Sustainable living can be as easy as sleeping in - Metro US

Sustainable living can be as easy as sleeping in

The holiday season is upon us. Here are a few sustainability tips for staying healthy, saving some money, and the environment.

Sleep in if you can. As long as you are not up all night, you will be saving energy as nothing will be turned on and you will get beauty rest. Reading a book in bed can also be fairly conserving if you turn the rest of the place off.

Turn down the heat and turn off lights and equipment before you leave work.

Carpool to events with a designated driver or take the bus. These transportation strategies are essential for safe driving when holiday drinks are plentiful while also saving gas and cutting emissions.

Go for a walk. It helps burn the calories, manage holiday stresses, and allows for chit chat with others.

Reduce or avoid shopping trips. Nothing wrong with strategic shopping all at once, even at the last minute (I am hoping to get some fan mail). Think of all the gas that could be saved. You can also scale down on the holiday presents and expenses by pulling names from a hat for gift giving or giving handmade gifts.

Eat leftovers. This is a good strategy all year round. You are saving the energy the next day by not cooking.

Eat chocolate. Feel good by eating fair trade organic chocolate. Personally, I am a nicer person with a little chocolate.

Wrapping. So I am the comic and re-usable bag wrapper type. I have been accused of being lazy or not as festive with these choices. My mother recently described to me an elaborate flower and ribbon she made from magazines which sounds absolutely beautiful. My mother is amazing at cooking, crafts, painting, and other artistic pursuits. I fear my flower would look like a blob of crumpled paper which would not improve my reputation, though I did see very festive organic cloth bags at some stores that I plan on sourcing out.

Lights. The LED holiday lights have gotten a lot better in case you were an early adopter from 10 years ago and got razzed. There are more colours, softer whites, and better light dispersion. The price on a LED string has definitely come down, and they use 80-90 per cent less energy than a comparable incandescent strings.

Give. Food, hugs, smiles, these kinds of things. All good for the muscles and mind.

Rochelle Owen is director of sustain­­ability at Dalhousie University. She has worked in the environment and sustainability field for 19 years; rochelle.owen@gmail.com.

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