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52 Tips for Green New Year

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From the JONAH Environmental Task Force, Adapted from Creationjustice.org

1. Eat Those Leftovers! 

After the holiday season you will likely have leftovers from holiday dinner, parties, and family get-togethers. A great way to be a steward to the Earth is to consume your food.  Did you know that Americans throw away 25% of the food they buy? Not only is this a waste of money but it is also harmful to the environment. Producing food takes land, water, and heavy machinery. By eating your leftovers you are not only saving money but also preventing energy waste from food production. Not to mention you are keeping them from taking up space in a landfill. ​

2. Research How Your Community Regulates Waste 

Each city or town has their own trash, recycling, and compost system.  What is the system where you live? Regulations change frequently, so take some time today to update yourself.  Here are some questions for you to find the answers:

  1. Does my town/city have recycling curbside pick up or do I take it to the recycling center?
  2. What can I throw in the recycling bin?  Do I throw plastics, paper, glass, and aluminum together or do I separate them? 
  3. Does my city/town have a curbside composting program?
  4. Can I compost in my own backyard?

3: Wash Your Laundry in Cold Water

Use cold water when washing clothes to reduce energy use.  Energy is needed to heat water. You can also opt for a shorter wash cycle.

4. Do Your Dishes Less Often

Instead of after every meal, consider only running the dishwasher when you have a full load or sink.  This reduces your water use and saves you money on your water bill.

5. Cut Your Shower Time by Five Minutes

Cut five minutes off your shower to save water . According to a study done by Harvard the average american shower uses 2.5 gallons per minute. You will save 12.5 gallons of water if you shorten by just 5 minutes. Or, consider turning the water off while you lather up and only turn it on to rinse. ​ 

6. Wait Until the Laundry Basket is Full to Wash.

Only do laundry when the load is full. Not only does this save water and electricity but it also saves you money and time.  You can either wait until you have more items to wash or combine your partial load with your family or housemates. ​

7. Air Dry Your Laundry

Avoid using energy to dry your laundry by hanging a laundry line or using a drying rack. This cuts down on your electricity bill as well!

8. Change Light Bulbs to Eco-Friendly Types

CFL and LED bulbs can emit 25-80% less energy than traditional incandescents, plus they last longer! Consider this greener alternative when it comes time to replenishing those bulbs.

9: Track Your Waste for a Week

Keep track of the waste that you create for a week. How much of it can be replaced with recyclables or reusables. What can you challenge yourself to live without?

10. Commit to Low or No Waste Grocery Shopping

Some ways to reduce the waste when shopping for groceries are to buy unpackaged fresh fruits and vegetables, brining your own container to a bulk food store, investing in some produce bags to transport fresh foods, avoid prepared foods, and bring your own grocery bags.

11. Turn Off the Lights When Not in Use

If you’re not in the room, the light doesn’t need to be on. Leave yourself post-its to help you remember to flip the switch off when you leave the room.

12. Donate to a Faith-Based Organization that Promotes Creation Care

Give to faith-based organizations that devote time and resources to caring for God’s Creation. Some organizations to consider are Creation Justice MinistriesInterfaith Power and Light, and Evangelical Environmental Network.   ​​

13. Observe World Water Day March 22, 2019

World Water Day is this week! Support various campaigns and check out the water resources provided by Creation Justice Ministries. 

14. Observe Earth Hour 2019 on March 30, 2019

Turn off the lights for one hour to observe how much energy will be saved  if people around the world cooperate with energy saving.Click here to see the impact from years before and how you can get involved.

15. Start a Neighborhood Garden​

​ Start a garden in your own backyard or share the work with your community by creating a neighborhood garden.  Do you have space in your church’s yard, at a vacant lot, or in a nearby park? Gardening is good for creation and saves you money.  If you do not have space outdoors you can grow veggies or herbs in pots in your place of residence. ​​

16. Eat a Plant Based Meal or Meals with Ingredients from Local Farms

Check out these tasty and healthy options here by Minimalist Baker.

