Green Living

We can’t live without our pets — as a matter of fact, most American households have at least one pet in this day and age. Pets offer so many benefits. They help us relax and offer unconditional love and companionship. Another benefit of owning a pet, of course, is the fact that pets give you something to focus on. But this also means that you’re going to have to devote a lot of attention to your pet. As pets are a part of the family, many people want their pets to be fully incorporated into their lifestyles — which is why there is a rising interest in eco-friendly pet ownership. People want to know that they’re still thinking about the environment when they own pets; which can sometimes be a little difficult and certainly easier said than done. Lots of people find that their pet’s food is actually a lot less friendly to the environment than they would think, and many flea and tick prevention treatments used in the home are somewhat unhealthy. The year 2015 alone saw 68% of all pest control service revenue in the United States coming from residential services. What this means is that lots of pesticides — potentially harmful to the environment — were used by average homeowners. This is done with good intent; nobody wants their home or their pets to be infested with pests. But there are better ways to go about handling this type of issue. Considering it truly factors into being an eco-friendly pet owner. Let’s look into some of the best ways that you can be an environmentally conscious pet owner!

1. Invest In Eco-Friendly Flea And Tick Prevention

As you might imagine, we’re first looking at flea and tick prevention. Of course, you’ll want to consult with your vet before using any over the counter flea and tick prevention or medication, as your pet may have specific needs. Nonetheless, there are ways to prevent fleas and ticks in pets without using chemicals that are bad for the environment. Of course, you wouldn’t think that pet-safe flea and tick preventions would be environmentally unsafe. But the fact is that many of them are not as safe as they could be, and certainly not natural. Rather than using harsh chemicals, you may want to use products that utilize earth-safe materials, like certain oils. Don’t assume that whatever you can buy from the grocery store is eco-friendly, or good for your pet. Be careful!

2. Consider Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter

We don’t often think about the type of cat litter we beyond how well it suppresses scents and how easy it is to dispose of. However, many common types of cat litter are not biodegradable. This means that when you dispose of them, they stick around and can harm the environment. Fortunately, there are better cat litters are on the market, and they do degrade naturally. Of course, some of them might be more expensive than the traditional types of cat litter — but it’s important that you keep the environment in mind. Some of the biodegradable cat litter is even made from recyclable materials. If you have even one cat, you’re going to end up using a lot of — and throwing away a lot of — cat litter in the long run. You should definitely try to make it as environmentally friendly as possible!

3. Spay Or Neuter Your Pets

There are so many reasons why people should spay and neuter their pets — but if you care about the environment, you should make it even more of a priority. As much as we love our pets, if the world is overrun with too many of them the environment is negatively impacted. The world isn’t big enough to sustain the number of animals that would exist if pets weren’t spayed or neutered — and for that matter, there aren’t enough pet owners available to take care of them. Therefore, you should spay or neuter your pet as soon as it’s healthy to do so. This will range between dogs and cats, as well as other types of animals. Furthermore, spaying or neutering your pet will make their lives a lot better, and yours much easier. You’ll be able to keep your pet from created unwanted offspring, and spaying or neutering a pet can solve a lot of behavior issues as well. Intact animals can be much more aggressive or anxious, and they’re often at risk for cancers that don’t affect spayed or neutered animals. Therefore, when you spay or neuter an animal you’re ultimately making the best decision for their health in every sense and making an environmentally responsible decision.

4. Adopt, Don’t Shop

Many people think of adopting a pet from a shelter as a humane, moral decision rather than an eco-friendly one. However, when you consider how easy it is for pets to contribute to animal overpopulation, adopting a pet rather than buying one from a breeder — and therefore encouraging irresponsible breeding — is incredibly environmentally conscious. Therefore, you should go ahead and adopt a pet if you’re looking to add to your family. There are so many wonderful pets up for adoption; why wouldn’t you just go for it?

All of these things considered, there are many ways that you can be a more environmentally friendly pet owner. You just need to be careful about the decisions you make, as well as the way that you care for your pet. The more considerate you are of your pet’s impact on the environment, the less of an impact you’ll have on the environment in general.

