Posted: Oct 04, 2013 8:00 AM
Think you aren't cool enough to go green? You don't have to drive a hybrid and make your own soap to be a good citizen of the planet. We've got a few ideas to help you get started.

Everyone is always talking about being green, but what are they really talking about? Do you sometimes want to hang your head in shame when the conversation turns to loving our Mother Earth? We understand — and here are a few twists on your regular life you can make to do your part… at least it's a start.

Green up your groceries

farm fresh produce

Did you ever think about how far most of the produce in your local grocery store has to travel just to reach your plate? All of those trucks driving across the country burn fossil fuels and create pollution. Not very green, is it? One relatively easy (and tasty!) swap is to start buying most of your produce locally. Many areas have farmers markets — some even operate year-round, taking things inside when the weather turns cold and wet.

Another option is to join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group, which is a great way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a participating farmer. In return for your subscription you receive a basket or box of seasonal produce on a regular basis. Check out Local Harvest for information on local farmers markets, co-ops, CSA groups and more. The U.S. Department of Agriculture can also help you find your local farmers market on their website. When you can buy relatively local produce, you are not only getting fresher, tastier choices but you're saving energy too. Sounds pretty green to us.

water glassLoad it up

Water is one of our most precious resources — and it's totally green to conserve water! One of the ways we use too much water around the house is running the dishwasher. How often do you run a load of dishes that isn't completely full? Start a new habit of only running full loads of dishes and you may find that you run one or two less loads per week.

One easy way to use less room in the dishwasher is to have each family member use just one glass each day. After your morning juice, just rinse your glass and set it aside. Even with a household of four people, a day's worth of drinking glasses takes up a lot of space in the dishwasher. See? You're on your way to being green already.

Work together

gas containerSometimes being green isn't just something your family does alone. Banding together with friends and neighbors to reduce waste, conserve resources and save money is a great way to start. While it may take a little more planning, organizing a carpool for soccer reduces the number of cars driving across town two days per week for the whole season.

Do you live close enough for the kids to walk to school, but they aren't old enough to go it alone? Band together with neighbors and take turns shadowing the group as they walk. More cars off the road means less pollution — and being green.

Share with us!^ What small changes have you made to be more green? Share your ideas in the comments.

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