Green Lifestyles

It occurred to me that some may feel only certain people can go green because the cost, work, and expected outcomes of those who chose to go green would certainly require a bit more income. However, no money at all is required to help the planet and there are no jet sets for those living green. No exclusive club awaits you nor will you receive any grand awards or positions because of your efforts.

What you will get is pride in doing something that will have benefits beyond the immediate and a sense of belonging since living green definitely ties you to the global community to which we all belong.

Simply growing your garden can become a symbol of a lifestyle change if you choose to let nature control pest and not chemicals. Many farmers are now doing just that and are reaping the benefits along with the healthier clientele that utilizes their produce. If they can do it on a large scale, then you can grow a summer garden on a small scale.

Here are some great gardening tips for growing herbs, veggies, and even watermelons without grabbing the pesticides.

To keep your tomato plants from being food for worms, surround them with the shells of eggs. Just crush them roughly and cover the ground around the base of the plant. The eggshells cut the worms and they won’t cross them.

Refrain from killing the spiders that take up residence in your garden. These creepy little friends make meals out of pests who would otherwise make a dinner of your garden. Nature is well balanced and versed in the preservation of what she grows.

Lady bugs do more than make cute things to play with on hot summer days by the children. They also eat aphids, which eat what you’re growing. Sprays can harm and kill these helpful insects, so don’t spray.

Bees, while bothersome at times, are a wanted insect when gardening. It is the work of these pollen collectors that ensure you have a yield at the end of the growing season. They are too busy pollinating to notice you anyway. Swatting at them only tells the bees you are a threat to their work and they will protect themselves with their stingers.

Citrus peels will keep your dog from joining the fray of insects in your garden and will repel cats as well. In addition, rodents don’t like them, either. Best of all, they won’t add any poisons to your ripened fruits and veggies that you will need to scrub off.

For your efforts, you can, at no cost at all, enjoy the taste of organically grown food that is healthy. In the off season, try to buy organic foods. Support those who are trying to live green while you are also doing you part and conservation can be had easily by all.

In the efforts of preservation and conservation are attainable by all, regardless of pocketbook size.

Recycling While Traveling

After spending a week in some really strange weather for Florida, I can’t say I wasn’t glad to reach dry land again yesterday when I arrived back at home. However, that little trip did teach me a lot about living green while traveling. It also provided some insight into how businesses and communities are working together to reduce the amount of waste produced.

Disney is one of the most popular vacation spots in the country. I had never been, so I hadn’t had a really good grasp of just how large this particular resort was in reality. It is vast in size and resembles a mid-sized city rather than a resort. Encompassed in its boundaries are every conceivable want of a tourist, vacationer, and even the business traveler could desire. In short, it is magnificent.

It is also extremely clean and environmentally friendly. The wildlife live side by side at Disney without either hindering the freedom of the other. This intrigued me, so I asked a few question on just how that could be since it doesn’t seem to happen anywhere else. The answers I received surprised me.

Disney has a multitude of recycling bins for various trash. This makes it a snap to continue recycling efforts while on vacation. To help reduce the confusion of mistakes in these bins, the receptacles had shaped openings to fit what should go inside. These were scattered throughout the park in vast numbers to encourage tourists to go green. They are simply painted and decorated to match whatever area you happen to be in. This keeps people happy as there are no eye sores and animals happy as there is less trash that can be harmful to them being left on the ground.

In fact, Disney goes even further in their conservation efforts than most vacation resorts. All of the benches in the Animal Kingdom are made from recycled plastic. They look and feel like wood, but are made entirely out of plastic that would have otherwise become part of a landfill. This greatly reduces the amount of trash inside the dumps and gives something that is needed back to the community. (Trust me, that park is huge and those benches are needed to rest very tired feet!)

