Brace yourself, friends - things are about to get a whole lot greener.
Earth Day is on Sunday, and the college campus I work at is all artsy-crunchy-granola-eatin'-tree-plantin'-free-tradin'-and-compostin' to honor this time. Since we are a faith-based school however, our goal isn't to praise "Mother Earth" but rather to steward this beautiful gift God has given to us. That's why the theme of this week (and all of the school's green efforts) is called
In support of that as a constant state of living, I'm going to be sharing some green ideas leading up to Earth Day! Remember, it's not about being a hippie (which can always be whimsical and fun, no doubt), it's about being responsible stewards of what God has entrusted us with.
I'll kick off the series with some thoughts inspired by my friends at Active.com. I recently read an article called, "Run Hard But Keep Your Carbon Footprint Light: Green Running." If you exercise or are an athlete of any kind, keep reading! I read this article and some ideas were sparked as to how athletes can be more intentional with their exercising.
Water bottles: My husband just gave a presentation on this today - did you know that 38 million plastic water bottles end up in the dump every year? That's in America alone. Kind of pathetic. We should all be avid water-drinkers - athletes and non-athletes alike. So regardless of your exercise habits, do us all a favor and get a reusable water bottle. Metal or BPA free plastic are both good options, but please please please - no more plastic!
Donate old clothes and shoes: There are many programs and stores that would love to take your hand-me-downs. Play It Again Sports is a good option if you have one locally, but there are also organizations like Soles4Souls that recycle old shoes and give them to those in need. Don't let them just take up space. Get them into the hands (or onto to the feet!) of those who need them more! That's the first part of the recycling process: reduce what you have by pairing down on your belongings, or avoiding purchasing certain things in the first place!
Recycle old equipment: Pairing down got you excited? Sell your unused equipment on Craiglist. Or better yet, donate old bikes through an organization like Bikes Not Bombs. Based out of Jamaica Plain, MA, Bikes Not Bombs does bike maintenance workshops for inner-city youth, and also sends bikes to Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean by hosting bike drives. Now that's much better than sitting in a garage getting rusty.
Run for a cause: Find marathons, halfs, or 5 and 10k's that support environmental causes. A quick Google search gave me ones in London, Antarctica, Malibu, New York City, and California. Look for one in your area to make your running count!
Ditch the treadmill: Even though I enjoy the convenience of a treadmill, why eat up the electricity that it takes to run it if going outside will do. What are you actually saving? Dollars from buying the treadmill, dollars from running the treadmill, dollars from running the air conditioning or fan that you'll most likely use at the same time, and heaps of electricity. Look at you go. Either run outside and enjoy a nice breeze, or if you need to be inside due to weather, buy an indoor bike trainer.
Pay the Parks: Are you a trail runner? Drop a few bucks in the box at the entrance to the park, or make a donation via mail if there isn't a drop box. It's tough to keep that space maintained, so chip in and help to keep it in tip-top shape for years to come.
Leave No Trace: My favorite. This is a staple of being an outdoor educator. LNT principles are strictly enforced in the wilderness and can be practiced basically by anyone who goes outside, ever. Here are some things you can do:
- stay on the trail that already exists
- walk in a single file line in the middle of the trail
- camp in a pre-existing spot (don't try to make one)
- pack out whatever you pack in (don't feed the animals - their bodies can't handle our food)
- leave everything as you find it (rocks, plants, etc)
- keep campfires small and scatter the ashes once cooled
- when hiking, walk on dirt first, then rocks, then roots (to not to move or weaken anything!)
Plenty more where this all came from (like eating local foods, contemplating electricity used at the gym, ditching you car when you can), but there are just a few things to whet the appetite.
Do you have any other ideas on how to green your workout routine?