Tips to go green this spring

“It doesn’t matter if you believe it’s going to change the world. What matters is that you do it,” Aufochs Gillespie said. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Green Living Show is hitting Toronto March 27-29 to educate the environmentally-conscious and curious. The weekend will showcase sustainable food, fashion and cars.

Global News spoke with a Green Living Show guest, Manda Aufochs Gillespie, author of the book Green Mama, to get some tips on how to be greener this spring.

“Going green” has been a growing trend influencing consumer behaviours and daily habits. According to Aufochs Gillespie, it’s no longer an “alternative” lifestyle, and the Green Living Show is a way to show how fun and easy being green has become.

If you are ready to release your inner-tree hugger this season, but don’t know where to start, here are some things to keep in mind:

Don’t get carried away

Aufochs Gillespie advised that you don’t have to trade in all the things that you enjoy for a greener alternative.

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“You don’t have to go crazy and do it all at once,” she said.

Instead she suggested simply changing habits. She said it’s easier for consumers to “focus on things they can change.”  If you don’t want to give up the shampoo that makes your curls bounce, don’t start there, she suggested, “start with that mascara that you never really liked anyway.”

When deciding where to start, she suggested to find something that interests you, something you’ve always wanted to try.

“It doesn’t matter if you believe it’s going to change the world. What matters is that you do it,” she said. She added that if you do it for long enough, it becomes a habit.

Improve your air

Sometimes the products we’ve always used and come to love are not the best for the air we breathe.

“People don’t realize indoor air is more polluted than their outdoor spaces,” said Aufochs Gillespie. She warned that what people bring into their homes can affect air quality, from furniture made of pressed wood, to air fresheners, to dirty shoes.

“One of the most effective things you can do is open your window. As soon as it’s warm, turn off the heat and open a window,” she said.

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Her second word of advice: plants. “They are great pure air purifiers,” she said. For this time of year, she suggested Easter lilies, because they are available and not bad to look at.

She also suggested green alternatives to high chemical cleaners, including vinegar and baking soda. These ingredients can “kill a lot of bacteria without going overboard.”

You don’t need to have a green thumb

If you don’t think you have a green thumb and it’s been keeping you from planting a garden, have no fear. It doesn’t matter, according to Aufochs Gillespie.

For those people in small apartments, Aufochs Gillespie suggested simply growing some things on your window sill. Dill, cilantro, basil, take your pick. She advised that growing things can improve indoor air quality and allow you to watch something grow. Plus, herbs can get expensive at the grocery store.

If you want to take a step beyond herbs, start with kale. According to Aufochs Gillespie, anyone can grow kale.

“It comes back to this importance of setting a few good habits,” she said. Starting with something can help you to become more adventurous, she said.

According to Jill Kelly, project manager at Evergreen Brick Works, aside from its benefits to the environment, planting can also have physical and mental health benefits, along with the “ownership and pride of growing your own food.”

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Be selfish

“If you are selfishly taking care of yourself, you are selfishly taking better care of the earth around you,” said Aufochs Gillespie.

The consumer choices we make are usually mutually beneficial for both ourselves and the environment, she said. For example, buying greener products can be better for your skin and Mother Nature.

Aufochs Gillespie said that the products we use to smear on our skin are absorbed into our body. Especially when it comes to babies, she recommended using food grade products like cocoa butter.

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