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Going - Going - Green

Lill Hawkins

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Are you overwhelmed by the thought of all the changes you'd have to make to your life to be as green-as-you-wannabe? Join the club and stop beating yourself up. Sure your neighbor, friend, sister in law, favorite Hollywood star is so green they're growing algae in their pool to make biodiesel. Yes, I know that even Republicans are talking about maybe doing something - somewhere in the future - about climate change and the price of gas. And I'm also painfully aware of how you can be ostracized if you haven't gone vegan, adopted a square mile of rainforest and saved a whale before breakfast.

But don't get your 100% organic, no-sweat shop, fair trade knickers in a twist. Relax. You can do this. After all, remember how hard it was to remember zip codes when they first came out? You don't? Hmm, well, I do. I'm that old. If I, at my advanced age, can change my lifestyle to protect the planet, improve my health and do the right thing, so can you.

The problem is that most people go for the instant makeover and try to adopt a completely eco-conscious, sustainable lifestyle, as if it's a wardrobe that you can buy at the local big box store. The impossibility of doing this leads to feeling like a failure, discouragement, overspending and being overwhelmed to the point where you just want to give up. Don't.

Sit down, pour yourself a cup of that green tea you bought because Oprah recommended it and get some perspective on the whole Eco Thing. The earth has been ticking over for a long time with very little help from the human race. It'll manage to survive for a few minutes while you plan your change to a healthier, more eco-conscious lifestyle. Trust me.

Decide, first of all, where you want to put your effort. Do you want to go out and picket the big corporations who are raping the earth or would you rather start with something more manageable like changing the brand of coffee you drink? How about starting with something that can have a big impact on the earth and your family's health? If you're still using conventional cleaners and household chemicals, switch to green brands.

Figure out where you spend the most time, which foods you eat the most of, which products you apply the most to your skin and hair. Then, gradually, not all at once, replace them with healthier, more earth-friendly options. You don't have to go crazy, throw out everything in your house and replace it all in one swell foop. There's no law that says you can't do it in more wallet-friendly stages.

But, you say, my friends are dissing me because I drive an SUV and my kids’ school friends are accusing them of trashing the planet because they haven't gone totally vegan yet. Well, it sounds like you need new friends and now you know one reason I home school. (Kids can be so cruel, especially when they're cooped up in little rooms and don't get to go outside and play and socialize. )

If you can trade in your SUV, do it, that is, if you don't need it because of your location or the weather where you live. (I can't. And I can't afford to move either, not until house prices go up again. ) Don't judge yourself so harshly. Just take one step at a time toward a healthier, greener lifestyle on your own terms, not anyone else's.

Someday, you'll look around and realize that there isn't a piece of plastic in your house and composting is just second nature to you and you'll know that you've done it. You've gone totally Green without spending a fortune or having a nervous breakdown. But first, finish your tea.

It's not easy being Green, but you'll find lots of help at Lill's List . Save the earth. Save money. Get healthier and happier with information from


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