Going Green for a Healthier Life Means a Cleaner World

By Johnson, Teddi Dineley | The Nation's Health, August 2007 | Go to article overview

Going Green for a Healthier Life Means a Cleaner World


Johnson, Teddi Dineley, The Nation's Health


Green buildings. Green energy. Green cleaning. Once upon a time, green was just another color in your crayon box, or a word the neighbor used to describe your gardening thumb.

In recent years, "green" has become the universal lingo for all things environmentally friendly. As a resident of an increasingly fragile planet, you naturally want to do your part to help the environment, so you recycle, you use public transportation whenever you can and you never let the water run while you're brushing your teeth. But as you do your part to protect the environment, it's important to keep in mind that living green can also improve your health.

For example, reducing carbon dioxide emissions can be achieved in many ways, and can benefit your health and the local environment, says Jill Litt, assistant professor of environmental health at the University of Colorado.

"By deciding to use your bike or walk to get to work or do errands, you will not only reduce your fossil fuel consumption, but also increase leisure-time physical activity and possibly the opportunity to connect with others," Litt says.

Greening your home

Conventional household cleaning products can contain chemicals that may pollute the environment and leave residues on your sinks, countertops and floors. So borrow some ingredients from your great-grandmother's shopping list. Decades ago, folks relied on a handful of simple, inexpensive items to keep their homes clean, fresh and free of unwanted pests. To clean tubs and the the natural way, the Environmental Protection Agency suggests rubbing some ordinary baking soda over surfaces with a damp sponge and then rinsing with water.

Greening your work

The average American generates tons of carbon dioxide each year commuting to work through rush hour traffic. You can ease some of that strain by sharing rides, using public transportation, biking, walking or working from home. You can go green at work by packing a healthy lunch in a reusable container and eating from reusable plates and utensils. And using a ceramic mug for your coffee, instead of paper or styrofoam, will reduce waste and probably make it taste a whole lot better!

Powering down

The happy hum of a washing machine, clothes dryer, dishwasher and refrigerator are some of the soothing sounds of home, and like many Americans, there are probably times when these appliances are running all at once at your place, especially on Sunday evening when everyone's gearing up for another busy week. …

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