Contrary to what Kermit of Sesame Street® fame says, it is easier than you think to be green—especially here in the Green Mountain State.
We’ve discovered green resources abound in Vermont! If you are looking for ways to create a lifestyle that will have a positive impact on the environment, here are a few resources—just the tip of the iceberg—to explore green living in Vermont:
If you want to reduce carbon emissions, drive your gas-guzzler less. Way to Go! has a comprehensive website at www.waytogovt.org where you can learn more about carpooling, biking, walking, telecommuting and taking public transportation. If you are thinking about carpooling, join with other like-minded folks through Go Vermont, a service provided by the Vermont Agency of Transportation at www.connectingcommuters.org. CarShare Vermont offers a novel idea, paying to use a car only when you need it. CarShare Vermont currently is available in downtown Burlington only but hopes to expand. To find out more about Carshare, visit www.carsharevt.org for details.
Solar, wind, geothermal, biomass…if you are looking for an alternative to fossil fuels, it is easy to find resources that will help you sort through the options. Renewable Energy Vermont’s comprehensive website at www.revermont.org is a good place to learn about renewable and sustainable energy alternatives. Another website to explore is www.serg-info.org, a helpful resource from the Sustainable Energy Resource Group. Both websites provide lists of companies that specialize in alternative energies as well as educational workshops and conferences.
If you are not ready to install an alternative energy system, the next best step is to make improvements to your home to more efficiently use energy. Efficiency Vermont provides many ideas to save energy, from small, inexpensive changes in lighting choices to a comprehensive home energy audit. Their website is www.efficiencyvermont.org.
Relax…eating green does not mean limiting your diet to spinach and peas. Rather, eating green refers to consuming foods grown and raised without chemical fertilizers and/or hormones and other additives. Farmers’ markets and food cooperatives are popular places to find organic and natural produce and meats. Finding a farmers’ market near you is easy by visiting the Vermont Department of Agriculture’s “Buy Local/Buy Vermont” website at www.vermontagriculture.com. To find a list of food co-ops in Vermont and throughout the U.S., visit www.coopdirectory.org.
Eating green may also refer to foods consumed in close proximity to the food source. The farm-to-table movement is growing in popularity across the country, including Vermont. Why is eating locally grown produce and meats considered “green”? Think of the fuel saved when you eat strawberries grown only a few miles away from you rather than shipped across the country from California or Mexico. Plus, there is something that makes the food tastier when you know it is grown here in Vermont. For a list of farms and restaurants that are members of the Vermont Fresh Network, visit www.vermontfresh.net.
Finally, you might also want to patronize a green restaurant, one that practices energy conservation, including using Energy Star appliances, low-flow dishwashers and sinks and taking other energy-saving measures. To find out more about where to find green restaurants or how to become a green restaurant, visit the Vermont Business Environmental Partnership at www.vbep.org.
Here are a few more resources for everything green in Vermont: