April 22, 2009 is Earth Day number 39. Happy 39th birthday!!   No longer a fledgling little known blip on the radar screen, countries worldwide will be celebrating with activities designed to educate, inform and send a message to Washington and the leaders of the world that what we do to the earth and for future generations continues to be of importance.


Those that argue against capping carbon emissions, fight against more fuel efficient cars and affordable heating and cooling for our homes are finding their political ideologies being challenged and their chaffers for re-election empty. In one word, good.


Not only is green good for our ailing planet, greener cleaner technologies will create jobs, put money in the hands of the consumer and reduce medical costs related to diseases such asthma and other lung diseases, allergies and chemically induced skin disorders.


Green is something we must all take up everyday, all of the time. When you go green you put money in your pocket either directly or by indirectly reducing operating costs for businesses that will hopefully, eventually pass that savings on to you the consumer.


Here are some things you can do to help- new and old.


1.  Use your voice
We need policies that promote clean energy, reduce global warming pollution, and preserve our natural places.  Contact your elected officials and tell them to support strong environmental policies. 

2.  Green your ride
Did you know that the transportation contributes 30% of the Midwest’s global warming pollution?  Skipping one four-mile round trip in your car can save about 15 pounds of air pollution and put dollars in your pocket. Combine your trips, walk, ride your bike or take the bus.

3.  Bring your own bag - BYOB
We use 100 billion plastic bags a year and only 5% are recycled.  Paper bags require more logging and use four times the energy to produce.  Your best bet: use a reusable bag. It saves businesses money and indirectly you as well.

4.  Get unplugged
We only use energy when the power is on, right? Wrong.  We actually use energy even when our appliances are turned off.  In fact, 25% of the energy we use in our home is from appliances and electronics, so we are paying just to keep them unused and plugged in.  Stop the power drain and unplug your appliances when you’re not using them.

5.  Layer Up!! The average American home still keeps the thermostat at 69 degrees and above. Turning your thermostat down 3-7 degrees can save you hundreds on your heating bill. Keeping your home cooler is healthier, fewer colds and flu, so layer up and be comfortable without all the expense.

6.  Use locally grown produce.  Locally grown produce usually grown organically, is cheaper since it’s just you and the grower- no middleman and no expensive refrigerated transport involved.

7.  Reduce your use. Do you really need plug-in air fresheners, fabric softeners, paper towels rather than rags, paper plates, cups, disposable plastic silver ware, sanitary wipes, individually packaged items such as- dishwasher soaps, condiments, hand sanitizers, drinking straws or toothpicks? The list is endless, where one can reduce use and save money.


Earth day April 22, 2009. Remember, respect, work for change, it’s up to you. Till next time, Rebecca