5 ways I’m saving the world

Meredith, director of marketing for Urth TV and a living green pioneer, believes that our planet is about to go through a monumental shift.

Toward the positive.

That’s right. Meredith is joyfully optimistic, even in the face of global warming, an oil crisis and dying polar bears, because the way society views environmental problems is finally changing.

“This is a very exciting time in our lives, and it’s going to be up to each individual person to take a look at their life and see how they can contribute to themselves and the community and to the planet,” she said. “Really, the question is, what does it all mean to you?”

In a quest to come up with a concrete definition for green living, Meredith sat down with lots of different magazines and cut out words, images and pictures of what it meant to her to be living green.

“When I started doing the research, I came across lots of pictures of surfing and of water and of healthy food, of wonderful groups of people connected and spending time together,” she said. “That’s my definition of living green, but each individual has to figure out what living green means to them. Everyone has a different piece of the puzzle, because green living is interconnectedness. Every single person’s unique take on green living is what makes our lives possible.”

Meredith’s journey to living green began when she started paying attention to what she was eating. By focusing on what she was putting into her body, she became aware of how she was affecting her environment. She became conscious of how her tube of toothpaste could be causing harm to someone half a world away, and she decided to change the way she lived.

Here are 5 suggestions Meredith has for cultivating consciousness and finding the value in living a greener life:

1. Tap into your body.
Taking care of her body is the first place that ecology started making a difference to Meredith. You can follow suit by using your body more, doing yoga or martial arts. Use your body more and you’ll appreciate its abilities.

2. Be conscious of what you’re eating.

One of the biggest improvements came when Meredith gave up caffeine, and discovered that without it in her system, her feelings of insecurity and butterflies started to dissipate.

“Food became an experience for me because I was sitting quietly with myself every day for a little bit,” she said. “By being with my meal when I was eating it, I literally started to look up out of my skin and think, “Oh my, there’s this whole environment around me.”

3. Pay attention to what is in the products you’re buying.

“In order to feel comfortable in my body, I had to reconsider the products that I used in my home,” she said. “It was just another layer of choosing to take care of myself and surrounding myself with good things.”

4. Look for ways to cut back on consumption.

While recycling is something everyone should be doing, Meredith says reducing the amount of waste you create is even more of a priority.

“It’s not just about buying green labels, but thinking, how many pairs of shoes do I really need? How many times am I really running the washing machine every week? Can I make a gift instead of purchasing one?,” she said.

Take cloth grocery bags, for instance. Before you buy a dozen in your quest to help the environment, think about if you already have bags that will work? Can you find any at a thrift shop or garage sale before you buy a new one? Can you share with a neighbor?

5. Help your fellow humans.

“When I stopped putting so much attention on myself, I started helping other people out,” Meredith said. “I was like, ‘Holy cow. I’m living on this gorgeous, beautiful earth filled with bodies of water that are being polluted, and if I want my children to have a life here and my loved ones to be healthy, I better take care of it.'”

MORE TIPS & TOOLS

Talk the Talk
Meredith plants seeds of green thought in her Living Green podcast. With interviews and a steady eye on the market, she helps listeners get to the root of the issues.

Watch This
Turns out, Meredith makes a great show host for Urth.TV too. She talks green with some of the most vibrant movement revolutionaries, all for your enjoyment.

The Lights Are On
And they’re good for the environment, thanks to the knowledge you got from Low Impact Living. Go on and look. It’s more than just recycling.

Seeing Green
Recipes. Transportation. Fashion. Oh my. Thanks to Green Living Magazine, it’s never been easier to show your true colors.

Just Do It Yourself
Earth-friendly and wallet-conscious, ReadyMade helps you claim your corner of the world and decorate it just the way you want it.

Color Me Happy
At Green Living Tips, you can learn easy lifestyle changes that reduce your impact on the environment.

Sit & Think
Gaiam, a lifestyle company, offers home furnishings and products with the goal of making sustainable living mainstream.

Eco Bites
Bite-sized, affordable and convenient ways to make small changes to affect big change.

How does 83 cents a gallon sound?

As gas prices crept above $5/gallon in some parts of the country this summer, most of us reconsidered our travel plans and some of us started looking more closely at public transportation. The term “staycation” came into our common vernacular, and we adopted “errand loops” to extend the lives of our fill-ups.

But while most of us wondered how our pump costs could possibly be exceeding our car payments, Zan Dubin Scott and her husband Paul sat on their back patio and soaked up the sunshine. Their car, a Toyota Rav4 parked in the garage, did the same thing.

“All the electricity for our house and the car is generated by solar panels on our roof,” said Zan. “We haven’t been to a gas station in over six years with this car.”

Since 2002, Zan and her husband Paul have been literally driving on sunshine. Both considered themselves conscientious citizens their whole lives, but it wasn’t until Paul was diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer four months after their wedding that the couple decided to get serious about their environmentalism.

“I was a marathoner, and health issues were the farthest thing from my mind,” said Paul. “I thought I was going to be a really old guy, and I had all this time left to do all these things that I wanted to do… When you’re faced with death, you start thinking, ‘Well, I’m not wasting any more time.’”

Paul and Zan had solar panels installed on Paul’s 50th birthday, and that investment made such an impact on their lives that they started to look at other ways they could lessen their effect on the world. They came across websites about electric cars and decided to take a test drive.

“The first time I drove this car, I had this rush of feeling that I was doing something really significant to help this planet,” Zan said.

“It was better than sliced bread,” Paul agreed. “This car is silent, it’s more powerful than a gas version and it runs on sunlight. We bought one as fast as we could, and we were lucky we did because they shut the program down shortly after we received the car.”

Thus began their journey into activism.

As automakers clamor to roll out new technology that is affordable and functional, Zan said it’s critical that we as consumers keep demanding better energy efficiency. Through her and Paul’s non-profit organization, Plug In America, she encourages people to tell car manufactures “no plug, no deal.”

The summer gas crunch that had us pinching our pennies may have been just the wake up call we needed. Nissan is in a race to go global with an all-electric car by 2012, and Tesla motors has already rolled out a space age Roadster that costs about as much as your first house did. Slightly more tangible than these two options is Chevy’s new Volt, which looks like the sedans we’re used to and comes with a $7,500 tax credit. It’s due out at the end of 2010.

See what other cars Zan endorses at Plug In America, where she and Paul make it easy for you to join the 83 cents per gallon club.

MORE TIPS & TOOLS

Soul Crushing
See Zan and Paul in action in Who Killed the Electric Car?

Join the club!
Want to find some like minded electric car fans? Take a look at the Electric Auto Association and get info on how to rally for the cause.

A Trusted Advisor
Get the latest news and advisories on green automotives through Edmund’s Green Car Advisor.