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Although some of the responsibility for creating a more sustainable way of life falls onto governments and companies, the greatest changes need to be wrought in our own lifestyles. Simply by accepting the challenge to live green and doing our best to preserve the environment, we can set the example for our children to follow that will hopefully ensure there will still be a society and an environment for future generations to enjoy. If you're not sure how to get started, here are some simple ways to practice green living at home.


The most important of the three Rs is reduce. We need to cut back on the amount of things we buy and use that are made of materials that are not renewable and will spend the rest of their lives sitting in a landfill. We must also reduce our energy and water usage. To do this make sensible choices at the store. Buy cloth diapers and napkins instead of disposable ones. Choose products with less packaging, products that last longer, and appliances that use less energy. Remember to turn off the taps and the lights when you're not using them.


Our homes are jammed full of stuff. So instead of going out and buying more, find ways to repurpose the things you already have. Don't buy mason jars - use the ones that your spaghetti sauce came in. Don't buy your kids new clothes - give them hand-me-downs. If your TV breaks, don't buy a new one. Have the old one repaired. Shop at second hand stores instead of retail ones. And if you must buy something new, make sure to donate the old item to charity or to a friend who needs it instead of taking it to the landfill.


Those things you can't reduce or reuse should be recycled. Most cities have recycling programs in place so that all you need to do is separate your items and set them outside for collection. It's easy. Among the things you should be recycling are paper and paper products, glass, metal, and plastic. Electronics should also be recycled at a special facility, never thrown away, and your food waste should go into the compost, not the garbage, no matter how gross you think it is.


And finally, you can actually help to improve the environment by growing plants that will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air and provide food to bolster our dwindling global supply. Even if your home doesn't have a yard or garden, you can grow potted plants indoors or on your balcony. Peppers and tomatoes are particularly easy to grow and taste great.

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