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Issue 7: How Green Are You?

How Green Are You? 
Determine your greenness by taking this quiz from Sustainable Synergy, Inc.

Going “green” doesn’t have to involve an overnight overhaul in your lifestyle. There’s a lot to be said for taking small steps and observing how they affect your daily activities, your interactions with friends and family, and even your wallet. For many of us, it is about a journey of awareness and incorporating feasible, sustainable actions into our lives to promote and maintain our green ideals.

Here is a simple evaluation of how green your current lifestyle is—or isn’t. Some of the questions won’t apply to your situation because of where you live or work, but do your best to answer closest to your current lifestyle:

1. Recycling Program
a. I recycle everything, sort out organic from inorganic materials, and identify waste that I can add to a mulch or composting pile.
b. I tend to only recycle glass, plastic, and paper.
c. I recycle when it is convenient, but a recycling program does not yet exist in my community.
d. I don’t recycle at all.

2. Recycling or “Reusing” Household Products
a. Before discarding any unwanted items for recycling, I try to find another use for it, including rehabbing clothing or using old tires as a garden fixture.
b. I donate all of my unwanted items to a local charity or I sort them for the recycling plant.
c. I organize all unwanted items into piles for recycling or the landfill.
d. I only have time to throw all unwanted items in the trash to be sent to a landfill.

3. Light Energy Usage
a. I use only natural light, Compact Florescent Lights (CFLs) or LEDs, and I have shut-off timers on my lights.
b. Most of my lighting is natural, CFL or LED, and I shut off all lights when leaving a room.
c. Most of my lighting is traditional light bulbs (incandescent lighting), and I often forget to turn the lights off.
d. I only use incandescent light bulbs and prefer the lights being on all the time.

4. Home Power Source
a. I use 100 percent renewable power such as wind or solar in my home.
b. I currently use non-renewable power for the majority of my home, but I use solar power to heat my pool and spa area.
c. I use the local utility, which is non-renewable power.
d. I actually shovel coal into a burner to power my home.

5. Energy-Efficient Appliances
a. All of my appliances are energy-efficient and where applicable, I turn off them off when they are not in use.
b. A couple of my appliances are energy-efficient.
c. I only have an energy-efficient refrigerator because I feel it uses the most energy, but I do turn off any appliances that are not in use.
d. Unfortunately, none of my appliances are energy-efficient, and I tend to leave them on even when not in use.

6. Home Temperature
a. I do not use artificial heating or air conditioning.
b. I program my thermostat to be a few degrees warmer in the summer or cooler in the winter, while using fans and my fireplace when applicable.
c. I keep my thermostat at an even 70 to 72 degrees at all times to remain consistent throughout the year.
d. I make sure I’m nice and cool in the summer and nice and warm in the winter.

7. Water Filtration System
a. I have a dedicated water filtration system to supply my home.
b. I filter my tap water in the kitchen only.
c. I am on city water and do not have a filtration system, but I only drink bottled water.
d. Water filtration and bottled water are too expensive, and I don’t believe in its so-called benefits.

8. Water Usage
a. I limit my bathing time, turn off the water while brushing my teeth, water my lawn in short intervals during appropriate times, and fill the kitchen sink with water while cleaning dishes.
b. I have my lawn sprinklers and use micro-irrigation, but feel that all other conservation measures do not provide a significant savings.
c. I try to take short showers and clean my dishes in sink filled with water, but I do little to conserve water otherwise.
d. Water conservation is not important to me and does not affect me directly.

9. Flooring
a. I use only recycled, zero-emission flooring and recycle my used materials.
b. I recycle used flooring, but do not use zero-emission flooring.
c. I don’t recycle flooring and tend to purchase what is aesthetically-pleasing, inexpensive or merely available.
d. Why re-floor? My carpet has been around for 20 years and is still good.

