The news about climate change tends to focus on the economic impact of wildfires, floods and devastating droughts around the world. It’s hard to feel like anything we could do locally can make a difference—especially after the holidays, when we’re more focused on a flat wallet or a maxed-out credit card than on the global economy.
Is there any way to address climate change and keep some pocket change? You bet! For starters, here are five simple steps we can take in our homes, with our families, and alongside our neighbors to go green and save some green in the process. Think about taking on one of these measures a month from January to June!
1) Eat your veggies and save $100 a month.
Everybody’s heard about the health benefits of a plant-rich diet, right? But think about this: Plant-based meals are often the least expensive way to eat well. A recent survey of more than 1,000 Americans, reported on CNet.com, found that a plant-based diet was about $23 a week less expensive than one with meat. And plant-based meals don’t have to be highfalutin. In fact, they are as familiar and culturally relevant as—say—red beans and rice, egg foo young, or pasta with pesto.
2) Here’s a related tip: cook for two (meals, not people!)
Next time you’re making a meal, consider making twice as much, and storing half for later in the week. That’s lots more economical than making just a bit more than you need…and eventually throwing out the leftovers, which is what we often end up doing.
3) Take the bus. Or ride a bike.
Better yet, take your bike on the bus, all for $1! Bikes are great for making short hops around town, and buses are good for the long haul across the cities. Taken together, the combination is awesome. Every Metro Transit bus has a bike rack on the front bumper that accommodates one or two bikes. Riding the light rail with a bike is even easier; you can wheel your bike right into the car and fasten it to a rack on board. If you are on public assistance like WIC or EBT you can apply for the Transit Assistance Program (TAP) and you (and your bike) can ride for just $1 per ride. Apply online or at one of several Metro Transit locations.
4) Ditch the lawnmower.
Here’s good news: more and more city dwellers are opting to put their lawnmowers in the garage – sometimes permanently. You don’t have to go all wild with native plants, if you don’t want to. You’ll save money, time, and water if you simply water and mow your grass less often. Taken together, urban lawns make up the most irrigated crop in America, according to the EPA. That’s pretty crazy, considering that we can’t eat grass. Letting your grass grow an inch or two longer helps it retain water, resist grub infestation, and generally be more prepared to handle the hotter summers caused by climate change.
5) Plant a tree.
Research demonstrates that trees in and around a house can increase the property’s value, in addition to providing beauty and cooling shade for the house’s residents. An online app from the US Forest Service called “I-tree” calculates the benefit of a given tree, both in terms of “environmental services” like diverting stormwater and reducing air pollution, and in terms of household savings on air conditioning and heating. Neighborhood groups in Frogtown, Hamline-Midway, Summit-U and Payne-Phalen will be giving away free trees this summer, making it that much easier to take advantage of trees’ green benefits.
Frogtown Green is a grassroots neighborhood initiative to grow a greener, healthier Frogtown, one which will withstand the impact of climate change. To get involved with our efforts, check our website (www.frogtowngreen.com) shoot us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or simply give us a call (651-757-5970).
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