Easy, affordable ways to be green

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, April 22, 2015

People are planting trees, picking up trash and riding their bikes around the nation to celebrate Earth Day, but why is protecting the Earth so important?

The conservation of natural resources is important for future generations, said Nancy Melancon, education coordinator at the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District.

“Conserving the natural resources we have is important because some of it, once it’s gone, we can’t replenish it,” she said.

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Earth minerals, coal, petroleum, natural gas and groundwater in certain aquifers are all examples of nonrenewable resources.

“Earth Day is all about bringing attention to the natural resources that we have and helping preserve them and take care of them,” she said. “God gave us these natural resources, and it’s up to us to take care of them.”

Melancon recommends conserving water as a great way to make a difference, as the Mississippi Delta region is experiencing a shortage.

“We take water for granted,” she said. “You turn your faucet on and it’s there, but it’s a real problem for some farmers up there.”

Melancon also recommends planting trees and responsible farming as ways to help the Earth.

“Whatever you do, do what you can do to help preserve it,” she said. “There are going to be generations after us who need it.”

Being green doesn’t have to cost you money — in fact, in most cases integrating sustainable choices into your lifestyle will actually save you money.

Don’t know where to start? You are not alone.

The key to implementing an eco-friendly lifestyle is to not just be green on Earth Day but to make eco-friendly choices every day.

Here are some tips to get you started:

• Recycle.

• Source local materials.

• Repurpose items from your home.

• Take off your shoes when you walk into the door of your home to prevent tracking in pollutants.

• Turn off lights when you leave a room.

• Wash your clothes in cold instead of hot water.

• Wash full loads of laundry.

• Switch from carpet to hardwood (carpeting traps odors and dust mites).

• Capture and reuse rainwater to water household plants.

• Use low- or zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint.

• Make your own cleaners. Lemon juice and water is a fantastic cleaner, also baking soda and vinegar.

• Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs.

• Purchase Energy Star appliances.

• Toss your coffee grinds into your household plants; they make a great fertilizer.

• Buy a programmable thermostat and lower your setting during the day/night.