Hopefully things are looking green wherever you are. Everything feels fresh when you’re looking out at green grass and green leaves. But what about that other “green”? Now is a great time to think about living a more eco-friendly lifestyle around the house. Recycling is a great start – but if you want to do more for the environment, here are some small changes that can make a big difference.

  1.  Clean green. You don't need industrial-strength chemicals to tackle dirt and germs. Clean up naturally with old-school staples like vinegar, baking soda, borax and essential oils. Many green cleaning products made with natural ingredients are now commonly available, and you can even make your own (just search for “homemade cleaners”). They're easy to use, they smell great – and you'll be amazed at how effective they can be!
  2. Power down. Help reduce energy consumption by turning off TVs, computer monitors, printers, stereos and other electronics when you're not using them. Even in standby mode, they're still drawing energy.
  3. Keep your cool – naturally. Instead of running the AC all day and night, try these effective stay-cool strategies. Open the windows at night to let in the breeze, then close them in the morning and draw the curtains to keep the sun out and cool air in. Use the barbecue instead of the oven to avoid heating the house, or make a cold meal like a salad or sandwiches on really hot days.
  4. Garden naturally. Instead of using chemicals in your garden or on your lawn, try time-honoured techniques like companion planting. For example, planting garlic discourages aphids, borers and Japanese beetles. Marigolds are also great for repelling pests. As for your lawn, control weeds by setting your mower blade to about three inches – weeds don't grow as readily in the shade of taller grass.
  5. Walk, cycle or share the ride. Moving under your own steam not only lowers your carbon footprint, it's also a great way to stay fit and healthy. Consider transit instead of taking the car, organize a carpool or work from home if you can.

By adopting some or all of these strategies, you can lead a greener, healthier way of life and have a positive effect on the environment. Who wouldn't feel good about that?

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