Do you find it odd that we dedicate full days, or weeks, to celebrate things like General Pulaski Memorial Day and National Dairy Goat Awareness Week?
When I was younger, I viewed Earth Day in a similar fashion. Sure, I’d recycle bottles and cans, but only if it was convenient and I certainly wasn’t going to pay more or go out of my way.
Now that I have a family of my own, the idea of finite resources has more impact. Unfortunately, my need for things to be easy and cost-effective remains, perhaps more so now that it’s driven by necessity more than laziness. Earth Day gives me a feeling of guilt and malaise ’97 how can I possibly have an impact on such a huge issue? Lucky for me, there are a multitude of online resources to help me, and you, discover small, achievable changes to make a difference.
Worldwatch Institute has put together a great list of 12 easy changes that anyone can implement. While you’ve probably heard of all of them, it’s presented in a format that makes you think, “Oh yeah, I could totally do that.”
Instead of just a list, it gives a suggestion for how to easily put each step into practice. For example, under “Plant a Garden,” it recommends planting lettuce seeds in a window box because they are “cheap and easy to find, and when planted in full sun, one window box can provide enough to make several salads’ worth throughout a season.”
For the complete list, go to http://www.worldwatch.org/going-green-12-simple-steps-2012-0.
I also love the 40 simple suggestions compiled by Tsh Oxenreider at SimpleMom.net (http://simplemom.net/tips-to-go-green-at-home/). While moms will certainly get great family-focused ideas, don’t be dissuaded by the name ’97 the tips aren’t just for moms. From ways to opt out of unsolicited junk mail to using cloth to clean your kitchen instead of paper towels, anyone can save money and reduce their impact on the environment with these easy, small changes.
One of my favorite sites to get inspired is Earth911.com. There’s an easy search function to find a recycle center in your area for just about anything from mattresses to electronics. The site’s layout makes it easy to stumble upon intriguing articles, like “Apartment Recycling: Challenges and Solutions.” Check out the “News & Lifestyle” tab for articles devoted to changes you can make in your home or things that companies and organizations are doing on a larger scale, such as an article about a proposed Utah initiative to reduce the size of trash cans to encourage recycling.
Once you’re inspired, check out the Recycling 101 tab for a huge collection of information.
“Green Guides” walk you through reducing your household waste or creating a workplace recycling program. Tips on the three R’s (recycling, reducing and reusing) cover just about any category that you’re ready to make a small step to change. There’s even a list of Mail-Back Programs that allow you to recycle your stuff without even leaving home.
One of my favorite resources for recycling computers and laptops that have outlived their usefulness is InterConnection.org. This Seattle-based nonprofit refurbishes old computers and laptops and donates them to charitable organizations worldwide. If you have a laptop that boots up and is less than 7 years old, InterConnection will send you a pre-paid mailing label and, once it receives your laptop, a receipt you can use to write off the value.
Businesses with 15 or more functional Pentium 4 or better PCs or five or more functional Pentium 4 or better laptops can request a free pickup nationwide. InterConnection offers $1 million “guarantee” (professional liability and CyberSecurity insurance) that your data will be destroyed and can provide auditable chain-of-custody data destruction to meet HIPAA security requirements. It employs volunteers who receive valuable training and a free computer while refurbishing systems for those in need.
Looking for more ways to go green? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more of our favorite Earth Day resources.
Nerd Chicks Adventures is written and Heather Neal from Nerds on Call, a computer service company in Redding. They can be reached at email@example.com.