Going Green for Beginners


protect the environmentRecently I read an article in the local newspaper claiming not everyone can “afford to go green”.  The story was about a brand new “green” home that was over 3,000 square feet with all the latest “green” technology and was selling for almost $1,000,000.00!

  Is this really green? It’s no wonder that I commonly experience running into people who say, “Climate change is so overwhelming, I just don’t know where to start!” 

  This list covers some of the basics. I encourage you to challenge the notion of “convenience”. Most green behaviours are simply changing our habits. And these habits will not only lessen your environmental impact, many of them will also save you money. 

  • Hang up a clothes line or use a stand-alone drying rack. There are many countries in Europe that have very few electric clothes dryers.
  • Use washable napkins and handkerchiefs. I carry one or two in my purse or jacket pocket in case I eat out or get the sniffles. Stop buying paper towels and disposable wipes altogether.
  • Use washable, cloth grocery bags along with smaller net bags for your bulk foods and veggies. I know, you forgot them in the car. When I find myself without a bag, the consequence is that I have to carry everything in my arms. Believe me, it only has to happen once or twice before it becomes a habit! Hey, we give kids conseqeuences, why not ourselves?
  • Use a quality (meaning, not plastic) reusable mug. Did you know that in one year, North Americans use 220 billion disposable paper cups per year. These cups placed end to end, would wrap around the earth 55 times! And weigh about 900,000,000 pounds!
  • The DivaCup is a reusable, silicone menstrual cup. Disposable tampons and pads create billions of tons of disposable waste that is dumped into landfills each year. These cups are available at the Green Store and almost all health food stores.
  • Drive less. Plan car trips so that several errands are taken care of in one trip. 
  • Eat as much local food as possible. The second largest contributor to climate change is the greenhouse gas emissions from our food system: food production (ie: fertilizers, greenhouses run by natural gas), transportation and refrigeration. Eating locally – and adding eating seasonally – reduces one’s carbon and fossil footprint significantly!
  • Use washable baby diapers. There are even diaper services that do the dirty work for you!
  • Buy less. Less stuff equals less packaging, less waste. Don’t get sucked into “green” consumption – it’s still consumption! Watch this video: www.storyofstuff.com and visit: www.50waystohelp.com


Remember: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Repair and as a last resort… Recycle. 

Nicole publishes this magazine, is co-owner of Compassion Farm and is a board member of both the Bowen Road Farmers’ Market and the Nanaimo Womens’ Business Network.