Why I decided to “go green”

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Last summer, the world watched as more than 200 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, devastating the livelihood of

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countless families who relied on the gulf for their living and wreaking havoc on the environment.

It was a disaster that, for reasons I wasn’t completely sure of, hit me hard. Every day, I read newspaper articles, Internet articles and blogs to find the answers I wanted. I watched television specials, interviews with scientists, everything I could to find out why people cared more about pointing fingers than solving the problem. I tried to make it the topic of conversations, hoping everyone else cared as much as I did.

But it seemed to be nothing more than a daily soap opera people watched from the comfortabe confines of their living rooms. And with the flick of a remote, they could forget about it and go about their lives. But I couldn’t.

Soon enough, the oil spill became more to me than just a disaster in the Gulf Coast. I realized the greater extent of the problem: our lack of concern with environmental degradation. Our ill-conceived assumption that natural resources are in infinite abundance. Our lack of sustainable focus in our own lives. But with that realization came the question, what was I doing to limit my impact on the environment?

I didn’t have an answer. With how much concern I had over the oil spill, there was nothing remotely OK about not having a response to the question I asked of everyone else. So I set out to create one, not knowing how much it would change my life.

I started small by carrying reusable grocery totes when I went shopping. I biked and walked to class. I set my water heater and thermostat lower, and started washing clothes in cold water. I hung my laundry on a line, and unplugged my electronics.

As I became more conscious about my actions, I saw “going green” as more than a solution to my problem. Rather, it had quickly become my greatest passion. And I didn’t shy away from encouraging others to at least consider what they were doing to help the environment.

As I ran full force with this passion, joining environmental causes and organizations, I began to realize the associations people had with “going green.” People assumed the term was designated for liberal hippies who drank wheat grass shots and didn’t wear shoes. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

There is no limit on who can play a role in creating a healthier environment for current and future generations. The changes don’t have to be so drastic, and can actually add a lot of padding to your wallet. With so many technologies geared toward consuming less energy, becoming more sustainable has never been easier or more fun.

All it takes is a change in perspective, and the realization of just how precious and limited our natural resources are. With small tweaks in your daily life, I hope you too will consider “going green.”