It’s that time of the year again, the time when many of us turn our clocks back to signal the end of daylight savings time. For those of you who may have forgotten, daylight savings time officially comes to an end at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 31st this year. While most people can’t wait to “fall back” and gain an extra hour of sleep, a little more time to check items off their to-do list, or simply another hour to spend time with family and friends, Sunday’s time change is also a great opportunity to fall back to greener habits.
With the holidays quickly approaching, getting in the green spirit is going to be as important as ever. It isn’t only about being green though. It’s about being sensible, putting your attention on conservation instead of waste, thinking about the planet in the long run rather than just the here and now.
Although I’ve touched on this subject before, I was reading an article the other day that reminded me most of us have parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents, who grew up practicing certain green and environmental habits when ‘green’ was just a color. Many of these have fallen out of practice. Fortunately, in most cases, it won’t take much to get them back into the mainstream again.
So, as we turn our clocks back an hour this weekend, why not fall back into or reinforce a few of these green habits as well:
- Buy less packaged food and consider growing more of your own.
- Preserve what you grow. If you can’t eat all you grow and your neighbors are unable to take the rest off your hands, why not preserve any leftovers. This way you can have your own fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Not sure what to do? My friend Becky over at Glue and Glitter can tell you how to make pickles out of almost anything.
- Buy only what you need to help reduce food waste. Save what you don’t eat and reuse it later. Sometimes what isn’t eaten at one meal can make a great snack later or be used as part of an entirely different meal.
- Ditch the plastic and one-use items. Opt for reusable.
- Take the time to separate trash and recycling. Items that can be recycled should not end up in landfills.
- Compost your food waste and other compostable items. These often make great fertilizer for your trees, garden and yard.
- Walk more, drive less. Yep, it’s just that simple.
- Open your windows for a little bit each day to let some of the bad air out and fresh air in. Even in the colder months this can be a good idea to minimize the risk of indoor air pollution.
- Collect rainwater. One of the most simplest uses is to keep your yard looking great even when the weather is dry, or for watering indoor plants.
- Figure out how to incorporate more DIY into your holiday plans, parties and gifts. Buying new isn’t always the best option. Why not get creative and make some party decorations, table settings and holiday gifts your family, friends and guests are sure to love. Pinterest is full of great ideas to help you get started.
- Use less water. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth or scrubbing dishes. Take shorter showers. Collect grey water for use in watering plants. Only operate the dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load.
- Unplug. Despite the fact we are rapidly moving into a very technology-dependent society, we all need to unplug at times. Interact with your family. Talk to your friends. Do a little yoga or meditation. Go out for a nature walk. Take a bike ride (Remember when you used to do that?) You don’t need to be connected 24/7. It really is okay to unplug and disconnect every now and again. My guess you’ll find it’s a great form of stress relief.
Developing green habits like these, and others, is a great thing to concentrate on as you fall back this Sunday. In addition, falling back into greener habits now will help you be more prepared to start the new year off right. Remember…2016 is only a couple months away!
Fallen leaf on green grass by Mark Engelbrecht via Flickr Creative Commons license.