Green is not just the color of money, it is the color of social-responsibility

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Turning Green Into Green

Everyone knows the familiar “reduce, reuse, and recycle” concept by now, but most people still have not moved past this most basic “greening” of their home and life onto other methods to help the planet.              Turn Green into Green.
We have compiled a short list of other easy ways to live more sustainably, as well as save you some “green” in your wallet. We hope you will try out one or more of these community based strategies to benefit the environment and keep you on budget in this struggling economy

Bartering is the age old practice of trading something you already have for something else you don’t have. It is what you can do to get what you want without any money. Some people trade items, such as fish for apples for example, but others trade for less tangible things, such as time spent gardening for time spent babysitting, which is referred to as time dollar credits. Barter exchange is another way you can recycle your old belongings that you no longer use to get something that you do need without being wasteful. It helps save you money since you aren’t spending your cash on something new.

Everyone knows what carpooling is, but it seemed like the practice had tapered off in the past decade until the current economic downturn. Now ride-shares are coming back in popularity both in part to help combat global warming by reducing carbon emissions and to save money on gas. You can usually find a coworker to carpool with at your place of employment, but you can also look on local community boards or forums. Splitting the cost of gas and taking extra cars off the road will help everyone breathe easier. If you can’t find someone to carpool with, leave your car at home and take your local public transportation. There are usually many opportunities for carpooling and ride-shares in larger cities if you look for them.

Rain Barrels
Rain barrels are what they sound like: barrels that catch and store rainwater. With the demands on the world’s fresh water supply increasing every day, you might wonder what you can do to help conserve water in your own home. Installing a rain barrel is just one thing you could do that makes sense and would cut down on your water bill. Initially, it will cost you money for the supplies (and possibly installation), but it is something you will use for years. Rainwater is diverted from the downspout of your gutter into a plastic or wooden barrel and then used to water your garden or lawn during the summer. It makes the most sense to install one right before the spring rains come so you will have a full barrel to use over the summer when droughts can cause water utilities to raise their rates.

Meal Exchange
With some planning and coordination, you can create a meal exchange with a group of friends, coworkers or neighbors. In a meal exchange, each family only cooks one large meal a week for everyone in the group, and then portions off and trades meals with the other families. This means your family gets to eat a different meal cooked by each family every night. The end result is that you save time by only having to cook one meal a week, you save money by buying in bulk and not having to buy groceries for multiple meals, and you build community with the other families in the exchange. It is good for the environment as well because you end up going out to eat less when you already have food prepared at home, which saves on carbon emissions from driving and food packaging from going into a landfill.

Community Tool Sheds
A community tool shed is exactly that – people in the neighborhood share their tools in a central location for other neighbors to borrow and use. It allows you to borrow a tool you need for a project instead of having to go out and buy a new power tool that will just collect dust after you complete the work. You will save money on tools and help save resources. A community tool shed also provides the opportunity to organize a neighborhood home improvement team where a group of neighbors help one another do repair work on each other’s homes. By working together, the projects will get finished sooner, everyone will save money by not hiring workers, and the neighborhood overall benefits by becoming a closer community and raising home values.

We hope these suggestions have been useful in helping the “green” in your bank grow along with expanding your knowledge of other creative ways to help the environment and build community.

…And please remember that every little thing each of you does will help!
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