Monday, February 21, 2011

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Green Light- Elena


   An eco sista who says going green is a way of life

How long have you been eco-friendly? I've been "green" for as long as I remember, even though words like "eco-friendly" and "green" weren't really on my radar as a child.  Growing up in the city, I was very fortunate in being able to also spend a great deal of time on our family farm in rural Alabama. My grandparents were very influential and involved in the upbringing of me and my siblings. My grandfather, a retired farmer, took the time to teach us how to manage and care for our land.  We learned how to plant, cultivate and harvest fruits and vegetables.  My grandmother, a retired teacher, taught us how to process- can, freeze and cook- the food once it had been harvested.  We learned how to fully utilize everything and waste as little as possible.

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? Being "green" or "eco-friendly" for me wasn't really a choice, it was a way of life and not just while on our farm.  At home in the city, my mother would have my siblings and I recycle aluminum cans for spending money.  Also, during the summers when we weren't at our grandparents' home, we would spend hours during the day at the community pool where we took swimming lessons.  I didn't know this at the time, but my parents were saving on our energy bill by not having to cool the house all day during those hot summer months.

What do you like about it? I absolutely love the fact that I am practicing good stewardship over the wonderful things that God has blessed us with and am hopefully passing those habits on to my children.

Did you face any challenges? If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)?  I face challenges today in my efforts to be green.  Recycling at home has been a great challenge, because it isn't offered my the city in my area, so I have to take recyclables to our local center myself, which sadly doesn't always happen because of the inconvenience.  However, I am happy to say, that as the Corporate Sustainability Coordinator for my employer, I created and implemented our recycling program.  We recycle plastics, aluminum, corrugated cardboard and paper, which makes me feel a little better about my recycling struggles at home.

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? If you want to be more eco-friendly, but aren't sure of where to start, I'd suggest that you make small changes first.  Set small goals that are easily attainable, like turning off the lights when you leave a room or replacing all of your incandescent light bulbs with CFL's.  I provide these and other tips in my post, 8 Easy Ways to Save Green.

Going green can be complex. This discourages a lot of people. There’s really no “right” way it’s basically trying to do something than nothing at all. i sometimes fell like a green hypocrite. Do you feel that way sometimes? I think most of us who are on the path to being sustainable have "green guilt" from time-to-time.  Like you said, it's better to do something than nothing at all, but I do often feel that I should be doing more.

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? Lol, I did the "big chop" on August 27, 2010 and haven't looked back.  It was something I'd contemplated on and off for several years.  I got tired of the chemical burns to my scalp, the breakage and the heat damage.  Like most of us who take the plunge into the natural hair spiral (pun intended), I have spent lots of time and money experimenting with many different products.  Right now, what works best for me is the Kinky Curly line of products.  I use the shampoo, leave-in conditioner and the curl pudding.
Is there anything you like to add? Being green or eco-friendly is great for our environment, but it can also be great for your wallet.  My goal is to show everyone how simple it is to "go green" while keeping more green in your pocket.


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