Green – A Way of Life, Not Just Beer on St Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

You have that wish coming from someone who has a smidge of Irish; my maternal grandfather’s family came to the U.S. from Ireland in the potato famine (1845 – 1852).

On this silly Irish Holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, we wear green or risk a friendly pinch or goose. Seattle paints the traffic stripe of the parade route green. Chicago dyes the river green, and, Savannah’s fountains foam and splash green for the day. In every bar and pub that feels even a hint of Irish lineage, LOTS of beer flows and at least one tap flows green!

The new decade of 2010 continues this celebration of a Saint and his work and ministry in Ireland long ago. St. Patrick’s Day visually celebrates the color green in an even bigger way than the sustainability movement ever dreamed. What better time to take the green reminder and tie in a bit of sustainable planet hugging? There are SO MANY ideas and possibilities for making our lives a bit greener that it can come down to where to start? My suggestion is to take one or two suggestions (if you don’t like any of these, or are already there, check out the resources below for more ideas) and begin – you will remember that you started on St. Patty’s Day! Every effort matters, and, many times one small change can lead to the next and the next……

Some suggestions:

Two-ply designer toilet paper? As an alternate “global” thought: Every ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 4,000 kilowatts of electricity, 3 cubic yards of landfill and 7,000 gallons of water. Recycled toilet paper makes up only 2 percent share of the American market—much of the rest is made from plantation-grown or native forest trees. Switch to environmentally friendly toilet paper that is unbleached, chlorine-free and, if possible, 100 percent recycled.

Have a vegan meal or two per week. In addition to global warming – more greenhouse gases are produced raising animals and animal products for consumption than raising plants, raising animals for food uses huge amounts of land, water, grain and fuel. Each year in the U.S., 80 percent of all agricultural land, half of all water resources, 70 percent of all grain, and one-third of all fossil fuels are used to raise animals for food.

Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Saves a gallon a minute – my Sonicare has a two minute cycle.

Use public transportation or walk. If possible, park the car on the weekend.

Make sure you have reusable bags in the trunk for shopping. Always have a bag or two with you so you can say “no thanks” to the plastic bags we’ve become so accustomed to.

Collect the water from your tub while it gets to the right temperature in a bucket. It will be enough for one toilet flush. Depending on whether you have a high efficiency toilet this will save 1.3 gallons or from 3.5 to 7 gallons. Do this for each family member every day… do the math!

Some resources: