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Earth Friendly: It's easy being green

By By Kate Garcia
Jan. 31, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:31 p.m.

Kate Garcia

There is no such thing as life without change. It can be challenging and difficult at times. Going green seems to get stuck with the label of "challenging and difficult." However, it's really not either of those things. In fact, if we all look around, "green" opportunities are all over. Let's look at a home setting where easy ways being environmentally friendly are in some places we might not even notice at first.

Air quality: Realtors always say it's all about "location, location, location." Have you noticed what's around your home's location? I've noticed so many things recently (including work) since I've relocated downtown, and I'm really looking forward to walking instead of driving. Entertainment, food, friends and much more may be only steps away. Walking not only keeps you healthy but also keeps harmful components of bad ozone out of the air.

Energy: Are there windows close by that you can draw the blinds open to on a sunny day? Letting natural sunlight pour in is a great substitute to electrical lighting. Lights and other electrical appliances pull from the energy grid, which is powered by processing natural resources such as water, coal, gas and nuclear energy, just to name a few. The less energy we pull, the smaller the carbon footprint we leave, the fewer natural resources needed to keep up with energy demands.

Waste reduction: With wonderful sites like Pinterest.com, there are instructions on fashionable ways to grow certain things in a limited amount of space without a garden. Take herbs for instance. There's a lot of packaging that goes into one tiny little bottle of herbs. There's the plastic bottle, plastic lid and plastic film to preserve the herbs and a paper label.

Not only will glass mason jars be reused to grow the herbs in, but also reclaimed wood from pallets that get tossed in the trash more times than not anyway. It's easy for packaging to go unnoticed when marketers make it look so appealing. However, do we really need all that extra packaging? Eco-shopping, or paying attention to packaging while buying groceries, can really reduce excess waste.

Water use: It's hard to pass up a bubble bath, but showers are really the way to go when it comes to quick and easy and are much more water and energy wise. Keep in mind though; this idea is only valid if the entire water heater isn't drained during one shower. If a shower lasts longer than about 5-10 minutes, not only will the water heater refill, but it also will have to reheat the new water which leads us to revisit what was just covered in the "energy" category.

The list could go on and on. The main idea is that these are great things about your space you might not have noticed before that really lend themselves to easy environmental practices. Goes to show you, it really is easy being green.

Here's to shutting off the air conditioner and opening the doors to a cool Texas winter day.

Kate Garcia is the interim programs coordinator for the City of Victoria, Environmental Services.

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