By Irene Guoz
1. Our home is powered by solar energy. We have enough sun power to run the whole house and business.
2. Solar attic fan
3. Electric scooter, zero emissions vehicle
4. Electric lawn mower
5. Rain water collection barrel collects 60 gallons of rain water for our plants.
6. Composting all of our natural food scraps
7. Organic gardening (pumpkins, tomatoes, peaches, lemons, oranges). This year we had volunteer pumpkins!
8. Low-flow shower heads and low flush toilets to save water.
9. Energy-efficient windows
10. We turn on our "daylights," by opening the blinds and letting in the natural light.
11. Energy Star central air conditioning, refrigerator, dishwasher and washer/dryer units. Dishwasher and laundry units are water savers.
12. White shingled roof keeps the house cool during the summer.
13. Light color house paint keeps the house cool.
14. Biodegradable vegetable-based cleaners for the dishwasher, clothes washer, dishes and hand and body soaps. All non-toxic cleaning. No phosphates/bleach. We use vinegar and water to clean most surfaces.
15. Cloth napkins and handkerchiefs
16. Cloth towels instead of paper towels.
17. Wash full loads of dishes and laundry to save water and energy
18. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) throughout the whole house.
19. PRECYCLE: Don't buy anything that comes in a package that cannot be recycled, such as juice boxes and mixed paper/plastic/foil.
20. RECYCLE: We recycle all plastics 1-7, plastic film, bags, foil, cans, paper and cardboard.
21. FREECYCLE: We are members of freecycle.org. This is a great way to give to others and receive things in return. The goal is to keep usable items out of the landfill.
22. REUSE: For every disposable, there is a reusable. We buy used instead of new.
23. REDUCE: We try our best to reduce our consumerism and waste.
24. REFUSE: Stop taking the free stuff you don't need. Refuse paper and plastic bags.
25. RETHINK: Think before you buy. Hmmm?... Can this be recycled or freecycled when I'm finished with its use?
26. We visit Household Hazardous Waste Round Ups for disposing of batteries, e-waste, and any broken electronics that could contain hazardous materials if dumped in the landfill.
27. Use rechargeable batteries. Especially great for all of the kids' toys.
28. Walk to and from school & leave the car at home. Ellora rides her bike and Mom rides the scooter.
29. Buy in bulk, avoiding over-packaged items.
30. Green gifting from earth-friendly companies.
31. Reusable cloth gift bags. We no longer use paper gift wrap.
32. BYOB: Bring your own bags! We refuse plastic bags when we go shopping and bring our own reusable bags, even on vacation. We use Bio-Bags for trash, not plastic.
33. Soy candles, and bees wax candles. We no longer burn paraffin.
34. We buy organic and local foods when possible, such as local farmers' markets.
35. Our printer is filled with recycled paper. We print on two sides.
36. We buy unbleached 100% recycled paper toilet paper. Some companies are cutting down ancient trees from the Boreal Forest for virgin wood pulp. They are destroying old growth forests and endangered species habitats, just so we can have soft tissues and toilet paper. I must admit, it is soft, but is it worth it? Kleenex has been dubbed the name KLEERCUT on www.kleercut.net along with some other diaper companies. As long as there is a demand for it and people keep buying it, they will continue to clear cut forests.
37. We support earth-friendly companies by voting with our wallets for the products we want.
38. Our 1995 Saturn SL is awaiting electric conversion.
39. Our 2007 Ford Focus Wagon is a PZEV. It only emits 25% of fumes compared to other cars. This car is on the Clean Air Car List from the California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District.
40. We drive around the neighborhood in a fully electric Ford Ranger. We are trying to find batteries so it will hit the freeway again.
41. We combine errands to save gas and cut down on pollution.
42. Telecommute & work from home!
43. Tell others what we are doing and how they can help at work, home and school.
44. We share our movies, "Who Killed The Electric Car?" and "An Inconvenient Truth."
45. Eat less meat.
46. We are members of Carbonfund, and offset 70 tons of carbon pollution yearly. More than we produce.
47. We give at least 1% of our annual sales to the natural environment through 1% for the Planet at www.onepercentfortheplanet.org
48. Our website and downloadable catalog are tools to educate people about the environment and social change.
49. We donated our mini-van to Cars For Causes and 50% of the sale went to the Zoological Society of San Diego for our animal friends.
50. We are teaching our children about social responsibility by buying products that benefit people's lives instead of big business
51. We support USA made products to keep America working.
Irene Guoz is a stay-at-home mother of two, a soy-candle business owner and a passionate champion of the Earth. After seeing Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," she and her husband, Jaime, vowed to make positive changes in the way they live. In doing so, they hope to inspire others. Visit Irene's business at: www.soylarcandles.com
*Reprinted with permission from the author.