1 - Choo choo choose the greener route.
- I recently took the Tri-Rail up to Lake Worth to visit the Palm Beach Cultural Council and I had a blast watching the sunrise, listening to my headphones and writing in my journal. It was a peaceful and productive way to start my day.
2 - Get dirty.
I've always loved this Greek proverb: "A society grows great when men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
- When native plants are established they'll use far less water and require less upkeep.
- Plant a garden. I repurposed old pallets on my patio to make a small garden of tomatoes, kale, arugula and carrots. We're headed into summer so vegetables won't fair too well, but food forests of tropical plants (such as banana, papaya, mango, avocado or star fruit) are generally low maintenance and can thrive year-round in South Florida. Visit www.ready-to-grow.com for more information on implementing a food forest or organic edible garden in your South Florida backyard.
3 - Wear them out (your clothes, not the planet).
- This open, scooped back fashion-forward tee is made 100 percent from recycled water bottles and a portion of proceeds benefit the environment. Miami-based boutique My Fox House carries the line by ConSURFvation. $58; www.myfoxhouse.com.
- Or check out www.fashionproject.com where you can donate clothes to be resold online. First you select which charity you'd like to benefit (obviously I'm partial to the environmental causes), then they'll send a donation bag that you fill - they cover the shipping - after your donated items are sold on the site 55 percent of the proceeds will benefit the charity you selected and for every five pieces sold you'll receive a $40 Nordstrom gift card. Everyone wins!
4 -Check yourself.
- Curious what kind of footprint you're carrying around? Check it out at: http://www.myfootprint.org.
5 - Health. It's what's for dinner.
- When we buy locally-sourced foods we not only support residents in our own community, but we reduce greenhouse emissions produced from having to ship an apple from Washington, refrigerate eggplants from Canada or package tomatoes from Mexico. Check out http://www.localfoodsouthflorida.org for a comprehensive list of local suppliers, markets and events in your area. Or visit http://www.thegreenpick.com, a Broward County organic delivery service.
6 - Smell ya later.
•Chemicals poison our bodies and our planet when consumed. Some of my favorite substitutes are:
- Hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth and laundry - instead of bleach
- Essential oils (like lavender or peppermint) can be used to make cleaning supplies. And to freshen a room put a drop of eucalyptus oil on a lamp – I do this at the office and it smells like a spa.
7 - Paper or plastic? Neither. Bag it up!
- I know you go through loads of plastic baggies. I know this because I do, too. I have a whole cabinet full of them. When at the store use reusable bags (I keep them in my trunk so I never forget them) or find ways to ensure bags get multiple uses (like picking up after your animals or bringing lunch in them). Instead of Ziplocs I use RUSSBE, reusable snack and sandwich bags, that can be ordered online at http://www.russbe.com. This Pear Linen 4-pack is $7.99.
8 - Don't just recycle - be a smart recycler.
- Visit your city's Web site for specific guidelines for recycling but make sure you're being a proactive recycler. Some highlights: take the contents out of a bag and taking the lids off containers (most don't accept plastic bags or lids); completely empty containers and lightly rinse. I printed off the "quick reference guide" from http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/recycle so my neighbors and I know what can be recycled.
9 - 15-minute rule.
- Like the 5-second rule for eating dropped food, I try to live by this rule: Just say NO if you know something will be thrown away within 15 minutes. This goes for water bottles, disposable razors, receipts, grocery bags or plastic ware. I'm always surprised by the amount of waste we can keep out of the landfills.
10 – Hike/Bike it out.
- In Broward: Broward B-Cycle gives users (both local or tourists) access to a collection of more than 275 bicycles year-round (courteous of South Florida’s awesome weather). I recently signed up and was pleasantly surprised by an additional perk: A handful of more than 20 bicycle-friendly establishments provide members with perks – like 10% off at T-Mex Cantina, a free round of pool at Blondies’ or $10 off a biodegradable oil change at Eco-Friendly Auto Center.
- In Palm: Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach has a greenway trail system - 300 acres of natural area that was set aside during the development of the NCRRF Landfill and Waste-to-Energy Facility. In addition to a wading bird rookery that's home to thousands of birds, there's plenty of wildlife viewing, plant life and nature trails accessible to the public for hiking or biking. Visit http://www.swa.org for more information..