17. Observe Earth Day April 22, 2020

Make use of the Earth Day resource developed annually by Creation Justice Ministries. This year’s theme is “The Next Generation Rises” and is all about youth involvement with the environment. Our 2020 resource will be available soon, and past years can be found here. 

18. Explore Local Environmental Initiatives You Can Get Involved In

Take some time today to find out what environmental initiatives are going on around you.  See if you can participate in projects, events, or committees in your city or town. 

19. Use Green Cleaning Products

Use surface sprays, detergents, wipes, and soap that are ethically sourced and have a low impact on the environment.

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20. Buy a Plant for Your House

It may not be the season to plant a tree or garden outside but you can purchase a plant for the indoors.  The plant will produce oxygen improve your indoor air quality. You can choose a flower, herb, or a plant that bears fruit such as a tomato, pepper, or strawberries.

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21: Unplug Sockets From the Wall or Power Strip

When appliances are not in use they should be unplugged. The socket draws electricity even when it is off.  Some items that are often plugged in when not in use are blow-dryers, phone chargers, electric kettles, and coffee pots.  Look around your house and find what can be unplugged. ​

22. Make Sure Electronics and Appliances are Off When They Are Not in Use.

Powering off your TV, computer, video games, kitchen equipment, etc suck a lot of electricity! Make sure to turn off and unplug these electronics and appliances when you are not using them. 

23. Bring a Reusable Container for Leftovers to the Restaurant

Next time you go out to eat bring a reusable container for your leftovers. One time use plastic and styrofoam containers are easily replaceable with a reusable container. You can leave one by the door, in your backpack, or in your car so that you remember it.

24. Watch a Documentary on Creation Care

Some examples include: Cowspiracy, The Story of Stuff, The True Cost, or Gasland.  Learn something new and make a commitment to yourself to make a positive change in your life. 

25. Use the Battery Saver Function on Your Phone and Computer

This lets your phone and computer last longer, as well as saves energy.

26. Contact Your Representative

Take initiative today and call, email, or write one of your state representatives regarding an creation care issue that you are passionate about. Positive environmental change starts with the individual and continues with larger scale change. You can contact your representative by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. You can find out who your US Representative is here and your US Senators here

27. Reuse. You Don’t Have to Use an Item Just Once Right? 

What disposable items in your life could you replace with a reusable option? Do you use cloth napkins or paper?  Do you have a reusable water bottle or disposable? Do you use cleaning wipes or clothes? Do you pack your lunch in plastic bags or in reusable containers?

28. Make Your Next Shopping Trip Green

Patronize second hand or fair trade stores. You can buy clothes, jewelry, shoes, furniture, books, movies, and toys conscientiously.  If you cannot find what you need at a second hand store, try a fair trade store for ethically sourced products.

29. Pick Up the Trash in Your Community

Go outside and pick up trash.  You can invite a friend or small group from church to join you. You can enjoy fellowship and increase the amount of garbage collected.

30. Read a Book Concerning Creation Care

We recommend titles like Women Healing the Earth by Rosemary Radford Ruether, Gardening Eden by Michael Abbot, and Earth Democracy by Vandana Shiva. 

31. Use Green Transportation 

How do you get from place to place?  Make a plan for how you can reduce your footprint.  Does your city/town have public transportation? Are there places where you can walk or bike instead of drive? Are there places you can carpool?  School, work, church, and small group meetings are great places to carpool. Make a commitment and plan to improve your carbon footprint.

32. Calculate Your Water Footprint

Find out what your water footprint is and how you can reduce your impact. This calculator will show you how your lifestyle impacts the rest of the world and how you can make a positive difference. Share with us ways you plan to reduce your footprint! 

33. Use Gray Water

Gray water is water that has been used but is not necessarily contaminated.  You can use dish washing water, hand washing water, and cooking water to water plants. There are even systems you can install now that allow you to make use of gray water more effectively. 

34. Spend Time Outside This Week

Take some time to appreciate the outdoors this week. Go for a walk, play with your kids, play sports, or go to the park.  Find ways to enjoy challenging weather such as snow, rain, and heat. Enjoy God’s beautiful creation.

35. Check Your Car’s Tire Pressure

Properly inflated tires improve the car’s gas mileage. This will not only decrease your carbon emission but also save you money.

