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Seidel: A lazy person’s guide to going green

"Protecting our environment is essential for a better future," writes Natalie Seidel, marketing coordinator for the Geneva Park District. An Earth Day celebration will take place Saturday at Peck Farm Park in Geneva.
"Protecting our environment is essential for a better future," writes Natalie Seidel, marketing coordinator for the Geneva Park District. An Earth Day celebration will take place Saturday at Peck Farm Park in Geneva.

It’s springtime, and everything is turning green! Are you ready to go green, too? Protecting our environment is essential for a better future. 

Admittedly, going green can seem daunting at first. I, myself, have struggled to incorporate conservation into a busy lifestyle. Yet, even the smallest actions can create big change. And, in some ways, going green can result in less work and a fatter wallet. Here’s a list of simple ways even the laziest environmentalist can make a difference:

• Let your grass grow. Most grass species fare best when kept at least 2½ inches tall. Longer grass has more surface area to absorb sunlight, meaning thicker turf and deeper roots. Letting grass clippings remain on your lawn adds nitrogen to the soil and discourages weed seeds from germinating. Ultimately, a low maintenance lawn requires less fertilizer, herbicide and watering.

• Change a light bulb. Replace old bulbs with compact fluorescent – or CFL – bulbs. They consume about 75 percent less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs – saving time and money.

• Be label conscious. When replacing a household appliance, choose a product with an Environmental Protection Agency-sponsored Energy Star label. These labels guarantee energy-efficiency and might come with tax credit eligibility. Look into it at www.energystar.gov.

• Do less laundry. Washing just a few clothes or dishes at a time rather than waiting for a full load to accumulate wastes water, power and money. Combining half loads, choosing short cycles and using cold or warm water rather than hot racks up savings.

• Unplug things that glow. Anything with an LED (light emitting diode) that glows even after you turn it off continues to draw power – that you pay for. Likely culprits include your TV, cellphone charger, printer and laptop. Instead, plug these devices into power strips, and cut the flow of electricity by flipping the strip switch when leaving the room.

• Go shopping. Two small purchases can greatly reduce your waste – reusable bags and water bottles. Plus, picking out fun colors, prints and shapes can be quite a treat.

• Opt out. Sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit offers at www.optoutprescreen.com and save yourself the trouble of tossing out unsolicited mail.

And finally, why not go green with Peck Farm Park?

• Celebrate Earth Day with the Natural Resources Committee of Geneva and the Geneva Park District from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Peck Farm Park. At this free event, you’ll find even more simple ways to go green while educating your family on the importance of protecting Mother Earth. Shop local at the Geneva Green Market, shred old papers, recycle ancient electronics, tune up your bicycle with the pros, or buy a beautifully decorated rain barrel. Plus, Peck Farm Park offers a multitude of wonderful ways to enjoy the blossoming spring.

For more information, call 630-232-4542 or visit www.genevaparks.org.

• Natalie Seidel is the marketing coordinator for the Geneva Park District and can be reached at 630-232-4542. Email her at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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