It’s no secret that going green takes hard work, and not everyone can maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle. However, for those that are truly committed to making an impact and reducing their carbon footprint, there are plenty of ways to make your home an eco-friendly haven. In some cases, a home will need a bit more extensive work to fit a green lifestyle. Remodeling or renovating is a massive undertaking, especially if you plan on renovating your entire home, as is the case in about 35% of remodeling jobs. How can you renovate your home to help you go green? The key is in working harder, not smarter. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Identify The Problem Spots

Not every area in your home is created equal when it comes to living a green lifestyle. Some spaces, like the kitchen and bathrooms, are inherently going to use more energy. After all, a bedroom doesn’t have to worry about energy-intensive appliances. If you’re on a tighter budget and can’t afford a whole-home renovation, focus on areas that will have the biggest impact first. Kitchens and bathrooms can be a great place to start if you’re not sure where to turn.

Prioritize Energy Savings

Sometimes, the problem isn’t conveniently isolated to just one room of the house. In this case, focus on fixes that can decrease the amount of energy used in your home regularly. This usually means making improvements that will help with heating and cooling your home without using as much energy. For example, if your windows are a bit older and drafty, window replacements can make a huge difference. Approximately 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through its windows, and switching to energy-efficient alternatives can shrink how much energy you’re wasting. Similarly, if you’re already having to make repairs in the attic or on the roof, consider changing out what materials your roof uses. Simply choosing the right roofing material could result in as much as a 30% decrease in your home’s energy needs. The best approach will vary by home, so take your home’s unique traits into account when creating a plan.

Work A Step At A Time

Finally, remember that switching to a greener lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. Many homeowners attempt to renovate multiple areas of their homes all at once or try to squeeze as many repairs into as short a window as possible. While this method is understandable, it can be incredibly stressful, especially if you’re living in the home while repairs are ongoing. Don’t be afraid to work in smaller sections and spread out the work over longer periods. This will help you reduce stress during renovations and allows you to see the gradual changes that individual projects make on your energy usage.

Having an eco-friendly home can greatly help you live a greener lifestyle, but for many homeowners, it takes a bit of work to achieve that energy-saving, greener home. Working smarter with these tips can help you create the home you dream of while avoiding burnout in the process. How do you plan to update your home to reflect your green lifestyle?

Ecotourism has been gaining popularity in recent years with families looking to travel sustainably in greener destinations. Ecotourism is a kind of eco-friendly travel that involves supporting the local environment instead of exploiting its resources.

While there are many different types of ecotourism that involve traveling abroad, you can take eco-tours right here in the U.S. and learn how you can help your local communities. Here are four eco-tour destinations that are great for families in 2020.

Stonehaven Farm in Westport, MA

Farm-stays in the U.S. are a popular eco-tourist choice among families. It’s not hard to understand why.

Kids can help with chores around the farm including grooming animals and gathering eggs. Your family can also pick berries and vegetables depending on the season when you visit.

Farm-stays are a great way to teach your kids about the hard work that goes into farming like producing crops, raising animals, and taking care of the land. You can even learn about the history of farming tools like how early screws used to be handmade and butter used to be churned by hand.

Elk Mountain Ranch in Buena Vista, CO

If you’re looking for something different from your regular farm-stay, consider vacationing at the Elk Mountain Ranch, instead. On this working ranch, your family can stay in a western-style cabin and eat in a large communal dining room with other guests.

You can play horseshoes, hike along the local trails, look for small animals and birds, look for arrowheads, and go fishing. Your family can even explore a local mining town nearby.

Blue Planet Kayak Eco-Tours in Key West, FL

Many families like to travel to Florida when they go on vacation, but not many take the time to learn about the local ecosystems and the animals and plants that live there. Up to 97% of the earth’s water is saltwater and many creatures call it their home.

In Key West, you can take a guided two-hour kayak tour as a family and explore all the local marine creatures like juvenile fish, crustaceans, dolphins, and manatees.