Further, you can’t even get a straw in the Animal Kingdom because Disney doesn’t want them on the ground. They don’t want their animals to suffer at our carelessness. Some of the animals Disney shelters are on the endangered list, such as the manatee. For this reason, Disney takes extreme caution to preserve the natural world around us as much as possible while still delivering a magical experience that has become their trademark.

After learning about the efforts of Disney, I decided to look into what I could do with all of my discarded plastic trash at home. The possibilities are really endless-from molds to planters to containers for other items. One thing I discovered is that plastic shopping bags don’t have to end up in the trash at all. Out of boredom (read that as a need to relax and do nothing for a couple of hours), I began to braid some old shopping bags together. I spent most of the afternoon doing this yesterday and ended up with the best bath mat I’ve ever had!

I did put some double sided tape on the bottom of my plastic braided rug when I was finished to avoid slipping, but water won’t ruin this one and washing it is a breeze. I just have to rinse it every now and then under running water and I’m done.

I will be working on a completely recycled scrapbook and will post that with instructions as soon as I have it finished. So far, it is proving to be a most memorable method of preserving the trip to Disney. I’m finding as I research for this blog that going green is less work and much more fun than I ever imagined. In fact, it’s completely painless.

If you have ideas on how to recycle items and reduce the trash on the planet or on how to live a little greener, please feel free to share them with me. I’d love to hear from you.

Teens and Green: A Great Combination

In this article on going green, I would like to focus on a particular age group: teens. It is critical to understand certain truths about teens if you wish for them to live green…or any other way for that matter.

The teenage population must be regarded with respect and tasks, habits, and other requests you make should reflect a lot of coolness in order to be acceptable. This age group won’t be content with making kiddie crafts…unless it somehow helps them get a date for Friday night. They aren’t really into cleaning except when it guarantees the use of the car next Saturday. And, they have no intent on changing behavior unless they get something out of the deal–you know, extra spending money or some other privilege.

It isn’t that this group of society is bad. In fact, I think teens are absolutely wonderful. It’s more that teens aren’t little kids anymore and yet they aren’t adults with all the freedoms and responsibilities. In fact, a teen will inform you one second that they aren’t a baby and then argue they can’t do whatever it was that you asked because they’re just a kid the next.

What teens are great about is a cause. They love them. However, what you think is a cause may in fact be seen as something else you want them to do in their eyes. What you have to do is find a way to get your teen involved that is good for the earth and that relates to the lifestyle of teens in a big way.

Saving the planet, going green, and preserving nature are big for teens–just not in the way that you’re big on these items. For a teen, life is dramatic, dynamic, and always at full speed ahead. There are no such things as brakes, logic, rhyme and reason. There is an abundance of impulsiveness, spontaneous reactions, and emotional roller coasters.

To tap into this wide range of new and exciting aspects of teens in order to encourage green living, you just have to be creative. The following are ways to get your teen involved in green living without a huge headache:

*If you won’t do it, don’t ask your teen to do it. Teens are big on examples. Make sure your own examples show green living before you broach the subject with your teen.

*Introduce your teen to a world of volunteer activities. Animal shelters are wonderful places to show a teen how to preserve nature and provide a cause they can identify with. Consider that many teens feel rejected, abandoned, misunderstood, and mistreated by peers or other adults in some way. Teens relate and identify with the animals in shelters more readily than any other age group because of this and will fight to champion the animals toward a better life. In the process, you will see your teen’s self esteem improve, confidence rise, and mood change for the better. Volunteering at animal shelters teaches work ethic, preservation, compassion, and acceptance gently.

*Teens are proactive by nature. Encourage them to become involved in church, community, and green living. Help them organize activities such as cleaning up the park or planting trees or even hanging bird feeders in neighborhoods.You will discover that their ideas are often wonderful and worthwhile in our pursuit of going green. They will discover that they have value, can follow their dreams, and spend time with parents and other adults without it being painful.

*Teens make great mentors for the younger kids. Help your teen organize activities to get the children involved and watch the results blossom into something amazing.