by Marla Esser Cloos
Climate change is real and caused by humans; 64 percent of Americans believe this, according to a study from the Shelton Group (Sheltongrp.com). Their study further shows that 51 percent of us are anxious about climate change and its effects. Climate change, energy policy and renewable energy are often in the news, and many of us feel we have little control—but we do.
Some people may not be aware that their homes are contributing to climate change. We can take action in our own homes by changing mindsets and taking small steps, which allows us to take control and impart change. A home can be a solution, no matter if one owns or rents. But it’s hard to figure out what to do without causing major upheaval in our modern lifestyles. Most of us are urban or suburban dwellers and feel somewhat stuck in the same pattern of life: buying the same products, managing our homes and yards the same way, and staying in the same habits because we don’t know what we don’t know.
Having a green or greener home does not have to be hard or require sacrifice. A green home is not an all-or-nothing approach. Making smart choices about materials and products in the home while living and maintaining it is a great place to start. Just making different choices when choosing appliances, plumbing or lighting fixtures, or even paint, can set the course to a home that works better and is a solution to climate change.
Even seemingly small steps can have an impact, such as choosing houseplants to help keep the home healthier. Plants are the natural system for refreshing the air both inside and outside the home. They take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Plants can also take contaminants out of the air. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in its Clean Air Study, has tested plants that we all can benefit from: gerbera daisy, English ivy and peace lily, to name a few.
No conversation about green seems to go without talking about recycling, and for good reason. Recycling is often the first green action and the gateway to greener living. However, what we do before recycling is even more important. In the three R’s—reduce, reuse, recycle—we are reminded to first reduce (buy or use less), then reuse (over and over) and then recycle (last resort). Get creative about keeping stuff out of landfills. Previous generations believed, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”—a slight mind shift from our fast-paced lives of convenience.
Living green has to be a blend of the stuff one buys and the things one does. If each of us built five simple practices or changes of buying habits into our daily routines, we would all soon have our own everyday green homes—and we would change the world.
Marla Esser Cloos, of Green Home Coach, is the author of Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices to a Better Home and founder/host of the Green Gab podcast on iTunes. She lives in Edmond. Connect with her at 877-828-1827 or Marla@GreenHomeCoach.com.