The legend of Saint Patrick says that he was responsible for banishing snakes from Ireland. He was also known as a patron saint of Ireland, but the holiday named in his honor is probably better known for its never-ending flow of green beer, hooligans and shenanigans. Before you hit up the bar for some festive ale, perhaps you should consider taking on some green habits as part of your St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Here are a few green tips to help keep the environment happy.
Forget the Car, Use Your Feet
There is a lot of talk about how you should switch over to a hybrid like the Toyota Prius (factory recalls notwithstanding) or maybe even to a full electric like the Chevy Volt. Those may be a step in the right direction, but it's even better if you avoid using any real fuels altogether!
For places that are within reasonable walking distance, put on some comfortable shoes and foot it. Try walking to the bar and, if it happens to be a little further away, you might consider using a bicycle, even a skateboard. If you plan on getting completely inebriated, you may want to take advantage of public transportation and have the bus driver get you home safe. Also, many city buses are powered using green energy sources like hydrogen or electric.
Switch to More Efficient Light Bulbs
When you go to just about any trade show or major indoor complex, you'll get bombarded with a ceaseless supply of artificial light. There's not much that you personally can do about that, but you can make some changes in your own home to save some power.
There are arguments that the very manufacture of compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) isn't environmentally-friendly. However, I think the reduced waste and extended life offset what you would otherwise have with incandescent bulbs. The simple switch to CFLs can save you a lot on your power bills and the lights last a lot longer too. Better still, try to avoid using artificial light whenever possible. It's not necessary to turn on your living room lights in the middle of the day when you could just as easily pull back those blinds and let in some natural light through the window.
Another great alternative to fluorescent bulbs are LED light bulbs. These lights use even less power, are far more environmentally friendly in the disposal stage and provide even more eye friendly lighting due to them not flickering. LEDs are even used in light panels that fight SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) so they can potentially make you feel better. They also last even longer so despite some hefty initial capital per bulb, they will far outlast your fluorescents. Companies like Glacial Light in Taiwan are capitalizing on this technology and are creating replacements for pretty much every bulb, even fluorescent tubes and halogens.
Recharge Just About Every Battery in Sight
Single-use batteries end up in the landfills and leak all sorts of chemicals into the soil. This is both wasteful and inefficient. Make the switch to rechargeable batteries for the majority of your everyday needs instead. This can start with something as simple as your digital cameras and can quickly expand to other items like video game controllers.
Do you know how many alkaline batteries you'd burn playing with your Wii or Xbox 360? Do you know how much better it is to use a charging base with rechargeable batteries or battery packs? Having a rechargeable option also keeps the gameplay going for longer hours as you basically have a fresh set of batteries every time you pull them off the charger.