While pondering what to write this week, one word came to mind – Commitment.

We may make several commitments throughout our lifetime and, indeed, rarely does an endeavor really work without commitment. Think about marriage, parenthood, educational or career pursuits, quitting smoking, or incredible achievements like running a marathon, climbing a mountain, biking long distances, reaching high academic standards, or finding the cure – would any of these be possible without commitment.

That one word is really what it takes to do something well. Sometimes it works better to commit by starting small and then adding more as you become successful. This can be the key when you want to Green-up your life. Since it is the New Year, you could choose one thing to change in your lifestyle – one thing that would be easier for you to begin, here are a few starter suggestions:

• Change every incandescent light bulb in your house to a CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) or LED (Light Emitting Diode)

• Purchase a programmable thermostat and program it according to your awake, and at home, schedule

• Lower the temperature at night by 2 to 5 degrees, and add another blanket (or two) to the bed

• Start household recycling. Begin by placing a paper bag by your trash bag and tossing junk mail in the paper bag. You’ll be surprised by how quickly it fills up!

• Convert all publications to eLetters, when possible

• Convert to eBanking (with eBill paying), when possible

So, that was a short list because this is supposed to be easy. These are the baby steps; so if you need to, choose only one of these items to begin. Once you have committed to one of these and it becomes easy, think about committing to adding another. Maybe you are already doing one or more, if so, congratulations! You are already on the Green Road of life!

Commitment is also staying strong toward your goal even when obstacles may be lessened or removed. Specifically, think of the lower gas prices we have been experiencing. Have you stopped combining errands to save gas?

Every journey begins with a single step. We often get overwhelmed with the idea of having to save the world. In truth that is beyond any single individual. A unified commitment of people taking one step at a time, one day at a time, and simply doing the small things at hand is how any great deed is accomplished. If everybody committed to taking any one of the steps above, the impact on our natural resources, the economy, and the quality of our lives would be monumental.

You can be the one person that makes a difference; your participation can inspire others to join in and live more Green. It will take a unification of many to make the greatest impact on our natural resources. Once you start being more Green, spread the word to others about how easy it can be. You can tip the scales and motivate others to follow your Green example and begin their own journey to commitment.


-- Lynn Youngblood is the Executive Director of the Blue River Watershed Association; a certified Residential Energy Client Service Coordinator by the National Energy Retrofit Institute; and a former nature center manager for over 17-years with the Missouri Department of Conservation.