

Eco Warrior Or Concerned Citizen?

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

The idea of environmental concern has been twisted by many people into something that is practised by people who are prepared to blow away everything that is considered normal and reasonable. Let recycling take hold, say some, and it will be no time at all before the environmental lobby are forcing us to place wind turbines on our roofs and make our own electricity by jumping on a treadmill to save the planet’s resources.

Therefore, people who have considered making a difference to the state of our environment start to reconsider. “I’d like to live in a greener way, but I’m not some kind of totalitarian eco-warrior and I don’t want people to think I am” is a fairly common concern of a number of people. And it’s reasonable enough because no-one wants to be the subject of ridicule. But it doesn’t need to be that black and white, or green and white.

You can make a difference in the home without going on marches. Just because you re-use an empty milk carton it doesn’t mean you are going to set fire to your neighbor’s car. You can help the environment without becoming an anarcho-terrorist. There is a world of difference between valuing the future of your planet, your country or your town and suddenly wanting to take over the world. So try not to listen to the skeptics. It’s easy to understand their position, but letting them change your mind without really presenting a coherent argument is not so easy to understand.

To Cycle Or To Recycle?

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

Some years ago the idea of cycling to work, or to anywhere that was more than a matter of minutes away, became about as fashionable as flared corduroy trousers. Arrive at the office with leaves stuck to your face and hair like a bowl of stiff spaghetti? You might as well have suggested that someone travel to work on a pogo stick. However, cycling now seems to be back in vogue, and not just because it helps the planet.

We all know that cycling is a good way of keeping fit. This is one reason why a lot of people are intrigued by the idea of leaving the car at home and hopping on their bike. There is also the fact that cyclists can go where no motorist can – enabling short cuts that get you to work before anyone else. And yes, there is the environmental aspect of the process. When the traffic is sitting gridlocked during what we laughingly refer to as “rush-hour”, it’s belching out fumes. A cyclist making the same journey gets there quicker and releases far fewer noxious gases.

This idea is so popular that there are now major municipalities the world over sponsoring cycle-hire programs. London is the latest to unveil such a program, and there are many more set to follow. There may be teething troubles along the way, but if you are looking for a way to get to work without having to brave long queues, then this is a good one – and many office buildings now have showers to enable you to clean up before sitting down to work.

But Why Shouldn’t I Drive?

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

One of the most difficult tightropes to walk in life is the one between owning and driving a car and being an environmentalist. On the one hand, you have worked and saved to own the vehicle and are justifiably proud of it, but on the other you know that by driving it you are not being kind to the environment. And then there are other people who seem to feel, and will even state, that for every tree planted by an environmentalist group, they will produce all the more pollution to make the difference.

Is it possible to be a motorist and an environmentalist? Yes, it must be said that it is. Yes, every car will after a certain point contribute to pollution, but responsible motoring is less problematic for the environment than a lot of things that are allowed to slide. If you are driving a car that gets about twenty miles to the gallon, then you are not motoring responsibly. But equally, you cannot be expected to walk a hundred miles to somewhere remote.

Think about how necessary the journey you are about to make is. Think about whether it can be undertaken, economically, by some other means. Think about how long it will take and how big a dent it will make in the environment. If it is necessary and cannot be done in any other way, then you are no traitor to the planet – but motoring is a privilege and we should not abuse it.

What is Sustainable Living?

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

The world has plenty of problems, and often you will find that friends or neighbors are skeptical that you choose the environment as one of your issues. When we stand at threat from terrorism, from crime in our towns and cities, and when there are potential new threats to our health from this thing or that thing, someone will always ask “Why are you bothering with recycling?”. The simple reason to give in response is that just because there are other problems, it doesn’t mean you cannot deal with this one.

Sustainable living is a concept that is catching on among people, perhaps slower than would be ideal but there is no doubt that it is gaining currency. The idea is that, rather than just throwing away the old, or using fuel that cannot easily be replaced, one uses things which are replaceable and reusable. If you are finished with a pickle jar, why throw it in the trash when it could be used to hold something else? That is the concept, on a small scale.

On a larger scale it involves using fuel that comes from easily-grown crops or from the environment itself – things we cannot run out of. For the planet to produce coal, oil or natural gas requires decades, even centuries of movement, and once it’s gone we cannot just go out for more. If we are careful with the things our planet bestows, we will have more of them for when we really need them.

Dealing With Skeptical People

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

There is an ugly vein of skepticism which runs through a large part of society. It’s understandable, we all have our cynical side and that’s important – no-one wants to be gullible even if we want to think the best of people and organisations. But skepticism for the sake of it is so pointless. If we all thought “What’s the point?” about things that didn’t immediately profit us then the world would be in big trouble – and not from global warming, but from global apathy.

If you start to be active in green issues, even if it is just separating your garbage for recycling, then there is a real chance that someone will look at you and ask “why are you doing that?”. Any answer that you give them will be met with a scornful remark and some laughter. And while you may feel like strangling the person who does this, that is not really in the spirit of looking after the planet and its people. You might also feel like giving up, but don’t do that either.

It’s not even about converting others. People will come to their own conclusions and very few skeptics will be won over by an impassioned speech on our planet and what we need to do to look after it. All you can really do is get on with what you are doing. In time, maybe the skeptical neighbor will come round to your way of thinking. Maybe they won’t. But if you let the knee-jerk skeptics grind you down, they’ll be insufferable.

It’s Your Planet

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

Green living is something that attracts enthusiasm and scorn in seemingly equal measures. For every person who embraces the idea as something that we all should do, there are at least a few who will view it as a “scam” and a way of getting money out of people by tripping their guilt reflex. For someone who is keen to avoid making anyone angry, it can be a difficult balance to strike. But when it comes down to it, the fact is that there is a lot of merit in living in an environmentally friendly way.

Now, this does not mean that you have to throw out your possessions and replace them with greener alternatives. You don’t have to massively disrupt your life to make it green. What you need to look at is the ways that you may be polluting or contributing to an environmentally unfriendly world and thinking how you could change things for the better – every long journey starts with a single step. If it is a simple matter of recycling your newspapers or walking instead of driving short distances, that’s fine.

What you will find is that living in a green way does not put you to very much extra effort. You won’t be able to drive back global warming or air pollution all on your own, but the difference you can make in your own area without having to go to immense lengths is really something. And once you’ve got the ball rolling, you’ll see a lot of other changes that you can make.

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