Go-Green Resolutions for the New Year!

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It’s a new year and time for a new list of resolutions! If you’re tired of old “promises” you know you’re not going to keep past January 31, mix things up a bit in 2012 with a few resolutions that will not only make your life cleaner and greener, but give the environment an eco-friendly boost. We asked a few green living experts to help us put together a do-able list. Check out the list and “begin anywhere” for a new year you’ll be proud to call your own.

• Always use reusable grocery bags. If there comes a time when you do have to use plastic grocery bags, find a second use for them once you get them home. Use them to clean up after your dog or reuse them as a trash bag in your car.
• Make a compost bin in your backyard. Keep biodegradable food waste away from landfills. It's as simple as getting a plastic container, drilling holes in it and mixing it to create compost. You can throw everything from leaves, weeds, fruits, vegetable peels and egg shells to coffee grounds, tea bags, grass clippings and more.
• Carry a reusable mug. There are many coffee shops that will fill the mug you have, rather than using a paper cup.
• Pay your bills online and save a tree(s). Also, opt out of junk mail. Get your name of those mailing lists so companies aren't wastefully printing and sending you mail.
• Switch your light bulbs to CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs). Compared to incandescent lamps (or your basic light bulb) that gives the same amount of visible light, CFLs use less power (typically one fifth) and have a longer rated life (six to ten times on the average).
• Switch one appliance to an energy efficient model. The Energy Star label on any appliance will tell you that it is one that is better for the environment. It may be something as minor as a cordless phone to something as major as your air conditioning unit.
• Compose your own household cleaners. Online inhabitots.com has a great list of recipes for non-toxic, child-safe cleaners that are simple to make and much less harmful to the environment.
• Shorten your showers. Some people take longer than others to shower, but set a goal to shorten your shower time. Make a power shower your new norm. • Close the curtains. In warm temperatures, close the curtains or blinds in the heat of the day, especially for rooms facing west. The afternoon sun can really heat things up. Depending on the time of year, you can open or close them to your benefit (and the benefit of your air conditioning or heating system.
• Go double green. Plant a shade tree next to your outside air conditioning unit. Providing some shade over your air conditioning unit can help it run more efficiently. Ben Hubbert, co-owner of Champion AC and educator of the San Antonio Energy Champions initiative. https://www.championac.com

• Take reusable bags to the store. In addition to bringing reusable bags for general grocery shopping, take them along for produce and bulk bin bags as well.
• Pack waste-free lunches. Lunches free of disposable packaging, such as prepackaged foods, plastic bags, juice boxes and pouches, paper napkins, and disposable utensils are not only good for the environment, they're also great for saving money and eating more healthfully. www.wastefreelunches.org
• Turn things off. Turn off lights and electronic devices when they're not in use.
• Air dry your laundry. In the warmer months, hang laundry outside on the line instead of using the dryer.
• Dress to stay warm (or cool). In colder months, put on an extra layer of clothing, and turn down the heat. In hot weather, take off a layer of clothing and turn off the air conditioning.
• Walk or ride a bike whenever feasible.
• Carpool and combine car trips whenever possible.
• Purchase organic, locally grown, seasonal produce. www.localharvest.org
Amy Hemmert is president and co-founder of Obentec, maker of Laptop Lunches® brand waste-free lunch kits.

• Get in the habit of recycling. Recycle paper, plastic and other materials.
• Grow some of your own food. Think you don't have enough space? Whether you live in an apartment, condo, or house you can grow something edible from sprouts to herbs to tomatoes to fruit.
• Garden organically. Caring for your yard, houseplants and gardens organically is a great, easy way to go green.
• Opt out of phone books. You may want one but do you need six? http://qurkl.blogspot.com/2010/08/paper-phone-books.html
• Use greener cleaning products. Make or purchase safer products for your home or business.
• Reuse everything you can. Trade clothes, toys, tools and everything else you can with neighbors, friends and strangers. Don't know someone to trade with? Check or advertise on Craigslist . • Donate what you no longer need. Instead of throwing things away, donate what you know longer need to a charity or thrift store.
Beuna Tomalino is a garden coach, organic gardener, and author of What About Herbs? eBook.

• Hold on to your phone. Keep your cell phone one more year instead of automatically upgrading it.
• Stop using coffee stirrers. Pour the cream in first and allowing the coffee to do the work.
• Use an e-Reader. Are you a reader? Invest in a Kindle, Nook or other e-reading device.
• Trade exercise DVDs with friends. No need to buy new ones.
• Have a tree planted. There are many organizations that will plant a tree for donations of as little as $1.00.
• Before buying new, ask yourself, “Can I reuse or re-purpose an item I already have?”
Yolanda Kennedy is the owner of www.ladies-going-green.com, connecting women to green information & resources

• Ride your bike whenever possible.
• Curb your paper towel habits. Use cloth napkins and keep cloth rags handy.
• Ditch wrapping paper. Substitute reusable items such as dishtowels, cloth napkins or receiving blankets for baby gifts.
• Pack your picnic with "real" dishes and utensils.
• Take a basket to the farmer's market.
• "Make" your own liquid laundry detergent. And refill the bottles.
• Use cabbage leaves and hollow squash for "serving bowls."
• Use glass straws! And take your own with you, just say "no straw, thank you." www.glassdharma.com
Cheryl Newcomb is the PR Representative at GlassDharma, manufacturer of the “Original Glass Straw”

Consider making resolutions that focus on the deeper issues. Create attitudinal change through spiritual growth and a deepening awareness of our interconnectedness with the rest of life on Earth.
• Think like a planet. Since we are all cells in the body of Gaia, the living planet, practice thinking with your “Gaia mind.” Whatever you do, stop and think, “since I am actually a planet, will this action help me or harm me?”
• Ask your great-grandchildren. Before you buy something, throw something away or travel somewhere, ask yourself, “Will this be OK with my great-grand-children?”
• Ask “where will this go?” whenever you throw something away. Remember, there is no “away.”
• Estimate the size of your eco-footprint. Visit www.myfootprint.org and set a target for shrinking it by at least one point.
• Read Spontaneous Evolution by Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman.
• Join Freecycle. www.freecycleusa.tripod.com
• Eat vegetarian at least one day a week.
• Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). www.localharvest.org/csa.
• Meditate on “enoughness.” Remind yourself, every day, that right now, in this moment, you have enough of everything you need.
• Find your leafy, green teacher. Find a tree near you, make friends with that tree and have a conversation with it every day. Ask its advice about how to live more greenly and listen carefully for the answers.
Marian Van Eyk McCain is a psychologist, and author of books on green living. www.marianvaneykmccain.com

November/December 2011

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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #1 Laughter
by Merrie Lynn Ross

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #2 Happiness
by John Randolph Price

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #3 Inspiration
by Jack Canfield

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #4 Life
by don Miguel Ruiz

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #5 Your Heart’s Song
by Barry Goldstein

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #6 Radical Self Care
by Cynthia James

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #7 Freedom
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #8 Self Love
by Arielle Ford

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #9 Self
by Katrina Pfannkuch

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #10 Encouragement
by Mark Hoog

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #11 Gratitude
by Ed & Deb Shapiro

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #12 Peace
by Donna Visocky

Heeding Our Wakeup Call: An Interview with Michael Mirdad
by Tuula Fai

Go-Green Resolutions for the New Year!

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by Katrina Pfannkuch

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