Embracing Green Living As We Age
Living a greener lifestyle is a growing trend across age groups and demographics in the United States. More than a lifestyle choice, going green is becoming more important for the health of our planet as a whole and that of our children's children.
But there's another reason going green is important for senior citizens: making green choices saves money. As we all know the less money spent on wasteful practices, the more room there is in our budgets for what we really want to do.
As a caretaker and conservationist, I spend a lot of time encouraging greener choices whenever I can. The truth is, going green as a senior citizen is just as simple as doing so at any other point in life. Green living is as much about conscious decision making as it is about any particular action you can take. Just by following a few of these tips, you can actively support a green lifestyle in your own way.
Getting accustomed to new energy-saving technology
Many of the easiest ways to go green involve adopting a new take on a piece of technology we've all become familiar with. The easiest example of new technology that dramatically affects our energy expenses is the light bulb. The incandescent bulbs people have used for the past 100 years are slowly being replaced by compact florescent (CFL) options and even more advanced light emitting diode (LED) bulbs.
Both options dramatically reduce the amount of energy needed to generate the amount of light equivalent to an old 60 watt bulb. But as with all new technologies, there are a few things it's important to understand when shopping for efficient light bulbs.
- Lumens equate to brightness, not watts.
We became so accustomed to knowing how bright a bulb was by its wattage that it can be difficult to break the pattern. An old 60 watt incandescent bulb generates roughly 900 lumens, while just a 15 watt CFL bulb emits the same level of lumens (brightness).
- CFLs come in different colors.
If you're accustomed to the warm yellow light of incandescent bulbs, you'll need to make sure you purchase CFLs with a similar color signature. CFLs come in many colors, designed for different uses. Some emulate sunlight, others try to approximate the tone of incandescent bulbs or are similar to the large florescent bulbs we're all familiar with.
But advancements aren't limited to the lighting industry. The same goes for other types of technology as well, such as thermostats and even windows. Over the years there have been countless developments in most home services industries that have made progress to reduce the environmental impact of many household products.
Taking action to go green
In addition to using new technologies to increase your greenness, changing some habits can be equally helpful to the environment and your energy costs. For example, if you live in a state with energy choice, it's important to make the most of that power to choose, rather than simply staying with the same energy plan year after year.
Likewise, making sure to turn off all lights when you leave a room or even buying new more energy-efficient appliances can all go a long way toward cleaning up your impact.
The important thing to remember is that whether you're trying to go green yourself, or you're trying to create a greener environment for a senior citizen you know, doing so doesn't have to cost you a fortune. In fact, the goal should always be to save money rather than spending it.
Here are a few new habits worth picking up to make your life a little more green:
- Shop at the local farmer's market: Today's food system is incredibly efficient. It allows us to have fresh produce year round from all across the continent, but moving produce from once place to another has a pretty large carbon footprint. When the season permits, do your part to reduce your food's ecological impact by shopping with local farmers.
- Take public transportation: Whether you're open to taking city buses or perhaps just joining a ridesharing program through your place of worship, there are plenty of ways to reduce the amount of time you spend behind the wheel of your own vehicle. Plus, the less you drive, the more gas you'll be able to save!
- Recycle items that can't be picked up on the curb: Even many of the best municipal recycling models don't offer curbside pickup for some items. Rather than just throwing things like batteries, paint, automotive oil and electronics away, next time do a little research and find the appropriate recycling center to take these items to in your area.
However big or small you want to go, take the time to consider what you can do to go green today. Remember, with just a few minor changes to your everyday routine, seniors and everyone else can do more to protect the Earth and its inhabitants!