Taking The Eco-Challenge: Can We All Get a Little Greener?

Often our weekend plans include or necessitate the purchase or addition of something new in our lives. Maybe you need an outfit for a wedding, a new refrigerator or something smaller like cleaning products or shampoo. Whether it be toys or gadgets for your kids, a gift, or necessities like toilet paper and food, how environmentally sound and healthy of a purchase we are making is often the last thing on our minds during hectic weekend errands. We go to the store, pick up what we need and then move on to the fun stuff we wait for all week. A few minutes of thoughtful consideration before running errands can add up to big changes toward reducing our consumption.

Reducing our carbon footprint is a big task. Where to start? What makes the most difference? Tackling one thing at a time can be a manageable way to get to a greener place, so here is a challenge for all of us: Find something we have already or that you need/want that isn’t green and replace it with a greener version, or better yet, get rid of it all together (in an environmentally-friendly way of course).

If shopping is in your future, some research can save money and prevent the in-store panic onset by florescent lighting and Saturday crowds that causes us to grab and run, later regretting our purchases when we realize they have a harmful ingredient or were made by a company with less than admirable eco-practices.

Resources are numerous, you just need to know where to look. There are many books out there that want to tell you how to go green. Here are a couple I recommend. Check your local library to save some cash and be extra green while you read.

The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time is a great compilation of solution-based advice to help us make green choices across the board one step at a time, without telling us to just go without or stop everything we are currently doing.

Living Like Ed: A Guide to the Eco-Friendly Life. Pioneering environmentalism before it was fashionable, actor and activist Ed Begley Jr. is an environmental leader who has several books on a slew of topics to help you educate yourself on the hows and whys of going green.

There are several excellent and comprehensive online resources from reliable sites that are user-friendly and quick ways to get tips and do research on our environmental impact, whether you’re looking for organic wine, personal care products or are just trying to do your laundry without eco-remorse.

• National Geographic’s The Green Guide has articles, tips and advice on all things green.

• Treehugger, a Discovery company with vast amounts of information on how to go green and a nifty Green Buying Guide.

• Planet Green, also a Discovery company, has lots of green lifestyle information. Recipes, home and garden, fashion, travel and health are all covered here.

The WorldWatch Institute is an independent research institution that covers global sustainability issues and is widely respected for it’s fact-based analysis.

Many of us are doing what we can to gradually green our lives and reduce our consumption, but it is easy to feel overwhelmed at the sheer amount of things in our lives, and the cost of giving them all a green makeover. With a goal of saving us all a little cash and reducing conspicuous consumption, lets get creative and find a way to make one eco-switch.