by Kara Rajchel, Guest Contributor
From droughts in California to the lowest level of sea ice at the North Pole yet there’s no escaping the need to carefully consider how we use our resources. For military families struggling with daily life, deployments, training and,of course, PCSing this can seem like a far away issue that doesn’t really impact our daily lives.
The ongoing drought in California is one of the most vivid examples of why, now more than ever going green is everyone’s responsibility. That responsibility comes with some amazing benefits and fits right in with military life. Here are 4 reasons why green looks good on military families.
The military is already green.
From solar panels on base housing to farmers markets to biofuels the DoD is going green. Going green isn’t just for hippies anymore, it’s for everyone, even the military. Shrinking defense budgets means less money to go around, so saving money with renewable energy sources means there is less money spent on things like energy and more money to go elsewhere.
Being green is mandatory (at least in some places).
Many states have mandatory recycling and even composting laws. Will your new duty station make you recycle? The same goes for overseas or OCONUS orders.
Here in Korea recycling is mandatory, as is composting. Japan has similar strict recycling rules. Getting in the habit of recycling now not only makes adjustment easier when you encounter new ways of doing it, but it will also decrease your trash output. Would you believe we only have one small, plastic shopping bag of trash every 2 WEEKS? It’s true! That’s the power of recycling!
Going green saves money.
It’s no secret that military families might be in for an unpleasant increase in costs with shrinking BAH and potential price increases at the commissary. Will this impact your bottom line? It certainly will with my family. We need to account for those costs somewhere else, that “somewhere else” is in our utilities and in what we consume.
Using energy efficient light bulbs, unplugging “energy vampires” and using less water will help you save money on your utilities. Smart shopping at the commissary and using up your leftovers and reducing food waste will help you save money on your food.
Protip: While you might be lucky enough not to worry about utility costs at your current duty station, that’s not always the case! Overseas utilities can be very expensive. Like 2 or 3 times what you are used to paying for the same usage. Here in Korea if you were to use your utilities like you do stateside you can easily go above the allowance you get for utilities.
Going green makes you a better neighbor.
It’s a love-hate relationship military towns have with the military bases and people that live there. Be a good neighbor, support your local businesses and farmers. By buying local produce and products you make sure your money stays in your military community. It helps the community and the environment. Every good we buy is shipped from somewhere. All that shipping creates a lot of pollution and takes a lot of energy. Buying local helps prevent that while at the same time, helping small businesses in your community grow.
Going green will help your military family reduce its expenses, waste and improve your local communities. It’s win-win! Every small step matters and makes an impact, from choosing to use a reusable bag over a disposable one, choosing organic foods when you can, to eating less meat or buying locally grown produce.
Earth Day is recognized this month but, no matter what day it is, today is the perfect time to start being a little more green.
How is your military family going green?
Kara Rajchel is a freelance web designer & blogger and self-confessed hippy chick. She writes about life in Korea and eco-friendly/green living at GreenMtnGirl.com. Connect with her on Twitter @thegreenmtngirl or Facebook.