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Have you heard the term "going green," but aren't really sure what it means? It's become such a common phrase that it's lost its meaning to an extent. What, exactly, does it mean to "go green"? What's the point? And how does one go green?
"Green" is a reference to nature and the environment. Trees, grass, and plants are predominantly green in color, so working to preserve those ecosystems and environments is, quite literally, protecting what is green.
Due to concerns about the destruction of the green environment, many people are looking for ways to preserve it, either by engaging in active conservation or by making an effort not to contribute to its destruction. What contributes to environmental destruction?
Practices like deforestation, chemical farming, and large-scale agribusiness are often cited as being environmentally destructive. Emissions of carbon dioxide are said to contribute to global warming, which is another environmental concern.
So "going green" means minimizing the destruction of trees, not supporting large agribusiness with the consumer's dollar, lowering personal emissions and not contributing to increased emissions by others (such as buying food that has been transported a long way). Going green also usually involves conserving energy and taking care not to waste natural resources.
When someone takes an active role in environmental preservation, that person is said to be "going green."
So How Can You Go Green?
For one thing, you can recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and metal. All of these materials use energy and natural resources to manufacture (particularly paper and cardboard, which uses trees), so recycling them makes sense from a green standpoint. When possible, purchase items made from recycled materials.
You can also take care to cut back on the energy use in your own home. Turn your thermostat down at night and when you're not home, or even better, install a thermostat timer that will do the work for you by lowering or raising the thermostat at prescribed intervals.
Energy use in the home can be further reduced by taking some simple steps. For example, upgrade to Energy Star appliances where possible; turn off lights when you leave a room; don't run the dishwasher unless it's full.
Try to eat local, organic produce - local, because less fuel is required to get the food from farm to table, and organic because of the possible negative environmental impact of conventional farming practices.
Resource-wasting can be reduced by conserving water and fuel. Shorten showers and minimize excessive use of water use, such as washing the car too often.