There are kayak tours offered in the evenings, too, so you can explore the marine creatures that are active at night with headlamps. Just make sure that each member of your family knows how to swim as a safety precaution. About 37% of U.S. adults can’t swim farther than the length of a pool, so it’s good to practice.

Halibut Cove on Kachemak Bay, AK

Alaska may not be the vacation destination that first comes to mind when you think of family vacations. But this enormous state offers 75 parks including national parks, preserves, state parks, and national forests.

Up to 52% of Alaska’s acreage is wilderness, so if you’re looking for a truly eco-centric eco-tourist vacation, Alaska is the place to visit. Your family can explore the natural wildlife, go on hikes, explore bird sanctuaries, go fishing, and explore the local community of artists and craftspeople.

If your kids are older, you can visit Anchorage and take a guided snowmobile tour to explore the local wildlife and take in the incredible scenery. There are over 1.2 million registered snowmobiles in the U.S. and snowmobile tours are offered at varying skill levels so you can find one that works for you.

There are plenty of opportunities to go on an eco-tour vacation right in the states. For your next family vacation, explore what your community has to offer and learn how you can make a difference sustaining local wildlife.

Your wedding day may very well be the most important day of your life. Or perhaps it’s not that big of a deal to you; maybe you’re throwing a wedding to please your parents. Either way, weddings are a fairly traditional part of most people’s lives, with 2.4 million weddings performed each year on average in the United States alone. We devote a lot of time to planning weddings, often at least a year. This is because most couples want their weddings to be memorable, fun, and authentically “them”. They want their weddings to have a unique stamp, rather than reminding people of parties that they’ve been to before. Of course, this often means spending some degree of money — on average, $35,329. Though some couples get help from their parents — and in fact, some parents follow the tradition of the bride’s family paying for the wedding — many have taken on more responsibility for the finances that go along with wedding planning. This makes sense; many couples are waiting longer to get married. Furthermore, paying for your wedding gives you more free rein to do exactly what you want, and to prioritize what is important to you.

For a lot of modern couples, ensuring that their wedding is “green” or eco-friendly is very important. The current generation of young adults is more aware than ever of the issues pertaining to the environment. Some are even conflicted about whether or not to throw a big wedding or not. Planning a big party seems to be wasteful, and at odds with environmental friendliness. Luckily, there are ways that you can be environmentally friendly while throwing the wedding that you want. Let’s dive into what you can to make your wedding as green as possible!

1. Cut Down On Waste

One of the biggest environmental issues that comes with throwing a big wedding is the amount of trash and waste that a wedding can accumulate. It’s not just the reception, either. Even getting ready for your wedding can produce waste. For instance, try skipping the disposable razor to shave and consider a laser hair removal session instead. In some cases, a laser hair removal session can take as little as 30 minutes and cut your waste down to zero.  Most women (42%) even say they prefer natural, waste-free beauty. Never mind all of the excess food that is prepared and ultimately wasted — at least much of this can be broken down, and can sometimes even be donated to those in need. (Which is something you should certainly consider; see if you can work with caterers who donate their leftovers to homeless shelters or charities.) Trash often ends up in landfills, where it cannot be broken down and ultimately ends up contributing to the environmental problems we’re dealing with today. You can compensate by ensuring that your caterers not only use reusable silverware and dishes, but reusable napkins as well. Don’t use products that can be easily tossed aside, and set aside a container for recyclable products. For that matter, rather than using up a lot of plants through centerpieces that will ultimately go to waste, perhaps use ice sculptures, which can melt down into reusable water in about four to six hours.

2. A Vegan Menu

Whether or not you yourself are vegan, you may want to consider serving your guests from a vegan menu. Consider how many guests you’re serving, and how much energy can be used when preparing those meals. It may seem difficult to cut down on that kind of waste at all. Many environmental experts recommend a vegan diet to those who want to minimize their carbon footprints. The benefits of a vegan diet are manifold — but it benefits the environment because it doesn’t contribute to the meat industry. The fact is that the meat industry takes up a lot of land, and the animals themselves can overfeed and harm the land. Of course, the biggest issue is the methane produced by cattle on a large scale. Now, many weddings in this day and age include one vegan meal at least anyway, to accommodate guests with specific diets. While those with vegan diets can’t eat meat, meat eaters can certainly eat vegan meals. Though some have negative associations with vegan diets, the vegan menu has come a long way over the years. There are plenty of amazing vegan meals to choose from, and if you want to take the risk and serve an entirely vegan menu to your guests, there will definitely be an environmental pay off!

