Wow, saving the planet sounds like a big, expensive job, doesn't it? Well, yes and no. When everybody pitches in, it gets done with very little individual effort or expense, which should suit those of us who'd like to make a difference, but have financial or, uh, motivational challenges. For example, here's something simple: If every home in America replaced just one light bulb with a compact fluorescent, in one year it would save enough energy to light three million homes! It's amazing how even little things like that add up, so pick your category and get your cheap, lazy self to work...at your own pace, of course.
Cheap, Not Necessarily Lazy
1. Volunteer. This might cost a little bit, perhaps, in transportation or meals--or maybe not! I've been fed handsomely and also carted around in exchange for my time and effort, so git in where you fit in, as they say. Your degree of laziness determines what you may choose to do, from spending time on the phone coordinating a streamside cleanup to hosting a fundraiser for a community garden to helping dig holes for a tree-planting project.
2. Agitate for Change. It won't cost you much money to write, call or email local, state and federal authorities and ask them to support eco-friendly initiatives. Get your city's buses running on bio-diesel! Pester your state into allocating funds to fit a proposed new museum for solar power! Make your voice heard in Washington whenever legislation comes up that will effect the environment! Get yourself a soapbox--a blog counts--and start a movement!
3. Walk More. Instead of driving your gas-guzzling car to the artificially-lit gym to walk on the power-sucking treadmill, why not just walk to work, school or on errands? You'll get your exercise and get some fresh air, made fresher by not having your exhaust all up in it.
4. Grow Your Own. Save money and a trip to the grocery store by growing your own produce, from fruit trees to green beans and even corn (be aware, corn takes up a lot of space, but your neighbors won't whine if you give 'em some). If you don't have a back yard, many plants do just fine in containers, like strawberries (yum!) and cherry tomatoes. Follow organic gardening practices for extra green points!
Lazy, Not Necessarily Cheap
5. Buy the Right Thing. With so many environmentally friendly products out there, you don't have to break a sweat looking for a green buy. Depending on your degree of cheapness, you can purchase anything from organically grown produce to energy-efficient appliances to (woo-hoo!) a houseful of recycled-fiber carpet, low-e windows, and solar panels for the roof (all delivered and installed for you, of course). With eco-minded web stores like www.seventhgeneration.com, you can order all your green provisions without even leaving the couch!
6. Stock Up. If you buy things you frequently use in bulk at warehouse stores or just when they are on sale, you will be able to save trips to the store for weeks, or possibly months, to come. With prices continuing to rise because of fuel costs, this makes economic sense, too. There is obviously an up-front investment, but you will save time, gasoline, and plenty of money in the long run.
7. Write a Check for a Good Cause. You know, the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, the Audubon Society and Greenpeace would love to hear from you, and I think you know how little physical effort goes into writing a check.
Cheap as a Thrift-Store Suit and Lazy as a Cat in the Sun
8. Recycle. It costs nothing and is as easy as tossing your cans, bottles, and papers in the bin beside the wastebasket instead of in the wastebasket. I know you can handle that.
9. Switch Your Light Bulbs. Okay, compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs are still a bit more expensive up front than the regular kind, but they're less expensive than they used to be, and they're way cheaper in the long run. Lighting accounts for almost 20% of a home's electricity bill, and CFs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Not only do they cost less to operate, they last much longer than regular bulbs, so the savings keep coming. You can be lazy about making the switch, too. Do what I'm doing: Buy a big economy pack of CF bulbs and stick 'em in a cabinet. Each time one of your regular bulbs burns out, replace it with a CF. Easy, simple and downright uncomplicated!
10. Do Less. Gosh, does it get any cheaper and lazier? I think not. Yes, my friends, you can do right by the planet by taking it easy. For example, instead of zooming off in the car every day to a different store, combine your errands on one or two days to save time, gas, money and Mother Earth herself. Don't drive or fly somewhere when you can have a nice, relaxing weekend at home in your garden or curled up on the couch with a good book. And buy less stuff, too: Save money and trees by checking books, DVDs and CDs out of your local library. Trade magazines with friends or coworkers. Shop yard sales and thrift stores for used (I mean, recycled!) clothes, toys, furnishings and other bargains. Not only will you save the waste created by the fabrication of new products, you will save things from going to the landfill. Who cares if it's not brand new? It's new to you!
Other easy things to not do:
- Don't stand in front of an open refrigerator. You can ponder your next gastric adventure with the door closed, too.
- Don't let the water run pointlessly while you shave or brush your teeth.
- Don't let the hose run while you soap down the car.
- Turn off the a/c when the windows are open (seriously)!
- Don't run the dishwasher or the washing machine until they're full. Fewer chores make for a happier planet!
See how easy it is, after all? Now rush right out--okay, mosey right out--and do some planet-saving!
Cheap and lazy hammock guy from Pixabay, free-use image