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Principles of personal green living
Taking public transport
Being early can make it easier to use - and enjoy - public transport or cycling. This helps to avoid having to catch taxis, driving your car, or wishing you still had a car. (As a side-benefit, you might also be a lot more relaxed.) Taking a good book or an e-book might give you more motive to leave early, and have time to read on the train and when you arrive early.
The specific choice depend on where you live, of course. If there are no practical public transport options, and no safe cycling options, write a letter to your local government.
Planning meals ahead of time can help avoid the temptation to purchase prepared foods and take advantage of fresh, local food that is in season. Eat more plants and less or no animal products. Plants produce more calories on the same amount of land and emit less carbon dioxide and methane than animals.
Look for green financial benefits
It can be very economical and also time-saving to live more green. For example most people will hesitate to purchase expensive low-energy-light-bulbs, because they are more expensive to buy. But prove to them that these bulbs have a much longer lifetime and result in a lower electric bill, providing a small profit over a long time. Larger investments like insulating the walls of your house, or putting in 3-glaze-windows is also very expensive but can pay off. Doing the financial calculations on the different options can help you find the most economical and effective choices .
You should be a good role model to your relatives, friends, and coworkers by showing good examples on how they easily can change. But do not try to persuade or force anyone to change, it will sometimes cause a backlash, and they will not respect you and your ideas. Being hardcore and extreme about living green will sometimes make them into skeptic opponents and it will be impossible to discuss the core principles of green living. Also debates like this take the focus from the important tasks to talk about.
If your way of living shows how little effort it takes to change methods and ways of life, that it is not necessary to "go back and live in a cave without any amenities," this can lower resistance. Inspire others with your examples. If you share ideas, try to talk about one new small thing that is easy for anyone to change per week (or per month), and one major thing to change per month (or per 6 months) - slow change is usually longer-lasting.
Medium term decisions
- Support a local car-share program that uses highly fuel efficient vehicles.
- Use your car less, and consider selling it
- Work with your community officials. Attend city council meetings and become involved in your local government in order to influence decision making
- Help to educate community leaders about the benefits of creating "walkable" and "bicycle-friendly" cities and towns
- Live close to public transport and good bike routes so you have plenty options on commuting and shopping.
- Consumers have a lot of power if they get together and make mass campaigning:
- Contact your energy company and tell them you would like to get only electricity from renewable wind-, solar-, hydro-, wave- power, and that they should stop using coal-power-plants.
- Contact your local garbage collecting company and the local council and tell them about centralized composting projects (like the one in Gävle, Sweden ), they can collect food waste in separate bins and out of that create soil, and sell it back to consumers. The more we can sort out and put in different recycling schemes, the less amount of trash is ending up in landfills.
- And try to influence other people in your city/country to do the same.