3. Paperless Save The Dates

Every year, millions of trees are chopped down to make way for our paper demands. A wedding can potentially use up a lot of paper, especially when it comes to save the dates and invitations. Now, there is much debate when it comes to invitations. Lots of people like to still send out traditional invitations, and with good reason. You’ll want to make sure that your guests can easily refer back to their invitations, and they’re less likely to miss paperless invitations. Furthermore, on a sentimental level you’ll be able to save a paper invitation — and so will your guests. You can still be green by using recycled paper for your invitations. Now, as far as save the dates go — you may want to go paperless. A save the date can be attractive and inviting without being printed out on paper. A soft copy will do just as well, and it may actually be easier for you to reach everyone through an online save the date!

You don’t have to give up on your dream wedding in order to go green — you’ll simply make your dreams fit a green vision too. Take advice from a wedding planner if you have to, but it’s much easier to be environmentally friendly while planning a wedding than you might think!

Millennials currently make up 45% of U.S. homeowners, but Generation X isn’t too far behind. Representing 28% of homeowners, Americans between the ages of 40 and 55 have been gaining a foothold in the real estate market in recent years.

However, with the U.S. housing supply expected to reach an all-time low in 2020 and housing prices continuing to rise, it may be a good idea for house-hunting Gen Xers to look not only for a new house but also for a house in which they can age in place.

What is aging in place?

Aging in place refers to living in your own home independently rather than moving to a senior community once you’ve reached the age of 65, at which point 70% of Americans will need some type of long-term care. Chronic conditions like heart disease and chronic non-healing wounds can increase your chances of needing long-term care.

Aging in place is becoming increasingly popular due to improving technology. But it’s also becoming more desirable because of the growing costs of long-term care.

Many Americans can’t afford an unexpected $400 expense, let alone the costs associated with a care home. Fortunately, you’re exempt from federal estate taxes unless your estate is valued at more than $5.43 million.

Houses are also becoming more accessible, inhabitable, energy-efficient, and eco-friendly for people of varying abilities and ages. The trick is finding a home that meets your needs not only right now but also in the future.

House-hunting for a long-term, eco-friendly home

According to Marianne Cusato, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture, many people make the mistake of waiting too long to make renovations that facilitate aging.

“You don’t wait until you have mobility issues to make changes to your house,” said Cusato.

That being said, it can be helpful to look for eco-friendly housing features that make aging in place that much easier even before you renovate. Here are a few features to look for during your own house-hunt if aging in place is your plan:

  • A walk-in shower. Walk-in showers are a big trend for homeowners of all ages. They also help to conserve water and make showering with mobility issues that much easier.
  • A first-floor master suite. If you’re interested in buying a two-story house instead of a ranch, be sure that it has a master bedroom and bathroom on the first floor. This ensures you have everything you need on one level so you don’t need to climb the stairs when you get older. You also save energy costs because you only need to heat one floor rather than two.
  • High-end security. Security is crucial at any age, especially considering 2 million home burglaries are reported every year. But seniors are often targeted by thieves. Look for homes that have deadbolts and secure windows. Features like alarms, security lights, security cameras, and sensors can all be installed when you move in.
  • Carpeting. Hardwood floors are a big trend right now, but they can also be slippery. This is especially true when they’re covered with rugs. Rugs can create a hazard because they change the grade of the floor. Slip-resistant flooring like carpet is a good choice and it can cushion a fall better than a hard surface. New carpeting is also made from natural, renewable fibers, which makes it more eco-friendly than it was in years past. However, one thing to keep in mind is that most walkers and wheelchairs don’t roll well over carpet as they do on hardwood floors. Look for carpet that’s no higher than a half-inch and that the padding beneath it is firm.

