It’s time to start thinking about those New Years’ resolutions. Most of us think about what we’d like to do differently in the coming year at some point. The start of a new year is a great time to resolve to Greenify our planet, and whether the plans you make are big or small, we all can help. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started:
1. Recycle bottles and cans as well as paper and plastic and everything else possible. 20 years ago, recycling was difficult and only done by society’s oddballs. Now if you don’t put out at least one recycling bin, you can count on being shamed by the neighbors. If your city doesn’t do it, there’s almost certainly a recycling center nearby.
2. Drive the most gas-efficient car you can find. The average mileage of this country's car fleet is a piggish 18 mpg. It's easy to find a car (even an American-made one) that gets 30-40 mpg. If we all did that, we would still get to all the places we have to go, while saving billions of dollars, cutting the influence of Middle Eastern oil on our economy, and seeing huge cuts in acid rain and greenhouse emissions. Our cities might even meet Clean Air Act standards.
3. Tighten up your house. Experts say, we’re leaking a Saudi Arabian oilfield out of our attics and windows. The fix is simple: insulate, caulk, and weather strip. Keep the furnace tuned up to run properly. And put in double-glaze or heat mirror windows.
4. Start and maintain a compost pile. If your kitchen and yard wastes get in with your trash, the paper becomes unrecyclable. If they go to the landfill, they turn into methane, a greenhouse gas. If they go to an incinerator, they become carbon dioxide, which is poisonous. If you compost them, they put carbon and plant nutrients back into your soil. And its simple: all that is necessary is to mix organic material with air and water and a little soil to provide bugs to do the work. Some folks just make a pile at one corner of the garden and then shovel out the good black stuff from the bottom of that pile whenever it’s needed.
If we all just do these few things, we’ll save our pocketbooks and Greenify the planet at a time when we could use both: in 2009.