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How to be green

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It's all about the mindfulness.
PAForestTrail

Wait...isn't this an article about going green? Did you stumble into an article on Buddhism? Nope. You're in the right place...this is indeed an article about going green. And yes, it is about mindfulness.

The difference between living the same old wasteful and earth-destructive way, and living green is...are you ready? PAYING ATTENTION! Yup! That's where is starts. Here are just a few ideas for your home, business and daily life.

  1. Start with your home.
  • What is the thermostat setting? Could you shift it a few degrees warmer on your A/C or a few degrees cooler on your heater and still be okay? Probably. Especially if you stop wearing T-shirts in winter or that comfy hoodie in summer. So pay attention to the thermostat and to how you dress, and make a green change.
  • What happens to the water faucet when you're brushing your teeth or scrubbing a pot or going to the fridge for the next ingredient at dinner? Is the water running? Pay attention to when you actually need the water on (like when you're rinsing the toothbrush or filling a pot with water) and when you don't. Those few seconds can make a big difference when you and everyone else does it day after day.
  • Take a look out the window. Mindfully. If it's a hot and sunny summer day, and you're going to be out for awhile, close the blinds. Pull the drapes shut. If it's a cold and windy winter day, do the same. If you're home, but there are rooms you seldom use, do the same. Those simple moves can help control the drain of energy from your home.

2. Now be mindful at work.

  • Look at all the paper at your work. Now look in the trash. How much paper is in there? Mindfully consider how many of those papers needed to be printed or copied. Learn to look carefully at each document you consider copying or printing, then decide if it's absolutely necessary. Could you do without a hard copy? It's not uncommon for people print out a 10 or 20 page document, make some minor edits in pen, copy the changes to the electronic version and throw the paper one away! Mindful? Nope. Just habit.
  • Choose recycled. From labor law posters to awards, job applications and greeting cards, almost every paper item used in an office is available in a recycled version. Find them. Be mindful. Seek them out. Buy them and use them. Then recycle them after you're done, to keep them out of the landfill.
  • Look at the lights. So many of us expect every light to be on all day at work. Mindfully consider why this is. And then begin a program to turn off unneeded lights. If there is no one in the meeting rooms, lights should be off. Empty offices, whether for the day, the duration or just a lunch hour? Lights out. Ditto for unoccupied storage rooms and empty lunch rooms. Lights out when everyone goes out.

3. Take mindfulness on the road.

  • Save gas even without a hybrid. The price tags on hybrids are beyond reach for many families. But the truth is, no matter what you drive, you can be greener about gas. Before you leave the house, mindfully consider your destination(s), and how you could be arrange your travel to save time and energy. Plan a route, rather than driving all around town and backtracking. Make telephone calls to make sure the store you're heading for has the products in stock. Drive to a mass transit station, and then do your errands by bus, train or Metro.
  • Remember to take your bags. Almost every grocery store has reusable bags for under $2.00. And most people have bought several. But they are not mindful and often leave the house without them. So their shopping goes into plastic. Pay attention. When you empty the bags, immediately put them back in the car, or under your car keys so they'll be with you the next time you shop.

These are just a few of the simple ideas that will help you to go green. Be mindful. Pay attention. Watch for chances to use less, reuse or recycle. With a green mindfulness, you'll see opportunity every step of your day.

Lindsay39 18:38, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

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