Earth Day comes around each year and reminds us about “living green”- a simple term for something that can be all consuming and exhausting. To hear about people who have taken on challenges towards saving the planet like the Zero Waste Home, and No impact man and countless other blogs and documentaries can be inspiring, but it can also make us feel guilty. We walk away saying “I can do this too... I’ll start tomorrow!”. Unfortunately for a lot of us, tomorrow never comes, for one half-hearted reason or another.
It is overwhelming…
Where to start? Will anything ever be enough? Can one person really make a difference? If I insist on organic will I turn into one of “those people” that are so often parodied on Portlandia? Will anyone notice if I just eat a microwaved dinner while watching reruns of Frasier instead of organic vegetables while reading a book by candlelight?
Most of us would love to turn completely green and walk (not drive) down the street with our heads held high because we know we are doing the best we can. But we also just want to do whatever takes the least effort. To think of planet saving activities that won’t disturb our lifestyles makes us feel guilty.
Too lazy to do the big things, too guilty to do the little things. You can find yourself stuck between a rock and a chemically treated, lead painted hard-place. Below I have compiled The Lazy Persons Top 5 Planet Saving List. Doing these things will make your life, and our planet a little bit better, with the added bonus of making you feel less guilty, and is customizable to suit your level of laze.
1) Buy a house plant.
By pulling contaminants into soil, where root zone microorganisms convert volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into food, plants can remove up to 87% of harmful household VOC’s every 24 hours, according to NASA research.
- Lazy Level 1 - Buy any house plant, and keep it alive.
- Lazy Level 2 - Buy said plant from a local farmers market - and keep it alive.
- Lazy Level 3 - Double Duty - Buy an Aloe Vera Plant. It’s easy to take care of, and next time you have a minor burn you can forego the chemicals, cost, and extra packaging of over the counter ointment, and break off an Aloe Vera leaf and smear it on your skin.
2) Take a shorter, lighter shower.
Most showers can cut back nearly 50% of the water used before you even notice the difference.
- Lazy Level 1 - If you’re too lazy to buy a low flow shower head - just don’t turn the knob all the way on.
- Lazy Level 2 - Don’t walk away while the water is heating up. Showers can pour out up to 5 gallons of water a minute. If you brush your teeth while the shower is heating and steaming away, that’s 10-20 gallons of water- down the drain!
- Lazy Level 3 - Time your shower. An ideally green shower should be 5min or less. That means if you’re listening to music 1-1.5 current songs or about 2 songs from the 60’s. Or you could buy one of these water monitoring water pebbles.
3) Spend the evening in.
Forego the transportation emissions, mass climate control, and energy use of public restaurants, bars, and theatres.
- Lazel Level 1 - If you must order in - remember if you use Seamless to make sure eco-friendly ordering is selected in your saved addresses to prevent extra paper and plastic waste.
- Lazy Level 2 - Nix the take out packaging altogether and cook at home.
- Lazy Level 3 - Cook at home using organic ingredients found at local farmers markets.
A single plastic bag takes about 1,000 years to break down, and they remain toxic even after breaking down. Every square mile of ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.
- Lazy Level 1 - Reusable shopping bags. It can be difficult to remember to bring them to the store, so keep the in your car, hang them from your door knob, or get the little ones that fold small enough to hang on your keychain.
- Lazy Level 2 - Instead of zip top bags or plastic wrap start using good old fashion mason jars to store and transport leftovers. They can also double as drinking glasses, or candle holders.
- Lazy Level 3 - Use your mason jars at the cafe instead of to-go cups. You can even make it travel safe with lids like this cuppow.
5) Key into your local resources
- Lazy Level 1 - Freecycle.org is like a free craigslist who’s mission is to “build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community."
- Lazy Level 2 - Participate in, or host a clothing swap. One mans trash is another man’s treasure, plus you can feel superior because you are throwing a party for a good cause.
- Lazy Level 3 - Start composting. Composting returns nutrients into the soil and greatly reduces the amount of waste in landfills. Many farmers markets offer Compost drop-off, and some cities even have home compost pick up services.
If you keep simple things like these in mind while you are going about your day, you will start to notice how quickly the small things that require very little effort can add up. Even if you still have an occasional microwave dinner in front of a Fraser rerun every now and then.