Find the Shade of Green That’s Right for You

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

By Chrissy Sarinske

Going green is the wave of the sustainable, renewable, eco-friendly, solar-powered, organic, nontoxic, locally-grown, post-consumer-recycled, BPA-free, energy-efficient, and biodegradable future. And while most people realize that green living—living in a way that makes less of an impact on the environment—is the best way to protect the earth for future generations, they’re still not sure they’re doing everything they can. The good news is that people can reduce their impact without significant personal trade-offs. Those little changes do make a big difference. What happens to our environment is a sum of all individual actions.

Take transportation, for example. Our transportation choices impact the air we breathe and the water we drink. By changing our commuting patterns and transportation choices, we can reduce our impact on the environment and save money, too. Light-green or dark-green, the Living Green Expo will provide resources to help you take action.

Learn about the different shades of green you can incorporate into your life at the free, family-friendly Living Green Expo 2009 on May 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and May 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The annual event, featuring more than 250 exhibitors, various workshops, lively entertainment, and fun activities for kids, is held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Living Green Program offers tips and resources to reduce your carbon footprint, some requiring a little more effort or short-term investment than others:

Light Green Tips – Easy lifestyle changes

Medium Green Tips – Tips that may challenge you, but are still low-cost and high impact

Dark Green Tips – Ideas that require a bit of an investment
 

Light Green

Make efficient driving a habit: Use cruise control, accelerate slowly, and drive the speed limit. You can increase fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent!

At the Expo: Learn efficient driving techniques at the How to Choose a Car workshop.
 

Medium Green

Find someone to share your ride. Remember when you used to carpool to school with your friends? Start carpooling again—it’s one of the most significant ways you can reduce transportation costs. Take this example: For her 54-mile round trip commute, Shannon, an Anoka resident who works in St. Paul, saves over $1,900 a year by carpooling just ten days a month!

At the Expo: Try Metro Transit at no cost when you ride to and from the Expo. Metro Transit provides free, online ride-matching. Visit the Metro Transit booth to learn more about this rideshare program and a guaranteed ride home. Go to livinggreen.org to download your free Go Greener pass.

At the Expo: Attend the Shrink Your Transportation Carbon Footprint workshop. Leaders will share experiences about becoming a one-car or no-car
home and provide insight about regional developments.

Do more biking and walking: Approximately 40 percent of urban travel consists of short trips of two miles or less. Most of us could easily walk or bike this distance, and it would be a great way to get in a little exercise at the same time!

If you’re interested in biking but new to the sport, you’ll find all you need to know at Bikewalktwincities.org. This helpful website includes information on how to choose a bike, what gear you’ll need, and where to safely bike.

At the Expo: If you’re considering a switch to biking but don’t know the first thing about what to wear, don’t miss the Bike Commuter Fashion Show on Saturday May 2 at 1:30 p.m. on the upper level stage.
 

Dark Green

Buy a fuel-efficient car. You may not buy a vehicle frequently, but when the time comes, consider fuel efficiency.

At the Expo: The Expo will feature several “green” vehicles including electric hybrids, electric plug-ins, and other innovative technologies in the alternative vehicle area. Hear the pros and cons of different types of cars currently on the market (hybrid, plug-in, electric, biodiesel, new diesel technology, etc.) at the “How to Choose a Car” workshop.

Sign up for the free Living Green 365 email newsletter featuring timely, simple, fun ideas to lead a healthier, more sustainable life at www.livinggreen.org.

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