Start With Your Family: Go Green

If you can’t educate your family, how can you get the general public to listen? If your family can change for the better, there’s a chance that strangers will also as well.

Some Go Green tips our family has done:

  •  Recycle
  •  Install a low-flow toilet
  •  Turn off lights and computer when not in use
  •  Set the thermostat at constant 70 when it’s cold.
  •  Use the sun to dry items  Grow plants
  •  Buy food from the farmer’s market occasionally
  •  Occasionally bike/walk 25 min. to get shopping done

I had no influence in any of these tips whether it is to save money or to benefit the environment. Living in NYC, we have mass transit.

Being a part of the Go Green club in high school, we decided to campaign for energy-saving tips. We sold compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to students and teachers.

I have been able to convince my family to change our incandescent bulbs to CFLs. Not only do we save money, we save waste and energy. I bought several CFLs from the school and told my parents the benefits to switching. Today, we buy and use CFLs.

Saving water

If you think there’s plenty of water, you’re living under a rock.

Five-minute shower uses about 12.5 gallons of water. The average shower (10 minutes) uses up to 25 gallons of water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The average family of four can use 400 gallons of water every day.

I only take 5 to 10 minutes in the shower. My brother on the other hand, takes 20 minutes in the shower. That’s 50 gallons of water. I have tried to tell him to use less time (about 10 minutes). My mother steps in for my brother with the lame excuse that he cleans better than I do. I comment that my father takes even less time about 5 minutes. I only time my brother’s shower time because he takes the longest. I should calculate my mother’s time as well.

How long do you take in the shower? What’s your bill?

Artist: Bryant Arnold

In NYC, tap water only costs $2 per liter. One water bottle costs around the same. NYC water comes from upstate NY where the water is already treated. My family buys several cases of water bottles wasting lots of money, plastic, and water. They don’t trust the water from the tap. There’s nothing wrong with drinking straight from the faucet.

Do you buy water bottles or drink in a cup/nalgene bottle?

Personally I haven’t tried very hard to educate my family or follow my own advice (water bottles). Hence, I’m not very good.

I will put more effort into saving water this Thanksgiving break.


  • Shorten shower time
  • Lower water bill
  • Buy nalgene bottles and not buy water bottles

Maybe you can join me. Start with your family. What will you change?


About GirlOnGreen

Occasional writer. Sporadic bursts of wittiness. Speaks for the trees. Not built under pressure. Twitter: girlongreen
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