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tiffycat

A lot of people are shipping Jack Frost and Elsa these days despite coming from different movies--Rise of the Guardians and Frozen, respectively--because of their similar abilities. The cool pair seems like they would make a match in frozen heaven and if we were whimsical, we would blame all this freezing weather to this icy couple. Whimsy aside, it’s important that we set our focus on how to keep warm in frigid temperatures and do it in a way that won’t be harmful to our environment.

Pile on the Layers (clothing not fat)

Putting on a jacket is always a good idea when it’s chilly outside. But the layering takes on a completely different level when you’re faced with below zero temperatures even when you’re just inside your home. It’s so tempting to just turn up the thermostat so you can immediately feel the toasty warmth slowly permeate the house. Cranking up the heat is an inviting idea but you won’t think so when your next energy bill arrives. The next best option you have a simple one--pile on as many layers of clothing as you can. I talked with my friend Amari from New York and she put on six layers of clothing and she was still cold. The number of layers depends on what works for you and this way, you can conserve energy by keeping your hand off the thermostat.

Shut the Cold Out

“Baby it’s cold outside,” croons the lyrics of a romantic winter song by Frank Loesser. And while this is an apt description for the freezing conditions outside, if you don’t take care in keeping the cold out, pretty soon you’ll be changing the lyrics to “Baby, it’s cold inside”. The cold has a way of sneaking up on you, whether it’s under the door or through barely there gaps that are almost unnoticeable. The point is, there should be no gaps. You have to fill in the gaps so that you can shut the cold out. A simple yet eco-friendly way of doing this is to make use of the things you already have to create draft dodgers of blockers. If you have very worn and ripped towels that you weren’t able to throw out yet, you can use them to fill in the space between the floor and the door. Make sure not only the doors but also vents are closed especially in rooms that are seldom used. If you shut out the cold, you will keep heat from escaping as well, which means that you won’t need to crank up the heat anymore.

Use Alternative Energy

We need energy to help generate heat in our homes to keep us warm. We also need it to help us fix hot meals that seem heavensent on particularly cold days. Energy is needed but to do it the green way, using alternative energy is better. While mother nature’s freezing breath casts a cold spell in whatever town or city you’re in, at least you have the energy you need to help generate the heat in the face of icy temperatures. There are alternative energy providers like Ambit Energy that can help you keep up with your green goals and at the same time keep you warm. If you haven’t tried alternative energy yet, you can browse through testimonials like this Ambit Energy review to give you an idea of why alternative energy is better for you and the environment.

tiffycat
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New year’s day is resolutions time and normally, I wouldn’t make any. However, since a couple of years ago, I re-started the trend and surprisingly, they kind of worked. This is why this year, I am making a new batch of resolutions to start the year right and keep me going until the end of the year. This time around, my focus is on green resolutions.

Go Organic

For months I have been wanting to adapt a healthier lifestyle and going organic. Some people think that going organic is expensive. But there is a less expensive way to do this. You can grow your own vegetable garden and just harvest what you need from there. If going organic is a little bit more expensive than your usual food choices, you can make adjustments and cut back on some of your unnecessary expenses so you can invest more in your health. Remember, health is wealth and the earlier we embrace a healthier lifestyle, the happier we will be.

Go Green

Going organic doesn’t just pertain to food choices, it can also mean going green, choosing options that have less or zero impact on the environment. These days, I have been more conscious of the things that I am using. I try to use cleaners with natural ingredients rather than those with harsh chemicals. I also pay more attention now to biodegradable and recyclable labels on items. These choices are not only healthier for you but also for our environment.

Go Green Travel

One of the things that can inspire you--if you have not gone green yet--is the magnificent grandeur of mother nature. This year I want to travel to places that showcase this glorious beauty and places where people caring for the environment has managed to help protect this natural wonder. A friend of mine who recently visited Hawaii has often told me of the peoples’ efforts there in conserving wildlife and its environment. It must be a very beautiful place to visit. If you are planning to travel green, just remember to always take travel insurance. There are insurance companies such as Seven Corners that have plans to fit whatever traveler’s needs or budget. I hope that others too will embark on journeys that will help them to discover the gift of nature’s beauty and hopefully inspire them to embark on their own quest to help preserve the environment.

What’s your green resolution for this year?

tiffycat
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You have a party to go to come weekend and so you take out your jewelry that you only wear on special occasions, only to realize that it has lost its sparkle. The once shining, shimmering accessory has become dull and you’re thinking that you need to head to the mall to buy some jewelry cleaner. But you don’t actually need to buy one because you can make your own jewelry cleaner at home. And the best part is, you can make sure it’s environmentally-friendly.

Dishwashing Soap

This is one reason why you don’t need to buy a chemical cleaner for your jewelry. It can even be found in your home. Dishwashing soap can clean more than just dishes. It can be used for your jewelry’s daily basic cleaning. It works well for pearl and turquoise to name a few gems. But you can test it with your other jewelry to see how well it cleans other types. All you have to do is fill a bowl with a couple of pumps from your dishwashing soap and warm water. Put your jewelry in and let it soak for a couple of minutes. After soaking, you can also try to scrub it gently with a small brush--like for mascara--so you can clean better. Pat dry after you’re done.

Baking Soda

My mother often used baking soda to clean our silverware. It took me a while to realize that it can be used to clean silver jewelry, too. The first thing you have to find is a cleaning cloth. You have to make sure that it’s non-abrasive so that it doesn’t scratch your jewelry while cleaning. Rub some baking soda on it and you can use it to polish your silver accessories. This cleaning method helps prevent tarnish. Cleaning diamond rings, however, are a different matter. You need to get a cup of hot water and mix in about one or two teaspoons of baking soda. Again you will need to soak in your rings for about a few minutes before you take them out. After which, you dry them using a damp cloth.

