Top Ten Green Intentions for 2014

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by Donna Mazzitelli

Last year, I presented the “Top Ten Green Intentions for 2013.” Compiling that list proved to be so invaluable that I’ve decided to create a new one for 2014. The beginning of the year is an ideal time to assess what we’ve done in the past and decide how we want to move forward to support our health and the health of the planet, which goes beyond diet and exercise. With regard to green intentions, it entails looking at what and how much we consume as well as where we spend our dollars.

To step up our efforts this year and go even deeper with our green living intentions, I’ve come up with the following “Top Ten” for 2014. These intentions not only support our planet, they enhance our personal well-being and pocketbooks too.

  1. I will read food labels carefully. Make every effort to avoid GMOs in the ready-made products you purchase. Since GMO labeling is not currently required in the U.S., purchase products with the Non-GMO Project label affixed. To learn more about the Non-GMO Project, go to /www.nongmoproject.org/.

  2. I will purchase organic foods and ingredients wherever and whenever possible. As conscious consumers, we can send a message that we want to spend our dollars in support of organic food production. More and more food chains are coming out with their own organic food lines to make organic food more affordable. Compare prices and support organic food production by buying organic.

  3. I will reduce pesticide exposure by following Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen. When it is not possible to buy fresh organic fruits and vegetables, follow EWG’s guide to reduce your family’s exposure to pesticides. For more information, go to www.ewg.org.

  4. I will select personal care and household products that do not contain the words “fragrance” or “parfum” on the label. Fragrance chemicals are organic compounds that volatilize, or vaporize, into the air — that's why we can smell them. Even “scent-free” can be chemically made. They are added to give products a scent or to mask the odor of other ingredients. The volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) emitted by fragrance products can contribute to poor indoor air quality and are associated with a variety of adverse health effects.

  5. I will turn off my computer when I am not using it. Especially at night, turning off your computer saves on the wear and tear of your computer’s hardware and it saves you money on your electricity bill, an average of $90 per year.

  6. I will sign up for green energy if and when it becomes available. More than half of all electricity consumers in the U.S. now have the option of purchasing green power. Find out how you can buy it by visiting the Department of Energy's (www.doe.gov) state-by-state list of providers. You can also check with your own utility to see what’s available.

  7. I will turn down my thermostat. Most households spend 50 to 70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling. For every degree you lower the thermostat, you'll save one to three percent on your heating bill. Do the same thing in reverse with air conditioning.

  8. I will wash my clothes in cold water only. Most loads don't need hot water, and 90% of the energy used by washing machines goes into heating. The higher the water temperature, the higher the cost to you and the planet.

  9. I will pay my bills online. Save natural resources — and possibly late fees — by enrolling in online bill-paying options. Going to paperless billing not only saves trees, it also eliminates the fossil fuel (and stamps) needed to mail those billing envelopes back and forth.

  10. I will eliminate junk mail. Around 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water are used to send junk mail to Americans every year, according to greendimes.com. You can stop 75 percent of unsolicited mail by registering at the Direct Marketing Association website (www.dmachoice.org). Within 90 days, most unsolicited mail will stop.

I invite you to adopt these intentions and to continue looking for even more ways to be a conscious consumer as well as an eco-conscious citizen within your home, community, and the world at large. Happy New Year!

Donna Mazzitelli is a contributing author to Speaking Your Truth, Vols. I and II. The Word Heartiste, Donna helps others connect to their stories and craft them with heart. She and partner Jordon Holiday recently co-founded Merry Dissonance Press, a place for writers and other creatives to make mirthful, discordant noise in the world. www.writingwithdonna.com, www.merrydissonancepress.com.