10. Insulation
a. My entire home contains energy-saving insulation in both the walls and attic.
b. I have invested in both wall and attic insulation for only the select areas within my home that needed repair.
c. I currently have newer insulation and am not interested in re-insulating my existing home, but I will consider doing so for my next home.
d. I don’t believe my home is well-insulated, but it would be too expensive and time-consuming to rectify the situation.

11. Organic Food
a. I only eat organic or organically-raised food that is locally-sourced, in season, or supplemented from my home garden or local farm cooperative.
b. The majority of my food is organic and I source it from a variety of convenient distributors. 
c. I eat organic food when it’s on sale and available from my local grocer. only
d. I do not believe in the benefits of organic foods both from a health and financial perspective.

12. Food Reuse
a. I use our leftovers for new meals, throw them into our backyard compost, or donate them to charity.
b. I use leftovers for compost only.
c. Occasionally, I use some leftovers for new meals.
d. I like my food fresh, so off my plate and into the trash.

13. Transportation
a. I use only hybrid cars, public transportation, or self-powered means such as bikes or walking.
b. I use a small car, public transportation, or self-powered means such as bikes or walking.
c. I drive everywhere, but I have a good gas-mileage vehicle.
d. They’ll have to pry my SUV from my cold, dead hands.

14. Travel
a. I seek out only eco-friendly vacations and/or travel arrangements that include green hotel accommodations, energy-efficient transportation rentals, or public transportation options.
b. I have not taken an eco-friendly vacation nor am I interested, but, when feasible, I seek out green hotels and transportation options when traveling.
c. When traveling, I am interested in only public transportation options due to cost savings.
d. I travel where I can get the most affordable rates, including any form of transportation.

15. Cleaning Agents
a. I use only non-toxic cleaning agents such as lemon, baking soda, and vinegar around the house.
b. I seek out environmentally-friendly cleaners at my grocery store when convenient.
c. Depending on the project, I use a mix of environmentally-friendly cleaners and some traditionally household cleaners, even though they are probably toxic.
d. I use the regular household cleaners because they are cheap and effective.

16. Lawn Care
a. I practice water conservation methods on my lawn such as micro-irrigation, and I only use beneficial bacteria and natural fertilizers.
b. I use natural pesticides and processed fertilizers, but I water every third day in the morning, or the minimum I can get away with.
c. I use pesticides and natural fertilizers, but I water my lawn frequently to keep it healthy.
d. I use pesticides, processed fertilizers, and water my lawn everyday to ensure it stays green.

This quiz is intended to give you an idea of what you do now and what options you may choose in the future to undertake a green lifestyle and reduce your carbon footprint. You may score yourself and check your grade below.

Grading Scale:
For each question, award yourself the following for your responses:
A = 4 points
B = 3 points
C = 2 points
D = 1 point

27 or less: You are at the Acorn Level. You may engage in a few green initiatives, but it is generally out of convenience and not commitment. Maybe you can add some eco-friendly activities to your daily life. You can start with one simple project each week, such as switching to CFL light bulbs or turning leftovers into new meals. You’ll be surprised at both the difference you can make to your environmental footprint, as well as the benefit to your pocketbook.

28-39: You have reached the Sapling Level. You certainly have a commitment to a greener society, and you’re taking reasonable steps to do your part. However, you probably think you can do more, and you are right!

40-51: Congratulations on achieving Pine Level. You do much more than the majority of people, and it shows! Keep doing your part by finding more advanced projects to green your lifestyle such as installing a home water filtration system or travel commuting solutions. Just ask yourself, “How green do I want to be?”

52-59: You are in rare company in the mighty Oak Level. Only the most die-hard greenies do more than you, so you should be very proud. Your next challenge: educate your friends and family on what they can do to reduce their environmental footprint.

Over 60: The most revered level: the Sequoia Level. There are precious few like you, so it is the goal of all of us to get more people to reach Sequoia Level. If you have reached this level, please share your sustainability practices so that we can publish them to encourage others to live a truly green lifestyle! 


This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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