It’s not easy being green, but it’s oh so good for you! Hello, everybody! This is my first public service blog. I am touting the benefits of going green and also giving you some ways to go about it. I’m no expert on the subject, but these are a few things I do to help save energy, money and lives.

Have you ever wondered why detergents, soaps, fabric softeners and perfumes smell so strongly? It’s because you need that extra scent (which is chemically produced) to cover up the smell of the other chemicals used to create the concoction. Did you know that embalmers need to use 50% less embalming fluid these days because we have so many chemicals in our bodies? Even newborn babies are born with chemicals in them.

Something about that just doesn’t seem right to me.

I’m not saying, go fanatic. I’m not saying, make all these changes right now. I’m just saying, pick something you feel comfortable doing and give it a try. Start slow. Doing everything all at once is too overwhelming and you’ll never get started.

There are a lot of advantages to going green: It’s better for the environment. I’ve never heard anybody argue that chemicals are good for our planet. Have you? You can save money on energy costs. It’s healthier. I’m not claiming that we never get sick, but we seem to get sick less often now, and less severely since we started using all-natural products (of course, now that I’ve said that, we’ll end up getting the plague – I’ve heard it’s going around). Apparently all those chemicals suppress the immune system. Finally, you can feel like you’re contributing to the world, rather than just adding to its problems.

Here’s what I do (though I started with just plain old recycling) ~

1. Hang up your clothes to dry (or even just your jeans – first use the dryer for 10 minutes to soften and get out wrinkles in your clothes). We’ve cut our electricity bill by quite a bit doing this. We hang stuff in our basement. I’ve drawn the line at socks and underwear, though. Not enough room, is my excuse.

2. Reduce (we are buying fewer toys that require batteries and that use less packaging), reuse (the kids make projects out of cardboard before recycling it), and recycle (just start with a little – and in certain states you can make money off the deal!).

3. Use natural cleaning products (like vinegar and baking soda, or here’s something radical – plain water). The vinegar and baking soda fizz when combined, so the kids like watching it work! Me, too, actually.

4. Use natural soaps and shampoos (I use Aubrey Organics, local handmade/all-natural soaps, and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps).

5. Don’t vacuum so much (my personal favorite).

6. Buy CFL lightbulbs (more expensive, but saves you $ in the end! We get an occasional dud, but most of my bulbs are lasting a very long time and use less energy during that time, as well).

7. Use the front and back of paper, then recycle it (my kids use my discarded book drafts or the back of old homework for drawing on).

8. Buy at a farmer’s market or grow your own. My sister has a very small backyard in a city, no less, and still manages to grow her own veggies.

9. Compost or feed breads, apple cores, nuts, etc. to birds and squirrels.

10. Cut up old clothes and use as rags instead of using paper towels or napkins. I hate those commercials that tout products you use once and throw out. Very uneconomical and so wasteful. There are only so many trees in the world, people!

11. Drive less. I bundle my errands so that I do them all at once rather than one today, one tomorrow, etc. What a waste of time to keep driving back and forth, don’t you think? Make a list and then stock up on certain items you only buy at certain places. We have shelves in the basement where we store dry and canned foods – I stock up to save on the constant running!

12. Send your kids outside to play. Indoors they want to watch TV or go on the computer, both of which waste electricity, make them gain weight and rot their brains. Yes, my kids watch TV and use the computer, but they have to fight me for the privilege. I guess the key here is balance.

13. Buy those cheap bags at the grocery store to use and reuse for your groceries (instead of using paper or plastic). There’s an island of plastic that spreads for hundreds of miles floating in the ocean. It’s called the Eastern Garbage Patch. So wherever you can, try to avoid using plastic. It’s a lovely product, but it pollutes and it kills. Even McDonalds is looking into making products out of biodegradable sources. If they can do it, we can!

Some of these ideas can be expensive (like buying personal care products), so if you’re low on cash, pick the stuff that saves you money!

Be Creative and Come Up With Your Own Ideas!

Together we can save the world…

Peace Out, I am now stepping off my high horse.

www.KristinaSchram.com