The Everyday Environmentalist

cedar-berriesEverybody’s thinking about the environment these days. And that is a very good thing. Whether or not you believe in climate change isn’t really the issue: as Christians, we are called to be stewards of creation. Here are 35 everyday things we can do to go “green”–and usually (though not always) save money in the process!

In the Kitchen

1. Take your own bags to the grocery store. Cloth is even better than paper or plastic.
2. Buy fresh, not prepackaged. Mac & cheese and pancakes from scratch really doesn’t require more time, and veggies you cook yourself lose less nutritional value.
3. Buy organic.
4. Buy local.
5. Grow your own vegetables.
6. Compost.
7. Recycle.
8. Wash and reuse Ziploc bags.
9. Wait to run the dishwasher till it’s full.


Vehicles and driving

10. Slow down! The faster you drive, the more gas you burn, and it really doesn’t make a significant difference in time, anyway.
11. Make one trip to the grocery store for the week—IOW, plan and shop with a list.
12. Combine trips & walk from errand to errand when possible. Not when convenient–when possible.
13. Take advantage of public transportation.
14. Carpool.
15. Make sure the tires are at the proper pressure (you get better gas mileage).

Around the house

16. Buy refills on cleaners instead of a new squeeze bottle every time
17. Buy used, and don’t buy things you don’t need.
18. Use compact fluorescent bulbs.
19. Turn the lights off.
20. Turn the computer off, or at least to standby
21. Unplug electronics. They draw power even when not in use.
22. Use Recycled Paper.
23. Print on the back sides of used paper for rough drafts.
24. Turn the thermostat up a degree in the summer and down a degree in the winter.
25. Seal doors & windows with caulking or weather strips.
26. Get double pane windows.
27. Replace old appliances.
28. Set the water heater no higher than 120.
29. Take shorter showers.
30. Dry clothes on a line instead of in the dryer.
31. Use a push mower (the kind without power.)
32. Plant a tree

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For the Family

33. Use cloth diapers. There are diaper services that can do the cleaning for you.
34. Toilet train early.
35. Practice Natural Family Planning. No plastic, no chemicals, no waste. And despite what you may have heard…it works.

Image by Enokson, via Flickr

(This post was originally published on May 29, 2007. I’ve modified it only slightly.)