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Green New Year 01/02/11

Start the New Year by turning over a green leaf with these simple resolutions. By Laura Cooke

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Katy Tsui, a green writer on the Huffington Post, had a lovely collection of her top 10 green New Year’s resolutions which she shared with readers here. I decided to include a few that we can easily apply in South Africa.

  1. Wash your clothes in cold water. There’s more energy used into heating the water. Also, instead of using the dryer, try to hang your clothes outside or indoors on a folding rack.
  2. Bring your own reusable bags when you go shopping.
  3. Use revolving doors instead of swinging doors – it saves on heating and air conditioning expenses. Who knew?
  4. Composting = free fertilizer! Use it on your plants, gardens, tree pits, anywhere!
  5. Save some trees. Use less paper by using both sides of the paper and don’t forget to “Print Preview” before printing so you can avoid printing unnecessary stuff. Get off mailing lists by contacting catalog companies or anyplace for that matter. It really works ^_^ [ Ed’s note: You can opt out of unsolicited marketing material in South Africa here.]
  6. Try out a carbon footprint detox with challenges such as No Impact Man’s experiment of living low impact for a week. I will be participating in No Impact Week, which is in partnership with YES! Magazine, beginning January 2nd. Register here to join in!
  7. Quoting Michael Pollan, “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” [Ed’s note: We’re on the right track already here!]
  8. Play outside. Have fun and keep fit by appreciating all that nature has to offer: parks, trails, gardens, etc.
  9. You’ve heard of the Three R’s — Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle — but did you know there are six of them?! You’ll appreciate Burning Man’s Six R’s here.

And one or two of my own:

  1. Make your own lunch at home and use reusable long-lasting containers for your food rather than cluttering the environment with loads of plastic from the cafeteria.
  2. Place a few bricks or 1 to 2 litre containers in your toilet cistern to reduce the amount of water you use with each flush. (A silly childhood rhyme also springs to mind here, “If it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow let it mellow!)
  3. Take the plunge and try to start a local carpool or lift club. While public transport in South Africa is difficult, starting a lift club to and from work is possible with a little coordination.
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Laura Cooke is the editor and creator of the Veggie Bunch website and community.

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