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It goes without saying that our planet is suffering the consequence of our way of living and it has come a time where everyone can contribute to reducing the impact that our daily activities have on the environmental and climate changes across the globe. The goal is to raise awareness, contribute to making a change by actively participating, and getting others involved as well.

Here are some realistic suggestions on joining the movement to reduce our carbon footprint, even with the smallest mark:
Change your mode of transportation, especially in the summer. Start walking or biking to places, which will save you money on fuel and serve as a form of exercise. Riding a motorcycle, an eco-conscious or even a smaller vehicle can help decrease the amount of gas consumption and the amount of exhaust in the air, while saving money on gas.
 Support your local economy, from groceries to clothes and everything else. Farmer’s markets are popping us in a many communities across the country. They offer locally, many times organically, grown seasonable vegetables and fruit that has not been shipped a million miles before it gets on your table. Also, you can support local small business owners from farmers, boutiques, artists, and many more, while building a sense of community. LocalHarvest.org helps you find where you can find local farms and farmer’s market in your area.
Pay attention to packaging. Keep packaging to a minimum when shopping. Reusable bags are a must, especially the cloth ones, so on your next outing don’t forget yours. That is certainly a wonderful fashion statement!
Turn it ALL off. Your lights could certainly use a break, especially when they are not in use; dimmers for high traffic areas, or lamps instead of overhead lights; timers for outdoor lights. Switching to energy efficient lighting can certainly be money- and eco-conscious! Unplug all electrical appliances when not in use from the coffee pot and toaster to hairdryer, printers, DVD players, computers and mobile phones, because these utilize energy, even when not in use!
Save the water. Not keeping the water running all the time can save gallons each month, so turn it off while brushing teeth, washing face, or rinsing dishes. Using cold water to wash the clothes reduces energy that is wasted on heating the water, while preserving the colors in your bright loads of laundry. Water outside plants and/or garden early or late in the day, which will keep the moisture in the ground and not be evaporated by the sun.

Plant something to offset carbon. Native species will grow better in a familiar environment. Also, use organic soil when planting — it’s made using more eco-friendly methods and less resources. You can easily plant even small herb garden on your balcony, which can grown year-round in many cases and can be used in cooking dishes.

Reduce use of plastic, which can leach hormone-like chemicals; this includes plastics marked BPA-free. Stop buying bottled water — they’re bad for the environment, expensive, and bad for your health; using in-home filtration system is a great way to combat both. Swap out plastic for glassware. Start by replacing the items you use regularly like drinking glasses and food storage. Also, don’t put hot or acidic food in plastic and NEVER microwave them.

Gather for environment’s sake. Social gatherings are a great way to entertain and cooking for a large group is more efficient and less expensive, per person. So organize a potluck with your family and friends and reduce the carbon footprint together. You can even combine errands. Bundle your errands in one trip to reduce the distance traveled as opposed to doing little trips in between other commitments. You can also make a social and fun trip by carpooling with a friend.  

Most of all: Remember to REDUCE, REUSE & RECYCLE. Try buying less, and reusing and fixing things when you can instead of buying new. Recycling is as easy as rolling the trash bin to the curb.

Doing these little steps can make a significant difference for everyone involved. I urge you to participate and teach others to do as well; your children, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even strangers! Let’s keep this planet as green for as long as we can!

Feel free to contact me here with any questions, at drtijana.dc@gmail.comFacebook, or Twitter!

Be healthy & happy, Dr. Tijana

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