Ethical Living: 10 things to do this year

I'm going to jump right into this post - these are not New Year resolutions, they are lifestyle changes that can even help you save the money. They are things you do to be a green, ethical consumer whilst also being slightly lazy.

1) Don't ever buy bottled water again: Bottled water is unnecessary as well as expensive. It much easier carrying your own refillable bottle, just make sure it is BPA-free.

2) Reusable bags: Easy as pie to have around - buy a few and stick them in your purse, office, car so that you are never bag-less. Say no to plastic bags as well as paper at your local store. While your at it try and avoid disposable cutlery as well as take-away cups.

3) Bike or Walk for short trips: If your trip is less than 2miles, walk or bike there. You not only save money on gasoline but also improve your fitness!

4) Go Organic: If you think farmer's markets are not the ideal way to spend Saturday morning because you have to wake up early and battle crowds take advantage of your local CSA program. They will deliver to you a box of fresh, organic vegetables every week and you don't have to do all the hard work.

5) Be a vegetarian at least twice a week: Not eating meat for just two days a week decreases your carbon footprint by 1/3 of a ton and its not even that difficult! Plus it is lighter on your wallet. Even when you do eat, try to buy organic and free range.

6) Save Power: Vampire power, the kind that is still being used when you have appliances plugged in is something we can all avoid. It takes one second to unplug all the devices and you can make a 10% saving on electricity. While you're at it you can also switch to a renewable energy provider and change your light bulbs to CFLs.

7) Reduce Toxics: The amount of toxics we are being exposed to is alarming and there are several ways in which we can reduce exposure. Switch to toxic-free detergent and household cleaning product. The most effective ones are those you can make yourself with vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda.

8) Clean out your closets: Donate, recycle, reuse, upcycle anything that you haven't worn in awhile. Then adjust your buying patterns to buy less. Buy things that will last and buy clothes that you like wearing as you are likely to use it more often.

9) Green your home: Save water by reusing grey water. Rethink heating and cooling. There are many resources out there that can tell you what to do. If you are confused with  all the information: just choose one and stick with it.

10) Enjoy the Outdoors: Take a walk outside sometime and look around you. Learn to appreciate and prepare to be awed at the amazing natural world around us. It will give you reasons to be hopeful and boost your efforts to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Wishing all of you a very very Happy New Year!