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Earth Day 2010 – 40 greener things I’d like to do this year

April 22, 2010

Big old knobby trees make me daydream.

To celebrate Earth Day this year I thought about 40 things I can actually do to make life a little greener, use a little less of everything and improve the quality of my life at home. I took the first step two years ago by moving to an Energy-Star rated townhome that is  close to work. I cut 50 miles a day in driving and since I’m close to work, I was able to commute with my husband most days. We figured that we saved more than $3,000 a year in gasoline alone.

At some point I asked myself, what else could I do? I’m still raising a family. I’d still like some space. I still want to be comfortable. The line is drawn, however, at taking on any more debt with my green living decisions.  So here is a simple to-do list for this year.

1. Change one habit.
2. Make a list of earth friendly things you’d like to do this month.
3. Dust off the bicycle.
4. Use the kid cart and the bike to ride to the grocery store.
5. Recycle more junk mail.
6. Use yogurt cups and butter containers as pots for seed starters.
7. Start an indoor lettuce garden.
8. Wait until the temperatures hit 90 to turn the air conditioning on.
9. Commit this phrase to memory: Do you really need it?
10. Schedule an energy audit every 5 years. Even a high performance townhome will need a check-up down the road.
11. Transition all remaining light bulbs to energy efficient ones.
12. Do a better job of using your programmable thermostat.
13. Fashion reinvention – Take out the sewing machine and reinvent something in the closet
14. Take a serious look at hybrid cars for your next purchase.
15. Invest in one solar gadget.
16. Hang more clothing to dry in the laundry room.
17. Get the kids to hang up their clothes rather than just toss it in the laundry basket.
18. Establish a family meeting to discuss recycling rules and water use.
19. Make a plan to visit every local farm market this summer
20. Find the local farmers with eggs, milk and honey.
21. Unplug all small appliances that don’t get used that often, including lamps
22. Grow your own – even in a townhouse there are ways to cut your food budget. I like growing my own herbs and mints.
23. Take a hike, Maybe 50.
24. Commit a day – several times a year – to create your own Clean Communities Day in your neighborhood.
25. Teach a child how to recycle something, how to grow something, and how to be annoyed at trash.
26. Set an example for your neighbors.
27. Use old blue jeans and window treatments to make your own recycled grocery bags.
28. Dedicate yourself to making your own lunch for work so that you don’t have to drive to eat.
29. Eat out locally when you do.
30. Find new ways not to use your car.
31. Have at least one day a week when you don’t use small hair appliances.
32. Shut off the hot water valve to your washing machine.
33. Address clutter – took much stuff wastes time, money and energy simply maintaining it.
34. Visit one Green Expo this year – Carpool with a friend
35. Make a point to donate unneeded clothing to a local charity. They create local jobs with those donations.
36. Allow cooked food to cool before you store it in the refrigerator.
37. Bottle your own water and take along your own coffee cup.
38. If you have to run the dishwasher, turn on the economy setting and turn off the heat dryer.
39. Cook at home more.
40. Don’t go into debt trying to accomplish this list.


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