When you’re considering looking for a new home at the age of 50, it might be a good idea to consider houses that will make aging in place easy to do. Up to 78% of recent homebuyers said their real estate agent was a great source of information, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your own agent for information on housing styles and features that meet both your current and future needs.

The new year is just around the corner, and with a new year comes a new set of resolutions. Plenty of people will aim to live more sustainably at the start of 2020, and making some simple changes and improvements around the house can help you reach your goal with less effort. But just like 75% of cybersecurity issues happen from within an organization, most of our environmental issues are caused directly by us. Not only will going green help you save the environment, but you’ll be able to save on your energy bills at home, too. Use these tips to give your sustainable new year a head start at home.

Lovely lawn alternatives

Depending on how big a lifestyle change you’re willing to make, one of the most interesting places to start going green at home is with your landscaping. Currently, front and back lawns in the U.S. collectively contain almost 21 million acres of grass. While this much plant material may seem like a positive, have you considered the number of resources growing a lawn actually takes? A grass lawn doesn’t provide much in return for all that watering and maintenance. Instead, consider adding gardens or pollinator-friendly plants to create an alternative, sustainable lawn instead. More greenery can also stop your basement from flooding by diverting water away from the home. Up to 37% of homeowners have struggled with water damage, but simple eco-friendly alternatives can help mitigate this risk.

Energy-smart savings

Moving indoors, another major way to go green around the house is to update your home’s appliances and utilities to more modern models that use less energy. This includes items like your water heater which likely gets little day-to-day attention. Water heating accounts for 18% of the average property’s energy use – by switching to a newer, more energy-efficient model, you’ll be able to cut down on how much energy your home uses in general.

It’s possible you don’t even need to add new utilities to your home; with a few simple adjustments and upgrades, you can maximize the efficiency of your current systems. Be sure to clean appliances and take care of them regularly to keep them running smoothly and avoid wasting energy. According to Energystar.gov, most HVAC system filters need to be changed every one to three months – doing this will help you get the most out of your current HVAC without needing expensive upgrades.

Maintain what you’ve got

There are plenty of smaller adjustments you can make to your lifestyle to go green with what you’ve already got. For example, try sticking to a more regular maintenance schedule for items you already own. Be sure to look up care guides for everything, even the items in your home you don’t think you need to maintain. For example, check up on your leather furniture; leather furniture should be conditioned about every six months. Taking care of what’s already in your home will help you go green by reducing the amount of stuff you send to the landfill. The longer an item lasts, the more use you get out of it, and the fewer resources are needed to create more items.

Reduce and reuse

Finally, when it comes to more routine lifestyle changes to go green for the new year, it’s important to focus on reducing consumption and reusing what you already own. Planning on throwing away that old t-shirt? Donate it instead, or cut it up and use the fabric to make something new. Everything in your home can have a new use after it’s reached the end of its current usefulness; it just might take a bit of creativity to get there.

Going green might be on your list of New Year’s resolutions, but it doesn’t have to be a major challenge. Following these tips can help you take small steps to create a greener lifestyle at home for you and your family.

The arrival of your wisdom teeth might not make you feel very wise. In fact, the tender gums, aching teeth, and pain could remind you of teething as a toddler.

Impacted wisdom teeth are third molars at the back of your mouth that don’t have enough room to emerge normally like a regular tooth. By understanding the cause of your sore gums and how your wisdom teeth play a part, you can find a natural source of wisdom teeth pain relief.

Why do my wisdom teeth hurt?

If you’re experiencing wisdom teeth pain, you’re not alone. Wisdom teeth typically appear between the ages of 17 and 24, although they might begin pushing through earlier or later.

Your wisdom teeth rarely push through at a normal angle, which means they can impact your other teeth and cause pain. The American Dental Association (ADA) warns that wisdom teeth can also cause cysts and infections. With 51 million school hours lost every year due to dental-related illness, it’s important to talk to your dentist when your wisdom teeth start to come in.

How can I reduce my wisdom teeth pain?