36. Advocate for Environmental Justice

Volunteer for, donate to, or promote creation care.  Join an existing organization, talk to your family and friends about environmental justice, or start a green committee at your church.

37. Try Composting at Home 

Check out this guide to learn how to compost at your home, or go here to see if your neighborhood has a curbside compost pickup option.

38. Invest in Green Arts and Crafts Supplies

Do you, your kids, or grandkids enjoy art?  Buy recycled paper and green products for their projects.  Nature is another great way to find art supplies. Twigs, leaves, and flowers make are excellent for art projects. The recycling bin can also be great place for creative minds to find materials.

39. Track Your Use of Paper and Disposable Products 

This week, watch how much you use paper plates, disposable utensils and straws. See what of those items you can replace with reusable Tupperware and flatware that you can take with you. The Brand “TO GO WARE” sells reusable bamboo forks, spoons, and knives. You can keep this in your car, purse, or backpack to use at a moment’s notice.

40. Looking for a New Book? Check Out Your Local Library.

Instead of buying your own copy, check out your local library for your next read. Libraries are valuable community centers, and chances are you’ll only read the book once – no need to purchase every copy for yourself!

41. Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

Find out what your carbon footprint is and how you can reduce your impact. This calculator will show you how your lifestyle impacts the rest of the world and how you can make a positive difference.

42. Learn About the Indigenous People Who Used to Live On Your Land 

Indigenous People’s Day is a good time to brush up on your knowledge. Take time to acknowledge the indigenous people who came before you when you pray.  Some questions to research are: 

  1. What is the name of the nation who lived here before me?
  2. How did this nation relate to the land and ecosystems where I live now?
  3. How can I support the wishes of this nation who came before me?
  4. Are there any political actions I can take to stand in solidarity?​
  5.  

43. Evaluate Coffee Hour at Your Church or Place of Employment

Does your church and/or place of employment use reusable cups?  Where does the coffee come from? Is it ethically sourced? If not, find out how your congregation or office can make the switch. 

44. Try Cooking One-Pot Meals 

By using one pot to cook your meal, you save on electricity, gas, and water; which reduces your footprint and may even give you leftovers for the week! 

45. Get Out and Vote! 

Check out Creation Justice Ministries voting guide to brush up on how to be a creation care voter.  Our votes determine who makes decisions for our nation.  Prioritize voting for candidates that prioritize creation care.
You can also check your state government websites for information about all the candidates to help you make an informed decision.

46. Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle

Cut down on plastic by carrying your own water bottle with you. Preferably a reusable one made of aluminum rather than plastic. You will find that you save money by bringing your own water instead of buying new bottles every time you are thirsty.

47. Work With Your Local Government to Sponsor a Recycling Event for Electronics or Hazardous Waste

With the holidays coming, new electronics are likely to be under the tree. Make room for the new by safely recycling the old. Too much on your plate? See if an event like this already exists in your community and attend! ​

48. #OptOutdoors this Black Friday 

Instead of buying more stuff this black friday opt outdoors.  This alternative is greener plus you save money and can spend quality time with family and friends.

49. Check Cabinets for Expired Medicine and Properly Dispose of Them

Avoid flushing medicines and other dangerous chemicals in the toilet or washing them down the sink. Instead, find your local med disposal location and take them there. This will help keep water clean and drug-free for other people drink and animals and plants to live in and consume. ​

50. Opt to Wrap Your Gifts in a Reusable Bag Instead of Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper can only be used once while gift bags can be reused.  You can give a festively concealed gift and care for creation at the same time. Or you can wrap your presents in newspaper or brown paper and personalize with your own hand drawn decorations. You can still be festive and make the gift special without buying wrapping paper. 

51. Plan a Green Potluck

Host a green potluck with your family and friends this holiday season.  Challenge your guests to cook a one pot meal and buy from local farmers.

52. Make Your New Year Resolutions Green 

Take some time to reflect with your family on ways to be more green in 2020! Can you invest in solar energy panels? Share your New Year’s Resolutions with us at Creation Justice Ministries for the chance to be featured on our social media.