Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Resolution: Be Green in 2008

By Jana Ballinger
Care2 Green Living Copy Editor and Producer


With the holiday festivities pretty much behind us, it's time to
start thinking about some New Year's resolutions. Self improvement
seems to top the list for most—lose 10 pounds, get that promotion—but
how about also resolving to do something good for the planet? You'll
get something out of it too: Going green often means doing stuff
that's healthier for the environment and healthier for you. And being
a do-gooder feels good!

So here are some ideas for resolutions for a greener new year:

Be Naturally Beautiful.
I hate to break it to you but that gook you put on your face and in
your hair might be doing a lot more than making you feel pretty. It
could make you feel sick.
Take this quiz and check your products for dangerous chemicals such
as phthalates or sodium laurel sulfate.
Many everyday products such as shampoos, soaps, lotions and lipsticks
contain them. Opt for organic products made of natural ingredients
and thank Mother Nature for that radiant glow.

Wake Up and Smell the Perfume.
Don't let the pretty smell fool you: Most fragrances are just chock
full of hazardous chemicals. But there are alternatives that will
leave you smelling sweet as a rose.
Get the scoop here.

Eat Organic.
No two ways about it, buying organic produce is tastier and also
healthier, but it is more expensive because it's a lot cheaper to
dump chemicals on a crop. If you can't afford to buy all organic,
here's a list of the top 10 fruits and vegetables to eat organic.

Buy Local.
Common sense says that the farther away your food is grown, the more
fossil fuels are required to get it to you. So look for local produce
at your grocery store and make it a point to visit your community
farmers market whenever possible.
Defining local.

Be a Bag Lady.
Even if you're just bringing back all the paper and plastic bags
stuffed in that bottom drawer of your kitchen, always BYOB.
If you don't want to spend money on reusable grocery bags—although
there are lots of really cute options out there—look around the house
for old totes, beach bags, twine-handled fancy shopping bags or even
large baskets. Keep lots in your trunk (and don't forget to put them
back in the trunk after unloading your groceries!), plus one compact
bag folded up in your purse so you're never without it.

Clean Green.
You don't even want to know all the gross chemicals that are in
commercially made products. Not only are you breathing those
chemicals, but then you end up pouring them down the drain.
Not good for you, or the Earth.
So what's the answer? Make your own non-toxic cleaning kit.

Change a Light Bulb.
If just one light bulb in every home in America were switched out for
a compact fluorescent—aka CFLs—it would save enough energy to light
more than 3 million homes for a year. CFLs are everywhere now, there
are tons of different kinds to choose from and it's such an easy fix.
Learn more.

Sip, Don't Guzzle.
Even if you don't plan to buy a hybrid, there are ways to make the
car you have get the best possible gas mileage. A properly tuned
engine will get between 6 and 20 percent higher mpg, for example.
Here's a list of 12 things you can do to stretch a tank of gas.

Be a Peddle Pusher.
Sometimes a car is necessary, but just running errands around town?
Ride your bike to the post office, the grocery store, the dentist,
etc., and experience the true joy of being car-free for a while.
Bonus: Hello, exercise!
More benefits of biking here.

Be an Online Activist.
Did you know you can help stop global warming, save the rainforest
and keep pollutants out of our oceans with a single click? You can.
You can also sign petitions to let the people in power know you care
and want to make a difference.
Try it today.

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