For most people, wisdom teeth removal is a good option. But you still need to confront the pain associated with your impacted teeth until you can have them removed. But you can’t rely on whiskey or alcohol like your grandparents used to; even though 86% of people have tried alcohol at least once in their lives, soothing tooth pain with liquor is not recommended.

That being said, here are a few ways you can naturally reduce your soreness:

  1. Give yourself a facial massage. It might feel a little silly massaging your face to reduce dental pain, but 92% of people agree that massage can be effective in reducing pain. This is because massaging the muscles helps to increase blood flow, which reduces inflammation.
  2. Drink green tea. Both green and black tea contain tannins that have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. That means that, although the U.S. has ahold of 45% of the global pharmaceutical market, you can forego the ibuprofen and drink a warm cup of tea instead for a natural anti-inflammatory.
  3. Use cloves and clove oil. Use a whole clove and place it in your mouth without crushing or cutting it first. Place the clove directly on the spot that causes the most irritation. You can also use clove oil on a swab or cotton ball. Cloves and clove oil contain eugenol, which is a natural anesthetic. This is why you’ll experience a numbing sensation on that part of your gum.

If your wisdom teeth begin to come in or you experience dental-related pain, it’s important to talk to your dentist. In some cases, you might even be tempted to visit one of the 7,500 urgent care centers throughout the country. Wisdom teeth removal may be in your best interest and it’s a common procedure. Until you can get them removed, try one of the natural pain relief remedies above.

With the climate crisis on the horizon, it’s more important than ever to be eco-friendly in your everyday life. But there are a few common mistakes people make when trying to reduce their carbon footprint.

From incorrectly recycling to wearing the wrong sunscreen, here are a few mistakes you don’t want to make when you’re trying to be more eco-friendly.

Eating processed and non-organic food

Many people equate eating organic, non-processed food as something that people do strictly for their health. And while it’s true that 76% of American organic consumers cite the health benefits as their main reason for purchasing organic food, that’s not the only reason to buy it.

According to Columbia University, organic farming is more sustainable than non-organic food production. There are written records of using plants for treating various ailments that date back approximately 5,000 years and soil quality was a major part of growing those plants.

The wider variety of plants and the lack of pesticides in organic farming increases the biodiversity of food production. This results in reduced pollution, reduced pesticide run-off, and improved soil quality.

Not recycling properly

It’s important that you become familiar with your community’s recycling program because not all recycling programs accept the same things. Some items can’t be recycled at all while others need to be recycled through a special service.

For instance, e-waste makes up only 2% of the trash in America’s landfills. But it makes up 70% of the world’s overall toxic waste.

Some of the most common recycling mistakes include:

  • Recycling food-soaked packages/containers
  • Recycling non-recyclable glass
  • Recycling egg cartons and other Styrofoam containers
  • Including plastic bags
  • Leaving lids on plastic containers

Wearing the wrong sunscreen on vacation

Coral reefs occupy less than one-quarter of 1% of the marine environment, but they’re the home to over 25% of all known marine fish species. Last year, Hawaii passed a bill banning common sunscreens beginning in 2021 that contain chemicals that are harming coral reefs.

Whether you’re vacationing this winter in Hawaii or somewhere else hot, avoid using sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemicals increase coral bleaching and can also be bad for your own health. Instead, opt for reef-safe sunscreens.

Getting your bills in the mail

Many people still get their utility bills in the mail to keep for their records. But chances are those bills often stay in the envelope unopened in a pile for weeks on end.

According to StopWaste.org, approximately 17% of everything printed is considered waste. Instead of letting your utility bills add up with your junk mail, consider contacting your utility companies to have your bills e-emailed to you instead. This way, you reduce paper waste and clutter in your home while also having the bill for your records. It’s also a great way to compare and contrast past bills. An estimated 34% of fires start because of dirty dryer vents, but even low levels of lint build-up could make your home less efficient by wasting energy.

You might be conscious of how much energy and water you’re using around your home. You might even be taking measures to make sure your HVAC system is as efficient as possible. But you’d be surprised by how simple actions can have such a big impact when it comes to your carbon footprint. By avoiding the mistakes above, you can be more eco-friendly throughout your day.