What’s Your Green Ability Level? From Bunny Hill to Double Black Diamond

When people learn to ski or snowboard, they love mastering one level and moving up to the next.  The same should be true for going green.  Once you master one level, it’s time to move on to the next.  Or, if you are comfortable at that level, just stick to working on what you’re good at without backsliding.  What’s your Green Ability Level?  Have you mastered the basics or are you trying to jump straight to the double black diamond?

BUNNY HILL – JUST LEARNING

  • Only run the dishwasher when it is totally full
  • Only do full loads of laundry and wash on cold
  • Turn off the lights, tv, stereo when you leave the room
  • Pick up after your dog every time
  • Don’t let your clawed cat out of the house during nesting season
  • Donate used clothing, toys and household items, don’t throw them out
  • Don’t take a bag for items you purchase unless you absolutely need it
  • Don’t throw away or flush prescription drugs.  Take them to your local police station or hang on to them and make your heirs dispose of them properly!
  • Recycle plastic, aluminum and paper
  • Limit your consumption of fast food by reducing the number of times you go in a month
  • Don’t stand in front of an open refrigerator, close it immediately after you get what you need

GREEN CIRCLE – NOVICE

  • Improve air quality by buying a plant for your office and home or plant some windowboxes
  • Use biodegradable bags when picking up after your dog
  • Recycle electronics, paper board, batteries, plastic bags (including those inside cereal and cracker boxes)
  • Stop using disposable dinnerware and utensils, especially styrofoam
  • Hang hard to dry items like towels, sweatshirts and jeans out to dry, then put them in the dryer once they are almost dry if the “crunchy” texture is too much for you
  • Use reusable bags at all stores – grocery, retail, bookstore, etc.
  • Stop drinking bottled water and buy other beverages frozen or in large containers
  • Cut down on meat consumption by having a Meatless Monday
  • Reduce driving by combining trips to stores, only going somewhere if it’s on the way to another destination, etc.
  • Put a 1/2 gallon milk jug (glass is better) filled with sand in your toilet tanks to reduce water consumption
  • Install a programmable thermostat and keep house temperatures within EPA guidelines
  • Reduce your consumption of processed food and replace with foods closer to their natural state

BLUE SQUARE – INTERMEDIATE

  • Plant a flower or herb garden
  • Hang a clothesline in your yard, shower or basement and use it
  • Stop using styrofoam food containers, bring your own or ask for something other than styrofoam
  • Compost your food scraps
  • Recycle cork, cds, bike tubes and tires, silver lined bags and wrappers
  • Use a ceramic reusable mug or stainless reusable bottle for beverages
  • Take public transportation or ride your bike instead of driving
  • When you need to buy something, see if you can buy pre-owned first
  • Buy organic meat and dairy when you can afford them, local is preferable.  By limiting meat and dairy consumption, you can afford to spend more when you do buy meat and dairy
  • Get as much as you can from your local fruit stand or Farmer’s Market
  • Perform a Home Energy Audit to find out where your house is losing energy and leaking money
  • Install low flow showerheads and faucets
  • Plant trees, lots of them.  If you don’t have a yard, find someone who does and would like your help
  • Go fragrance free in your personal care products, cleaning products and laundry soaps
  • Buy only chlorine free and unbleached products such as toilet paper, tampons, diapers, paper towels.  Bleach used in industrial processes is very bad for water quality and contains the carcinogen, dioxin

BLACK DIAMOND – EXPERT

  • Plant vegetables, fruit and flowers
  • Buy as much local and organic as you can afford
  • Can or freeze your own food
  • Make your own soap and beauty products
  • Buy at least 75% of your things used, bartered or make them yourself out of things in your home
  • Avoid the Dirty Half Dozen in Personal Care Products
  • Shop from the Green Grocery List
  • Live in a home that is 2500 s.f. or less
  • Stop using pesticides and insecticides, find organic alternatives
  • When replacing your car, buy an electric car, hybrid or diesel car that you plant to run on biodiesel
  • Build a hoop house to extend your growing season
  • Xeriscape your yard and replace sprinklers with a drip irrigation system
  • Build a birdhouse, bathouse or frog pond
  • Only use no VOC paints and adhesives if you can afford them
  • Drink only shade grown organic coffee.  One cup of shade grown coffee saves roughly 2.3 square feet of rainforest per cup
  • Replace your lightbulbs with CFL’s.  Be aware that these must be recycled and can’t be thrown away due to mercury content
  • Get PVC, the poison plastic, out of your life – it’s in yoga mats, plastic shower curtains, toys, vinyl flooring, siding, etc.

DOUBLE BLACK DIAMOND –  SUPER EXPERT

  • Become a backyard beekeeper
  • Become an urban farmer if you live in a city or suburbs
  • Make your own biodiesel
  • Become a vegetarian
  • Start a tool library in your town or neighborhood where people can lend and borrow tools, including larger power tools like chainsaws, lawnmowers, table saws
  • If your town or city is warm and dense enough, start a bike borrowing pool where people can borrow bikes
  • Build a greenhouse to grow food year round
  • Install a solar hot water heater
  • Give up one of your cars or try to go 5 days a week without using your car
  • Don’t buy anything new unless its food, personal care products or medication.  Buy it used, make it out of something else or barter with friends
  • Install a rainwater collection system and reuse it to water the lawn and plants
  • Start a community garden in your town or on your property if you live in a condominium or apartment building with a little land
  • If you own several acres of land, consider putting a conservation easement on it to protect it from further development
  • Buy a share in a CSA (community supported agriculture)

BACKCOUNTRY – SUPER DUPER EXPERT

  • Retrofit your home with a geothermal, solar or wind power
  • Build a LEED certified home
  • Build or buy an Earthship
  • Get your home “off the grid”
  • Give up all of your cars or try going 6 days a week without a car
  • Grow or raise all of your own food or barter with neighbors
  • Move your business to your home or into a LEED certified building close to public transportation
  • Install a greywater system that lets you reuse your shower and sink water
  • Become a vegan
  • Start a food co-op in your town
  • Start an environmental nonprofit and use it to further your green passion
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One Response to What’s Your Green Ability Level? From Bunny Hill to Double Black Diamond

  1. Great ideas! But i cant give up driving! I have a Green Chemical technology called Envirotabs that reduces emissions in Internal Combustion engines. Improves efficency and burn rate of fuel.
    http://www.greenfootglobal.com/Hybird Take a look at my site for more information. Give me a call to discuss.
    Fran Gloekler, Buffalo, NY

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