It's truly inspiring to see the rising public awareness about the benefits of green living. This shift in our national mindset is imperative in order for us to adopt a new way of living that is in harmony with the natural world...no matter if we're located in a city apartment, a suburban home, or a country farm house. I believe that the choices we make as individuals matter, not only to our personal health and well-being, but to the health of our communities and planet as well.
Going green is a process that can seem overwhelming at times. I have met so many people who are unsure about how green changes can fit into their lives, are having trouble getting started with the process, or simply can't decide where to focus their efforts. I started Deep Green Living to offer people a more personalized guide to making meaningful green changes to their homes and lives.
Our work with Arianna Huffington focused on identifying opportunities to help her reduce her carbon footprint and to continue to maintain a healthy home environment. Consider implementing some of the green changes Arianna made to a variety of her household products in your own home. Some of these changes can be implemented right away, some may be considered further down the road. Remember, going green is a process, and even small steps in the right direction will inspire you to become more aware of your environmental impact.
#1. Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs. Yes, you hear this one all the time, but it really is a big deal; lighting can account for nearly 10% of your yearly household electric bill. We switched out a variety of bulbs in Arianna's home, from desk lamps to dimmable recessed can fixtures. You can find an efficient replacement bulb for almost any fixture at online sites like www.1000bulbs.com. Remember that 'warm' or 'soft' white CFLs will offer the closest replication of light provided by incandescent bulbs. Get started by picking out the 5 lights you use the most and make the switch!
#2. The less chemicals in your life, the better. Reduce the number of cleaning products in your home by using one non-toxic all-purpose cleaner for all your cleaning needs. Make sure it is labeled with key terms like: Biodegradable, Enzyme-based, Non-toxic, Chlorine-free, Phosphate-free, and/or Non-petroleum based. If you really want to minimize your impact, try making your own all-purpose cleaner from vinegar and water.
#3. We all have certain body care products we just can't live without. Make a gradual switch to safer products that don't use a slew of ingredients that you can't pronounce. While there is still debate about the link between deodorant and breast cancer, err on the side of caution and start using a brand with more natural ingredients right away.
#4. When your old vacuum bites the dust, so to speak, replace it with a model that has a washable HEPA filter. These filters are highly effective at capturing potential lung irritants like dust, mold spores, and pollen. Arianna can now care for the natural fiber carpets in her home while still maintaining healthy indoor air quality.
#5. Cozy up by the fire with java logs. This product is made from used coffee grounds and a natural vegetable wax. Burning it in place of wood saves trees, diverts coffee waste from landfills, and releases less particulate matter and carbon monoxide. You'll help to maintain the quality of the air inside your home, as well as in your surrounding neighborhood!
These are just some of the things you can do in your own home; there are many more opportunities to make the products we use every day safer and healthier for us and the planet. Green doesn't have to focus on making sacrifices, it should be about doing things better! Stay tuned for more to come about the additional green changes we helped Arianna make during our visit to her home and office.