Monday, December 31, 2007

Steps to go green

At this point, you must wonder -- how can I get on being greener for 2008? Some organizations out there have good lists (e.g. Sierra Club, Worldwatch Institute, Whole Foods). Here's mine.

  1. Buy fewer things: New stuff, especially. Research has shown that material consumption does not add much to marginal happiness. Start by thinking about which stuff in your life you will be ok with buying used (e.g. decorative trinkets? books? furniture?). Better still, give gifts that aren't things -- e.g.,, magazine subscription, spa services, or an appreciative letter. Watch the Story of Stuff (full 20-min movie here) for why.
  2. Commute less: Consolidate trips to save time and gas. Google Map is a great way to plot the locations and determine clustering for places you need to visit. Work from home as often as possible. Use public transport, or better still, bicycle, whenever possible. You will meet new people, enjoy the outdoor, and get fitter, while saving on fuel cost.
  3. Use less non-renewable fuels: Fossil fuel is >>BAD<<, period. America spends >$1B per day importing oil. Emission from cars is the leading contributor of greenhouse gas, which causes global warming. See step 2. Support alternative fuel initiatives. Convert to solar for electricity and hot water heating.
  4. Follow the news on climate change -- you will be surprised how big the problem is, and how much you personally can do.
  5. Reduce junk mail. Every year, 100M trees and 28B gallons water are used to produce junk mail that waste 5 minutes of our time per day or ~1.25 days of our live per year JUST SORTING THEM. helps reduce your junk mail volume. Alternatively, you can DIY here.
  6. Recycle:
  • If you aren't recycling at home, please please do so. This Christmas, I researched household recycling for a friend living in Colorado by (a) finding out who picks up their trash, (b) checking the curbside recycling policy of that company, (c) figuring out the simple logistics of bin pickup, pickup schedule, and what can be separated for them. All from the comfort of my desk using Google Search! It is that easy, really.
  • Landfills are sad artifacts that we leave of our civilization for future generations. If you're daring, arrange for an educational tour of your local waste processing plant. I have been to the San Fran Waste Management site, and a sewage processing / incinerator plant in Rhode Island. Smelly, yes, but life-changing too.
  • Get others to recycle. When I lived in New York City, my building didn't recycle even though the law requires it. So I called 311, the city hotline for any topic, to complain. A month later, the building installed an expensive recyclable separation chute for high-rise. Small victory, yes, but it affected 400 apartments!
A green adventure is endless... it is a good way to live life. Nothing is better than being able to continuously learn new things, and experience life differently through all senses. In my opinion, going green is one of the best ways to rejuvenate the senses, in this sometimes jaded world.


Sanjiv said...

GreenDimes here,

Thanks for including us in your steps to go green. Kiva's also one of my favorite orgs.

Jameson said...

I enjoyed your Steps to go green blog and have been practicing theses as much as possible. The website is ideal. I so much hate all of the wasted paper that comes in the mail. In my industry, architecture, most designs and concepts are born digitally, but we still tend to print out these ideas on large sheets of paper and in large volumes. I have implemented a half sized sheets policy at the office to conserve the paper, and only print full scale for clients and contractors. There is still a need to visualize these on paper. We are trying.

Dana said...

We have been making art out of items that most people recycle :) Let me know if you would like to see it :)

Sanjiv said...

GreenDimes here again,

Just wanted to let your readers know that we now offer a Free DIY service. First 5 million who stop their Junk Mail, we'll PAY YOU. Why are we doing this. We want to end the junk mail hassle for good and it hurts the environment.

pankaj said...

GreenDimes here,

Just wanted to let you know that we now offer a FREE service. Sign up for FREE and we'll plant a TREE.