You Don’t Have to be a Raving Hippie to Save the Earth

You just have to care a little

You don’t have to be a raving hippie to save the earth. We come across a lot of people who have a resistance to “going green,” because:

a) They’re resistant to change in general

b) “Going green” sounds like some sort of crazy hippie fad

c) They think it means sacrificing every shred of civilized comfort and technology we’ve fought so hard for in the last century

Do any of these sound like you?

Well, we’re here to tell you that there are a lot of very small changes that you can make that add up to big savings—in you wallet AND for the earth. They’re so small, you may not even feel like you’re scrimping.

The idea of how much small personal changes add up to big changes for the planet is really taking off—in lots of areas. There’s a movement that’s gaining traction called “Meatless Mondays.” There’s no doubt that a vegetarian diet is better for the planet, because it uses less energy and resources to raise plants than animals—but a vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone. So, some people have started advocating “Meatless Mondays”—giving up meat for just one day of the week. They estimate that an individual could save 890 gallons of water by eating differently just that one day—that’s a savings of 272,321,589,460 gallons for the U.S. alone.

And remember how resistant everyone was to the more energy efficient light bulbs? Well, now nearly everyone uses them—saving literally tons of carbon emissions each year.

So what are some easy, no-sacrifice ways we can save water every day?

¨      Low-flow showerheads. Not only do low-flow showerheads save money on water—they can also help improve the water pressure in your shower, if you have poor water pressure. Look for a model that has a quick-stop button on the side, so that you don’t have to run the water while you’re lathering up or washing your hair. Depending on what the flow is for your showerhead, you could save 2.5, 5, even 7 gallons per minute when you temporarily stop the water flow with that quick-stop button. A solid low-flow showerhead can be as little as $13—and they’re super easy to install.

¨      Wear clothes more than once. According to a recent news article, guys are already doing this anyway, using the “sniff test” to decide if something is ready for the laundry or not. But they may be on to something. If you’ve only worn a shirt to the office once, or maybe you wore it for just an evening for a couple of hours, it’s probably good to wear again, which will save on laundry. You’ll be using fewer resources AND saving yourself some time.

¨      Don’t run the water. You’ve heard it before, but it’s still amazing how many people will mindlessly let the water run while they brush their teeth, wash dishes, or wash their hands. We know someone who says she gets distracted talking to her kids and then looks down to realize the water has been running the whole time that she’s been talking to them. Pay attention. Get organized when you wash dishes or do other activities that require running the water. Rinse all the dishes at once instead of letting the water flow while you wash each individual item. Don’t waste water—if for no other reason than it will really make your utility company mad not to get those higher bill payments out of you any more.

¨      If it’s yellow, let it mellow. Some of you will remember that old saying from the 70s, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down,” meaning don’t flush the toilet every time. While this suggestion might seem a little “out there,” consider this: Every flush of the toilet uses between 3.5 and 7 gallons of water depending on your toilet. (Some newer models use as little as 1 gallon of water, but that’s still a savings if you don’t flush every time.) If you’re only doing “#1”, does it really smell that bad? Is it really that offensive to let it sit for just a little while? If the idea bothers you, try just flushing every other time. You’ll still end up saving half the water you would otherwise use—and I bet no one will ever know the difference. Your kids are probably already not flushing every time anyway.

Those are just a few basic ideas to get you started. What are some creative ways you’ve found to save water? Put them in the replies below or email them to us at If we like your suggestion, we may use it in a future blog!