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Maybe you celebrated Earth Day 2012 by putting some plants in the ground or picking up trash around your neighborhood. Perhaps you pledged to use less or recycle more. It could be the day passed you by and you didn’t give it a second thought as you were racing about doing the types of things most of us do on weekends–picking up supplies at your local home improvement store, entertaining the kids, etc.

I didn’t do much… I walked to a park I normally would have driven to. I planted six plants in my garden. I prepared all my meals at home, and used lettuce grown in my own garden for lunch. I also made a pledge to myself (and now to those of you who read this) to consume less. But perhaps more importantly, I took a few moments simply to reflect on the Earth.

What many people forget, or simply forget to acknowledge, is that the Earth sustains us. We don’t own it. We don’t run it. You can’t even say we manage it–or if you argue we do, you can’t argue we’re doing a sorry job.

The Earth has been entrusted to us, and provided we realize the role we play and the impact we can have–both positive and negative, we can enable this amazing party to continue for generations to come.

So whether or not you did anything to celebrate the Earth today, stop now or take a minute tomorrow and just think about how unpredictable and beautiful and wondrous this planet is, and how you–even as one small, seemingly insignificant person, can have an impact.

In case you’d like a few ideas, please see “25 Ways to Live Greener.”

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If you’re like me, you’ve thought about making a few New Year’s resolutions, but haven’t necessarily nailed them down precisely. Your resolutions might include losing weight or exercising more, or maybe you’re looking to start a new hobby or pursue and old one. Well, why not help Mother Earth by throwing in a resolution to live greener this year?

No one I know lives completely “green.” Most of us fall somewhere along a very broad continuum. And that’s OK. If everyone picked just one or two things from the following list, our world and everyone in it would automatically live healthier lives.

I certainly don’t live super “green.” For example, I can be a bit of a clothes horse, and I love fashion too much to stop buying trends. But I’ve committed to buy less this year, and I keep a worm bin and chickens to feed my kitchen scraps to, and I haven’t acquired a single plastic shopping bag in too many months to remember.

Let’s be straight, since there are some people who won’t manage even one thing off the following list, why not take up their slack and commit to three or four?

25 Ways to Live Greener:

  1. Buy organic.
  2. Buy local.
  3. Carry a collapsible/reusable bag at all times so you never have to take another shopping bag home.*
  4. Power down all your electronics when you’re not actually using them.
  5. Drive less, walk more.
  6. Grow your own herbs or veggies in a garden or garden box.
  7. Recycle everything you can.
  8. Buy less to begin with.
  9. Rinse out jars (e.g., applesauce, pickles, etc.) and use them to store food instead of buying plastic containers.
  10. Turn your thermostat down at least 2-4 degrees.
  11. Don’t buy anything containing synthetic fragrance (anything other than essential oils).
  12. Don’t buy products containing sulfates or parabens.
  13. Only buy cleaning products that are biodegradable and phosphate-free.
  14. Switch to LED light bulbs. They’re the most energy-efficient.
  15. Make sure your freezer is filled to capacity. It’s more energy-efficient than a half-filled one.
  16. Only run the washing machine when you have a full load, and never wash on hot.
  17. The same goes for the dishwasher; fill it up before you turn it on.
  18. Shorten your shower and make sure you’re using a low-flow showerhead.
  19. Don’t wash your car at home. Find a car wash that recycles the water.
  20. Stop buying bottled water. Use/install a filter and use stainless steel or glass bottles.
  21. Reduce the amount of junk mail you receive. Visit http://www.DoNotMail.org.
  22. Sign-up for on-line bill pay.
  23. Don’t use chemical fertilizers or pesticides on your lawn.
  24. Have less lawn.
  25. Eat less meat, particularly beef!!

Happy New Year, and happy greener-living!

* I carry a ChicoBag in my purse at all times since it holds a ton and easily stuffs down to the size of my fist!

Photo: Bruce Irving, Flying Singer

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