12 new green habits

By Marianne Peters, a freelance writer based in Plymouth, and also a certified Master Gardener. You can send questions or comments to her through the Pilot News or her Web log: http://hoosierwordsmith.typepad.com.

Sometimes life is like a novel — you think you’re just turning a page, and then you find yourself in a whole new chapter. That’s what happened when my family and I decided to start recycling. I didn’t realize then how much that decision would affect other areas of our lives as we found more ways to “live green.”
In this column I’ve been sharing the things that I’ve learned on my green journey. For instance, I’ve learned that adopting a low-impact life isn’t something you can do in a weekend.
New habits take time. I’ve also learned that a green life suits the Hoosier values I grew up with — don’t be wasteful, use common sense, think about others, wash behind your ears — well, maybe not that last one!
The most important thing I’ve learned on my green journey so far, though, is that pursuing a more sustainable lifestyle is a hopeful way to live. Taking an active role in keeping my home, community, and planet clean and healthy — even though it is a challenge sometimes — never fails to lift my spirits and makes me feel as though I’m making a contribution to the place I call home.
So, here’s my plan: I want to spread some hope around, and I want you to help me, dear readers.
Every month of 2011, I’m going to identify one new green habit we can all adopt. Habits take 21 days to form, or so I’ve read.
None of these habits will require expensive equipment — just a good dose of initiative and common sense. Think about it, by the time 2012 rolls around, we’ll have 12 new habits under our belt. I guarantee you will see the world differently after this project, and you’ll feel great about doing it.
Here are the twelve habits I’ll be sharing about each month, starting in my Jan. 24 column, in this order: starting to recycle, improving indoor air quality, reducing waste, nontoxic spring cleaning, fresh veggies from a container garden, reducing energy around the house, conserving water, greening up events (birthday parties and the Blueberry Festival), reducing waste, green yard work, eating “clean,” and celebrating sustainably.
These are subject to change, though — a year is a long time.
I’ll offer stories, ideas, and resources in my column every other week on our topic du jour, and I’ll also continue to post on my Facebook page, Hoosier Habitat: Easy Ways to Live Green. Be sure to become a fan if you want to hear more green news and meet some great green people online! I’ll post a link to my columns on Facebook, too.
Do you have ideas on these upcoming topics? How do you live more sustainably? I’d love to hear from you!
I’ll be on the radio Jan. 20, talking about this project. Please call in to WTCA 1050AM (574-936-4096) between 9:30 and 11 a.m. or e-mail a question or comment beforehand.
We can all help each other go green. I’ve heard it said other places, and I think it’s true: green is the color of hope. We could all use a little of that.