In this edition of the Sun Tribune you'll find the second of four special sections the newspaper is undertaking this year called Community Builders. Earlier this year, we devoted a section to volunteerism. This Community Builders section is devoted to Going Green, and the stories touch on some of the things people can do to create a cleaner and more efficient place for themselves.
The famous Muppet had it right years ago: It's not easy being green.
We're not just talking about finding the money to buy and install solar panels, a wind turbine or a geothermal heating and cooling system. We've grown so accustomed in our culture to ease.
If we want something to eat quickly, we buy it and pop it in the microwave. If we want to drive somewhere, we fill the tank and zoom off. If it's cold, we crank up the heat. If it's hot, we crank up the AC.
But the cold, hard facts -- both economical and ecological -- are convincing us that that's just not a sustainable way to live. Older generations might never have to worry about suffering the full consequences, but younger ones will, and it will be a mess for them.
But keep in mind that Going Green doesn't have to involve thousands of dollars, just a little patience and an ability to look before we act.
When shopping, select products that don't go overboard on the packaging, and make sure the packages you do by are recycleable. Buy fresh when possible instead of canned.
Get a decent water filtration system and carry it in a reusable container. It'll save you money and the expense of disposing of thousands of plastic bottles filled with essentially the same water than comes out of your tap.
When building, be smart and use as much of your materials as possible. Try recycle what you don't need. When driving, slow down and use cruise control. It saves gas and keeps those expensive, flashing lights out of your rearview mirror.
Plan your meals with the leftovers in mind, so they don't end up in the garbage. Within reason, wear clothes a few times before tossing them in the laundry basket. Take care of stuff so you're not replacing it so often.
Maybe mow the grass less often, or, if you're adventurous, replace your grass lawn with a groundcover that never needs mowing. Break out the shovel instead of sparking up the snowblower when there's just a dusting on your driveway.
And don't crank up the heat in the winter -- that hoodie you've worn three times will suffice -- and don't crank up the AC to meat freezer levels in the summer.
The list could go on forever. Reuse twist ties. If it seems like common sense, it's probably is good.
Going Green is often referred to as going back to a simpler time and doing simpler things. But that's not really true: Nothing could be simpler than the way we live now.
Going Green isn't easy, but it's really the only direction we have left.