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Yoga Trends

5 Ways To Take Your Environmentalism To The Next Level

Here are a few eco-friendly tips if you're looking to go greener.

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Looking to go greener? Here are some eco-friendly steps to take whether you’re a beginning, experienced, or advanced environmentalist.

Just starting out? Use these 5 tips for eco-eriendly newbies.

Yoga Inspiration: Think about ahimsa, the principle of nonviolence. You’re probably not actively dumping dioxin into rivers or otherwise behaving in a blatantly violent way toward the environment, but are there smaller ways in which you do more harm to the planet than you’d like?

1. Unplug electronic devices when you’re not using them.

In the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power electronics is consumed when they’re turned off but plugged in.

2. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones.

True, the light isn’t as inviting. But compact fluorescents use 60 percent less energy and reduce the emissions for which you’re personally responsible. Find more ideas at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

3. Make your next yoga mat one that’s environmentally friendly. (Many contain polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, a toxic plastic.)

The Green Yoga Association offers one made from Indian cotton with a latex underside. Gaiam makes one from PER, or polymer environmental resin. Jade Yoga has a natural rubber mat.

4. Recycle.

Enter your zip code at for recycling resources in your community, and look for products made from recycled materials.

5. Register to vote.

Learn what the rules of registration are in your state at Rock the Vote. Subscribe to Ideal Bite to receive a daily email suggestion for eco-friendly steps to take.

See alsoNicki Doane: Why I Compost on Earth Day and Every Day

organic food, farming

Doing a little already? Try these 5 steps to level-up your eco-friendly habits.

Yoga Inspiration: Think about aparigraha, or greedlessness. Are you using more than your share of the earth’s resources? Are you doing what benefits you without regard for others?

1. Choose more organic foods.

Maybe you’re already buying organic produce, but how about pasta, cereal, and other processed foods? According to a 2003 Rodale Institute study, organic farming practices help soil hang on to 15 to 28 percent more carbon than conventional methods. Find a local farmers’ market at United States Department of Agriculture.

2. Dress sustainably.

Conventional cotton farmers make heavy use of fertilizers that emit lots of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These days you’ve got more sustainable fabrics to choose from, including organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, linen, and silk. Some yoga wear incorporates soy, which has natural antimicrobial properties.

3. Cool down your laundry.

If you wash two loads in warm or cold water instead of hot every week, you’ll save around 500 pounds of carbon dioxide every year.

4. Become carbon neutral.

We’re all responsible for a certain amount of carbon emissions. But we can offset our pollution by funding renewable energy projects—for example, it can cost as little as $8 a month to offset the emissions of a typical large car. Learn more at native energy.

5. Get political.

Let your elected officials know the environment matters to you. Find out who your reps are at Vote Smart.

woman on bike

Doing a lot? Try these 5 big-impact steps.

Yoga Inspiration: Think about satya, or truthfulness. Are you honestly doing all that you can do for Mother Earth, or are you doing only what’s convenient for you? Can you make a deeper commitment?

1. Use elbow grease, not appliances.

You can save 700 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year by line-drying your clothes in the spring and summer instead of using the dryer. Even better, generate your own electricity by purchasing a Human Power Generator, a stationary-bike-style contraption that allows you to supplement your electricity with your own sweat! Learn more at Windstream Power.

2. Green your computer.

A new electronics rating system developed by the Green Electronics Council, a nonprofit group in Portland, Oregon, can help you choose a computer based on its environmental effects, including energy efficiency. To find out more, go to epeat. Get more earth-friendly ideas by checking out Treehugger, a web magazine that provides inspiration on everything from outfitting your home with solar panels to finding earth-friendly yet stylish carpets.

3. Switch to wind-generated, solar, or earth-friendly electricity.

About half of U.S. consumers can purchase greener power through their own utility companies; find out what the deal is in your state at

4. Park your car.

Ride a bike or take public transportation instead. Find transit options available in your area at Or buy a more fuel-efficient car. Find out how your auto stacks up at, which also lists the most and least fuel-efficient cars by model year.

5. Volunteer your time.

Many organizations could use your creativity and energy to tackle the environmental problems we all face. Find the right one for you at
Invest your money wisely. Investigate options that allow you to support companies working toward sustainability. Learn more at Ceres, a national network of investment funds and other groups working to advance environmental stewardship on the part of businesses. Learn to make greener purchases in your daily life by checking out The Green Guide.

See also How Socializing Leads To A More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle