While a majority of people say they support green products and practices, it’s reported that only 4 percent of consumers preferentially purchase green products. Half the world lives in an urban environment, and an emphasis on low cost, ease of use and convenience becomes more apparent as we become more urbanized. However, green living can become a larger part of our mindset as we start the New Year.

Understanding the benefit of green practices is easy, routinely applying them is the challenge for 2011.

• Reuse: Buying disposable items is obviously wasteful. Using and reusing quality products may cost more initially, but is better for the environment and your purse in the long run. Ideas include grocery store bags, water bottles, coffee mugs at the office and more.

• Ritzycycling: Reusing and upcycling is now fashionable. Shop in second hand stores and have fun creating your own jewelry and custom clothing. Donate or exchange your used items including clothing, electronics and furniture, instead of discarding.

• Reduce Consumption: Americans toss out 40 percent of food purchased, a waste of food, fuel, fertilizer and funds. An obvious money saving concept, combine your car trips to reduce fuel consumption, pollution and wear and tear on your vehicle

• Self Solar: Passively plan window screens, plantings and ventilation to minimize your houses need for heating/cooling. Active solar devices include landscape solar lights, water heater, hand calculators and more.

• Buy Local: Support your areas economy. Decrease the wasted fuel and packaging required by long-distance purchases.

• Well-thy: Improve your quality of life by actively participating in and investigating environmental issues, particularly in your own backyard. Get involved in a nature center; we’d love you at Quinta Mazatlan!

• Xeriscape: Our native plants versus ornamental plants are suited to our South Texas climate and require less input of water and fertilizer. This reduces the load on our utilities, saves money and reduces pollution from run-off.

• Urban Gardening: Consider growing your own herbs, tomatoes and lettuce. This hobby provides family involvement and greater appreciation of our bountiful food choices. Supporting local farmers markets is a fun and healthy way to shop.

• Carbon Footprint: Consider the implicit fuel consumption and waste production of your lifestyle. Choices which appear logical may in fact result in excessive waste and pollution.

• Random Acts of Kindness: A friendly trend that should be acted upon every year is to perform random acts of kindness. Happy people make wise choices for themselves and the community.

Help spark an interest in your family and business to make more GREEN lifestyle choices in 2011.