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Journey back in time keeps us looking forward

As 2010 comes to a close, I thought it would be interesting to take a quick run back through this year’s Green Living column topics, to reflect on where we’ve been and perhaps get a glimpse of where we might be going.

The first column kicked off 2010 with a look at home appraisals and the need to properly value the high-performance aspects of homes that are energy efficient or that use renewable energy, for example. It brought attention to some upcoming educational seminars aimed at home appraisers and Realtors.

The next topic touched on the unsustainable practice of meat-based diets and the ethical use of products derived from questionable sources, in this case, animal fat being used for car lubrication. We choose a mostly meat-free lifestyle, a very green choice according to most experts.

February columns examined the practice of heating our homes with natural gas and the hidden impacts of fracking, followed up with information on residential solar hot water systems and new rebates.

In March there was an update on SolarGenerations, NV Energy’s rebate program. I then issued a challenge for us to become the first carbon-neutral state in the U.S. I still think we can do it if we get serious. Deep green home retrofits were covered in April with a focus on a project that turned an older home into a new gem. Earth Day was the next topic with a mention of Bill McKibben’s book “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.”

May was about reducing our need for oil through green community development. We also covered a great product that provides a great showering experience while also reducing water consumption. The shift in home-energy production, delivery and use was discussed in June. The next column focused on indoor air quality, its effect on our health and how to improve both.

As the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster continued to unfold in July, we took a look at the role of plastic in our homes and the effect our choices have on the world. Then the focus turned to the importance of home libraries and the powerful impact a good book like “The China Study” can have our lives. July wrapped up with a piece on solar cooking, one of my favorite things!

August topics included a look at green jobs and the many resources available to those interested. A special treat for the hot summer was all about getting out of the house for a visit to Atomic #7, a healthy, vegan-oriented local business serving up delicious desserts in an interesting way.

September was all about right-sized homes and the Southern Nevada Solar Home Tour.

October was Energy Awareness Month so we looked at energy from a unique perspective to see just how much we use, and waste. Then it was onto smart meters and the impacts of real-time pricing for electricity.

In November, we looked toward taking the high road in favor of home-energy audits at the time of sale. Unfortunately, our decision-makers have since chosen a lesser path. We wrapped up the month discussing living buildings, an even greener way to build green.

December brought a special column on the value of gifts from the heart and how making them can be the greenest choice of all while also providing so much meaning. The most recent Green Living column was about our one true home, this little spaceship Earth.

That’s where we’ve been this year and I’m excited to see where we go next. Green Living is a journey, not a destination. I hope we’ll be travelling together, continuing to learn how to live lighter on the planet – as if we intend to stay. For those interested, all of my columns are conveniently archived at greendream.biz.

Happy new year!

Steve Rypka is a green living consultant and president of GreenDream Enterprises, a company committed to helping people live lighter on the planet. For more information and links to additional resources relating to this column, or to reach Steve, please visit www.greendream.biz.

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