Although people often associate going green with costly efforts like installing windmills or buying efficient new appliances, there are green steps that almost anyone can take – including boaters and other people involved in the marine industry. Read about the Marine Industry’s impact on the Environment… click here
For a variety of reasons, many individuals, groups, government agencies, and companies are taking measures aimed at going green. Most of these efforts have one or more of the following goals:
1. To protect the environment by decreasing pollution, dumping, and natural resource depletion. This benefits people and animals by reducing unhealthful contaminants in the air, water, and food supply. It also promotes tourism and green recreational activities like swimming.
2. To become more self-reliant in energy, food, and manufacturing. A farmer who employs organic farming is not dependent on others for pesticides. Likewise, a country that uses hydroelectric or other green energy is less reliant upon natural gas supplied by other nations.
3. To gain various “fringe benefits”, like saving money on fuel and electricity. Going green can also decrease costs for waste disposal, heating/cooling, and product packaging. For example, sending resumes by email both costs less and prevents trees from being cut down.
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It also offers several other advantages that people less commonly recognize. Applying green decision-making often results in less household clutter and fewer chemical odors. Globally, it reduces climate change, which may contribute to natural disasters and rising sea levels. Decreased pollution in the environment also improves fishing and limits the health risks of eating seafood.
Going green doesn’t have to require a lot of work, although the more effort the better. Simple steps like turning off unneeded lights and drinking from reusable cups can help the environment if many people do them. Some examples specific to boating include:
1. Buy used boats, boat gear, and parts. When it is realistic to do so, repair equipment instead of replacing it.
2. If you operate a marina, provide facilities for recycling and proper waste disposal. Encourage boaters to use them.
3. Use rechargeable batteries for battery-powered marine electronics like fans, weather radios, and portable bilge pumps.
4. When boating recreationally in distant regions, it’s more green to rent a boat than tow yours hundreds of miles.
5. When going from one body of water to another, make sure your boat doesn’t carry invasive plant species with it; these can harm wildlife and ruin the water quality.
6. Use care not to let the wind toss trash, soda cans, clothing, or other objects into the water.
7. Collect dripping fuel and oil under the engine with an absorbent or pan. Minor quantities of oil may contaminate significant amounts of water.
8. When fishing, know and follow regulations on how many fish you may catch. Hooks without barbs should be used for “catch and release” to reduce harm to the fish.
9. Purchase food for the crew or passengers that is organic and/or comes in recycled packaging.
These steps are more difficult but produce a greater benefit:
1. Sun and especially wind are often abundantly available in a marine setting; consider installing a wind generator or solar lights on your ship.
2. Marina and watercraft operators should take measures to prevent fuel spills. Try to repair engine oil leaks as well.
3. When painting a boat, avoid paints with copper or tributyltin in them. Don’t use chemicals to remove deteriorating paint.
Going green can also take the form of activism; environment oriented demonstrations, petitions, boycotts, and so on. Such actions have the potential to promote positive change and bring attention to the cause of environmentalism. However, it is important to combine these endeavors with green efforts like recycling, conserving electricity, and avoiding disposable products. If you lack the time or ability for involvement in activist campaigns, donating to environmental organizations is an alternative.
Many people feel that health is a major reason for adopting a more green way of life. Here are some options that directly protect your health and the environment simultaneously:
1. Use natural insect repellents (like Eco-Blends brand) when boating on lakes and rivers with biting insects.
2. Clean your cabin cruiser, houseboat, or yacht with green non-chemical cleaning products. Dispose of any chemical-based cleaners properly.
3. Directly collect drinking water from a spring that is on your property or available to the public.
Going green also relates to the indoor environment. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) pollute the air inside homes, enclosed boats, and automobiles, potentially causing various health problems for both humans and animals. Scented aerosol spray, dry-cleaned clothing, paint, and various other products release VOCs. Some furnishings and appliances (like ovens and electric heaters) emit VOCs for a period of time after being purchased. To limit VOCs you can buy used products, avoid items with strong chemical smells, and adequately ventilate enclosed areas.
Generally, any natural product is more green than an equivalent item made with chemicals or petroleum-based substances. It also affects the environment less harshly when you purchase locally-manufactured and/or long-lasting, durable items. Even buying in bulk is one method of going green, because it saves packaging material and trips to the store.
Encouraging other people to live in a green way is important as well; there is only so much one person can do. To accomplish this, you needn’t convince people to become environmentalists. Just make suggestions or recommendations that point to a greener way of life, and set a good example for others to follow. Here are a few ideas:
1. When someone asks you to recommend an automobile, powerboat, heating system, computer, or other equipment, suggest a model that is at least relatively energy-efficient.
2. If you write a product review, focus on aspects like: amount of exhaust or chemical smell, capability to use rechargeable batteries, fuel consumption, any hazardous waste involved, ability to recycle, etc.
3. Don’t hesitate to tell people that you telecommute or take a bus, bicycle, or carpool to work. This will make them think about such options and see that they are realistic possibilities.
Many business owners have opportunities to promote green living. A grocer can offer items like rechargeable batteries, eco-friendly dishwashing liquid, and recycled paper products to customers. A landlord might put up a notice in the apartment building indicating the day and time curbside recyclables are picked up. Restaurant owners can serve organic food and avoid using styrofoam containers.
Often going green is as much about what you don’t do as it is about what you do. If you can forgo things like massive automobiles, huge speedboats, and recreational vehicles, you’ve already made some progress. It also helps to safeguard the environment when people give up desires to have the latest fashion, cell phones, video games, and so on.
Some more general tips for going green include:
1. Find ways to reuse items instead of throwing them away.
2. If you own land, start your own vegetable garden or plant additional trees on the property.
3. Limit unnecessary or frivolous travel, except for walking, bicycling, and unmotorized boating.
4. Consider installing a solar water heater system in your home, esp. if you live in an area with frequent hot, sunny weather.
5. Recycling newspapers, cans, jars, magazines, bottles, and other items benefits the environment in many ways.
6. Decrease the number of handheld devices you use (iPods, PDAs, Blackberries, etc); their chargers collectively use a substantial amount of electricity.
7. Use a rake to gather leaves and mow the lawn with a push mower if possible.
Another way of going green is to always return marine (and other) products that don’t work or quickly fail. This discourages manufacturers and retailers from wasting resources and energy on badly-made items.
If you leave home for long-term voyages or to stay at a vacation cottage while boating or fishing, consider taking various measures to decrease your house or apartment’s energy use while you’re gone:
1. Unplug devices that continue to draw electricity while turned off; alarm clocks, DVD players, chargers, most TVs, etc. Basically, anything with a clock or remote control (the remote “eye” on a device always draws power).
2. Use electronic timers to turn outdoor lights on and off at the appropriate times of day. To save more electricity, put CFL bulbs in outdoor lights that will accept them.
3. If applicable, turn down the heat to 55F (13C) degrees. The temperature should be low, but still warm enough to keep your home’s water pipes from freezing.
People often fail to realize how many aspects of life going green can apply to. Looking around the office, just about everything has more or less green ways of being used. The lights can use low-wattage bulbs, the printer may print on recycled paper, the mail advertisements can be recycled, the calculator could use rechargeable batteries, the coffee maker’s heating element can be turned off sooner, etc. Begin with steps like these; you needn’t install a $2,000 solar panel or buy a new Toyota Prius to start going green.
More Info for Going Green….
Eco-Savvy Summer via Natioal Geographic
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