Keeping Things Green

It’s all about the environment with simple tips for “going green”Livin’ La Vida VerdeShorter Showers and 99 Other Ways to Keep Things ‘Green’

By Robert Zerbe

In the midst of a year-long experiment, the Conlin-Beavan family of New York City has given up shopping, toilet paper, balsamic vinegar, carbon-fueled transport and elevators to lessen their impact on the Earth. (It’s all chronicled in the blog But a new book offers many not-quite-so-radical ways to lighten the Earth’s load.

“True Green: 100 Everyday Ways You Can Contribute to a Healthier Planet ” by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin offers 100 tips – many of them very easy to incorporate into your lifestyle – to make our world a healthier, greener place. Here are 10, broken down into small, eco-friendly categories for your consumption. 



• According to McKay and Bonnin, for every minute we stay in the shower we use four to six gallons of water. Cut your shower time from 10 to five minutes to save more than 4,200 gallons of water a year.

• Use ceiling fans to their full potential rather than relying on air conditioning. Keep your windows and curtains closed during a hot day and open them once the sun is down to let the house cool.

• Lighting the typical American home creates roughly two-thirds of a ton of greenhouse gases every year. Turn off the lights in a room if you will be out of it for more than a minute.


• Bringing a lunch from home is cheaper and will leave the planet with less solid waste to worry about afterwards.

• While coffee might be a must for you in the morning, disposable cups are not. Even taking into account the water that’s required to clean your real, ceramic mug, disposable cardboard or polystyrene cups are less “eco-efficient.”

• Many of the estimated 55 million office computers in the United States don’t get switched off. Over the course of a year, the average computer produces more than a ton of carbon emissions if left on all day, every day. In short, turn off your computer when not in use.


• Americans use 380 billion plastic bags each year – and only 0.6 percent are recycled. Bring your own reusable bag when shopping.

• To combat the wasteful side effects clothes shopping has on the environment, buy your clothes secondhand.


• Riding a bike is much more eco-friendly than driving and often takes no longer than traveling in your car when it comes to quick runs to the grocery store and other trivial trips.

• While six in 10 Americans have access to public transportation, only 10 percent use it frequently. Instead of driving every day, take a bus or share a car ride to cut back on the 9 million barrels of oil the U.S. goes through each day.


This is a helpful site designed to gauge your effect on the environment. After the quiz, the site will provide a breakdown of your results, including how many planets our species would need if everyone lived at your pace.
This is the Web site of the Green Restaurant Association, a group that aims “to create an ecologically sustainable restaurant industry.” Find green restaurants to suit your eco-friendly tastes or association-endorsed products if you’re in the business.
With a water budget calculator, an interactive quiz and a water-saving house tour, this site is a must. Discover the top five tips for saving water, view a water-saving garden gallery, and get advice to start your own.

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