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Tips For Living a Greener Life

Happy Earth Day 2012!

Small changes have the potential to make a big impact. This includes making small lifestyle changes for a more vibrantly green future. Here is a list of Patch-recommended ways to lead a greener life. The best part is that they will also save you some money. 

1. Grow your own food.

Check out some of the local seed bank resources here in the county. There is one at the Museum of Art and History in downtown Santa Cruz, and there is the Demeter Seed Library, which was started by a UCSC student.

These local seed banks offer free, organic heirloom seeds that have been adapted to our climate (you'll have a better chance of having gardening success especially if you're a first time gardener.)

Growing your own food is not only satisfying work, it requires no fossil fuel like the food that is grown and shipped into grocery stores and then to your plate. Plus, it's invariably healthier for you and your family.

2. Make Your Own Gifts 

Mother's Day is right around the corner. Although it might be easier to just stop at Target and pick her up a ready-made gift that was likely shipped from China or some other far off location, it is cheaper, more satisfying and much greener to make her your own gift. 

Consider making her a living succulent wreath with Scotts Valley's succulent guru, , in her workshop on April 29. 

Or, you can draw inspiration from a plethora of great do-it-yourself gift ideas at designsponge.com, from sculptural copper coil vases to more advanced mail baskets made from wood and leather. 

3. Be To-Go Savvy

In this fast-paced world it's sometimes easier to just grab a sandwhich baggy out of a draw in your kitchen, slap a PB & J together and run out the door. The few extra seconds it takes to rinse out and reuse a tupperware are seconds that mother earth will thank you for taking. 

Consider checking out Greenspace in Santa Cruz for all of your to-go needs, from tea and coffee and soup containers to elaborate and compact little lunch kits complete with forks and knives. 

4. Go Paperless

How much mail do you get? And how much mail do you really need to get? It's a relativey painless process to have everything from cell phone and credit card bills to auto insurrance bills sent directly to your email, saving trees and energy. For all of that other junk mail that comes whether we ask for it or not, consider taking the time to take your name off the master lists. Read more about stopping unwanted mail at Catalogchoice.org.

5. Dine Responsibly 

It's time to think a little bit more about where the food you eat comes from, not just for your own health, but for the health of the planet.

Make conscientious restaurant choices whenever possible: choose restaurants which support local, seasonal produce, or sustainable seafood. , located in Capitola Village offers sustainable fish options. You can learn more about sustainable seafood at the Santa Cruz-based organization Fishwise.org

There are a thousand more ways to lessen your impact on the planet by living a greener life. Please share your ideas for a greener lifestyle in the comments!

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