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Small Doesn’t Mean Insignificant: Going Green

“It’s not easy being green,” Kermit the Frog sang with great feeling. Today, 51 years after the song debuted on Sesame Street in 1970, the reality expressed in that one line hasn’t changed: It isn’t easy being or going, green.

Kermit’s struggles with being green are, of course, different from the struggles that going green can involve. But making eco-friendly choices—from what we buy and eat to how we get ourselves from one place to another—isn’t easy. It is, however, necessary, not only to improve our own well-being but also to help sustain the life of, and on, our planet.

Attempting to overhaul long-term behaviors in a short period of time usually causes frustration (Why does this involve so much decision-making? I thought it was supposed to make life easier!), self-recrimination (Social/magazines/books/TV shows make this look simple. Why is it challenging for me?) and defeat (Life is complicated enough as it is—I don’t need even more complications).

Rather than trying to fast-track major changes and become green overnight, approach it as an opportunity for self-education, and set small, manageable goals. Swapping out incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs in your home, for example, is a considerably cheaper, and easier, goal than installing a solar panel. And even though swapping out light bulbs is a smaller change than putting in a solar panel, it still has an impact: LED bulbs use less energy than incandescent bulbs, which reduces the demand from your home on the local power plant, which in turn reduces greenhouse emissions. They also last longer, which reduces the number of bulbs that get thrown away and wind up in a landfill.

Other little changes that can have long-term effects:

· Getting (and using) a reusable water bottle
· Buying a reusable straw and saying no to plastic ones
· Going paperless and switching to online payments
· Setting a small bucket or container out on your porch/front stoop/fire escape to collect rainwater and then using it to water houseplants

Making incremental, lasting changes to our lives leads to incremental, lasting changes in our relationships with ourselves, our communities, and our planet. Remember that small doesn’t mean insignificant, especially when it comes to Earth!