Focusing Your Path to Green Living

Make Your Green Living List

Do you ever feel like you are putting a lot of time and effort into being green but that you are getting no where? Like everyone else produces less waste or has a more fuel efficient car or makes their own laundry detergent instead of just using an eco-friendly brand.   Chances are you are probably focusing on too many areas to improve and therefore are not having as big of an impact on any one area.

When you find yourself juggling so many balls just make sure you don’t drop the breakable ones.  Figure out which environmental practices are the most important to you so you can focus your efforts.  Focusing on less will actually mean you are achieving more.

How to Pick Your Green Living Focus Areas

1. What is your passion?  Does sorting waste make your cringe or giddy like a school girl? Do you love learning about chemicals and their impacts on human health and the environment or do you see a sea of random letters when you look at labels?  Figure out what makes you happy and make a list.

2. What can you successfully achieve?  If you aren’t in the position to install solar panels on your house then don’t add ‘living off the grid’ to your list. Start small with achievable projects and targets. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you even start!

3. What are your deal breakers? If there are allergies in your home or any illnesses then not adding reducing toxins to your list is probably a deal breaker. Finances can also be a deal breaker.

Looking for Focus Area ideas? Ask yourself the 3 questions above about these topics to see if they make your list and then look at the Simple, Moderate and Hard activities listed for ideas on where to start.

Eliminate toxins in your home

  • Simple – Make your own cleaners using vinegar, baking soda and essential oils
  • Moderate – Switch to non-toxic bath and body products that score low on the EWG list
  • Hard – Buy only products that are free from chemical flame retardants.

Energy conservation

  • Simple – Buy Energy Star appliances and products.
  • Moderate – Stop using your dryer and install a clothing line inside and outside.
  • Hard – Evaluate your home for phantom energy draws and ensure you unplug those items when not in use.

Reduce the amount of waste you generate

  • Simple – Start bringing your own reusable travel mug with you to your favourite coffee shop.
  • Moderate – Conduct a home waste audit and create an action plan for reduction.
  • Hard – Bring your own takeout containers every time you get takeout. If you forget to bring them then skip the takeout.

Reduce your plastic consumption

  • Simple – Stop buying plastic water bottles and get your own reusable stainless steel bottle.
  • Moderate – Store all your food in glass instead of plastic containers.
  • Hard – Don’t buy plastic toys but instead buy wood or felt.

Reconnect with nature

  • Simple – Go on a weekly walk in a park or forest…somewhere without houses and cars.
  • Moderate –  Plant a pollinator garden in your backyard.
  • Hard – Leave the modern world behind and canoe camp in a national park for at least a week.

Shop locally

  • Simple – Find a local farmer and go talk to them to build a relationship.
  • Moderate – Try canning your favourite local foods like salsa, pickles and peaches.
  • Hard – Grow your own food and only buy from local farmers. No grocery stores!

Water Conservation

  • Simple – Turn the water tap off when you aren’t using it (ie: when brushing your teeth or shaving).
  • Moderate – Install your own rain barrel and hook a pump to it so you can water your gardens with a hose.
  • Hard – Install a gray water system so the water you use is recycled within your own home.

Do you have focus areas or are you trying to work on everything at the same time?


  • Sara Vartanian says:

    I was just discussing with my husband how I’d like to plant a pollinator garden in our front yard. I love the idea of having a welcoming place for them and I’m sure my little guys would be fascinated watching them come for regular visits. Thanks for all the great suggestions!

    • You should totally put one in Sara!

      We have a pollinator garden going into our backyard this fall. The landscapers are building it for our son. It will have a path and all kinds of secret things for him to discover. Can’t wait!