There are other ways you can clean your jewelry in an eco-friendly way. Another method involves toothpaste and a toothbrush, but you have to make sure that your toothpaste is all natural. It should be free of all BPA, too. You can explore other ways of cleaning but it’s safe to do some research first before you do irreparable damage to your accessories.

image from David Yurman

tiffycat

Green Travel Bucket List

Everyone has their own travel bucket list, which contains all the places that they want to visit the most at least once in their lifetime. At the top of my travel bucket list is Japan, because I have always been fascinated by the country and its culture, and I also want to put my basic Japanese skills to the test. While there are those who choose to travel in order to immerse into other cultures, there are also those who choose to travel in a green way. In short, they want to try exploring the world in a greener way, one that will put them in closer contact with nature and reiterate the importance of caring for the environment. Here are a couple of places that might be included in their green travel bucket list.

Honolulu, Hawaii

My friend Laine is currently in Hawaii for a leadership program that she feels privileged to be part of. Whenever I see pictures that she shares on Facebook, I feel a little bit envious because they showcase nature in all its majesty. The great thing about Hawaii is that it is not only known for its beautiful white sand beaches, it is also known for its conservation efforts. It is a paradise for green travelers because it allows them to enjoy the outdoors with its many eco-tourist activities. If you were saddened by the plight of dolphins in Japan, you’ll be happy to know that Hawaii has a Wild Dolphin Foundation, which seeks to protect these gentle sea creatures. You can even swim with dolphins or if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can choose to have an encounter with a shark. The Hawaii Shark Encounters is an organization dedicated to the conservation of sharks, which includes education and research. Other eco-tour activities green travelers may want to partake in is the whale watching and snorkeling with sea turtles. They may also want to participate in coast clean up activities.

Amazon Rainforest

Visiting the Amazon Rainforest is probably one of the most up-close and personal experiences you will ever have with mother nature. Here you will encounter flora and fauna that you will never stumble on in any other place. You will get to know how local indigenous people are able to survive in such wilderness. The amazing thing is that they are able to because the forest provides them with everything from food, shelter, medicine and other materials for their daily needs. This oneness and immersion with nature also feeds their spirituality. This very spirituality is what allows them to see more clearly than other people, our connection to mother nature and why we should try to conserve the environment before it is too late.

Although there are other places that can be included in your green travel bucket list, I think that Hawaii and the Amazon Rainforest should be at the top of your list. These two places should be able to open your eyes and help you learn to appreciate more the natural wonders of the world. If you aren’t a green traveler yet, these two places just might be able to convert you into one. Before you decide to go to these places, always remember to bring travel insurance with you, especially if you decide to travel to the Amazon Rainforest. Since you are exploring a wild and untamed area, it’s best to be prepared for any contingency, including the medical kind.

tiffycat
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These days, the phrase “paint the town green” just might take over the original “paint the town red.” The reason behind this logic has probably something to do with our current situation and the sorry state that Mother Earth is in. For years, humans have been purging the planet of whatever resources they can use with little regard of how this may affect the future. Now their actions in the past have caught up with them and the consequences aren’t pretty.

Today, people have to contend with how greenhouse gases have contributed to climate change resulting in extreme weather patterns. One of the more alarming effects of this so-called climate change is how it has caused severe melting of the polar ice caps, creating a small lake sitting on top of the north pole. This article at Huffingtonpost.com can give you a clearer picture of how dire things are. Due to these circumstances, more and more people have been adapting greener measures in an effort to help preserve the environment.

Green Construction

Companies like Echo Pacific have taken the lead in incorporating green building practices in construction. They strongly support sustainable building techniques through their LEED program, which minimizes environmental impact not only during the construction period but even after the building has been completed. Some the techniques employed by the company include re-using construction material, minimizing consumption of fossil fuel, using locally sourced materials, and using not only solar but also wind power.

Green Auto

Hybrid and plug in cars are slowly becoming the rage as more citizens are becoming aware of their environmental responsibility. In fact, the competition of new green cars is heating up, with some companies offering as much as $4000 in rebates. To encourage more people to go green, the U.S. Department of Energy is offering tax incentives for fuel efficient vehicles. Even schools like Harvard are offering green incentives for faculty and staff members who are willing to bike to work.

Green Taxation

To face the growing global challenge of sustaining the planet, some countries have taken to using tax as a way of driving sustainable company behavior, thereby implementing more green policies and achieving more eco-friendly goals. In fact, KPGM International has released a Green Tax Index, which contains a list of countries that have been actively using green taxation. Topping this list are six countries which include the United States of America, Japan, United Kingdom, France, South Korea and China.

The Green Tax Index is meant to explore the way how the governments in the different nations use their tax system in order to address global challenges, which include energy security, scarcity of water and other resources, growing pollution and the gradual climate change. It analyzes not only green incentives but also penalties in about 21 of the major economies in the world, with focus on certain key policy areas. The different areas include energy as well as water efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, green innovation and buildings.

Green Future

Although the world has a long way to go before it can go completely green, it’s comforting to know that there are indeed measures being implemented to help preserve our environment. This eco-awareness continues to grow and spread all over the globe, that even if we take it one day at a time, we are capable of creating a greener future for all us and the new generations to come.

About the Author

Based in San Diego California, Tiffany Matthews is a professional writer with over 5 years of writing experience. She also blogs about travel, fashion, and anything under the sun at wordbaristas.com, a group blog that she shares with her good friends. In her free time, she likes to travel, read books, and watch movies. You can find her on Twitter as @TiffyCat87.

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