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Going Green Tips for an Urban Environment

>> Saturday, October 23, 2010

This is a guest post by Metro DC Mom. She is a mom of two boys, wife, runner, (temporarily retired) librarian, writer, and wannabe running coach. She does her best to lead a green lifestyle in the nation's capital, while still taking advantage of all the area has to offer."

With a blog titled “Metro DC Mom”, you might guess we live in a very urban area. You'd be right. While we do live in a neighborhood of single family homes, the lots are small and the neighborhood is surrounded by apartments, condos, and businesses. I once thought that such a scenario would make it more difficult to live a green life. While in some ways that is true, in other ways, living in an urban environment actually makes it easier to be green.

I don't have the space to grow a garden. I have one sunny corner of my yard and we manage to grow a few tomatoes and cucumbers each year, but that's about it. I don't compost any food items because of the proximity of my compost pile to the playset (which was literally built around a tree. My house is 60 years old and would require major renovations to stop the energy leaking through the walls (my bedroom closet acts as an extra beer fridge in the winter.) I'd love to hang clothes out to dry, but my backyard is nearly non existent and hanging clothes in the front just seems wrong.

But there are some ways we can be green precisely because we live in an urban city environment:
1. We mow our lawn with an electric lawnmower that we plug in. (Our neighbor actually mows his with one of the old reel lawn mowers!)
2. We can (and do) walk to the library, a grocery store, lots of shops, and plenty of restaurants. When we want to go farther than that, we can easily get to public transportation.
3. The miniscule size of my house makes me “reduce, reuse, and recycle”, even if I didn't want to be green. I have to think about every purchase I make as our house is FULL. Nothing comes in without a purpose any more and I try to donate things as soon as the boys outgrow them.
4. While a trip to a farm is a day's adventure, we have several close by farmer's markets. When time does not allow, we also have the option of two different companies that deliver organic vegetables and milk and a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture- has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer) drops off just down the street. When all else fails, we can walk to a Whole Foods.
5. Our county offers a wonderful curbside recycling program and we take full advantage of it.

I'm sure there are lots more ways I can go green in an urban environment. I'd love to hear from others about how and where they live affects what they can/can't do to live green.

You may also like to read Reducing Your Impact Through Promoting Local Farming.

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