Going Green in Your Senior Years

As a Boulder resident, you may know more about environmentalism than many seniors do. After all, our mountain town is more environmentally conscious than many cities of its size, with recycling and composting the norm, a vibrant bike commuting community, even football games at CU trying to go 100% sustainable. Still, studies show that the older we get, the less we do to support the Earth. While most of us are familiar with the basics of sustainability, like the importance of recycling and composting, there is so much more we can do to go green, even in our senior years. We’ve got some ideas to share.

1. Do your research

Our grandchildren are well-versed in climate change and sustainability, but you may not have learned the same lessons about the environment when you were in school. It’s important to do your research to find out not only what you can do to save the planet but why we’re doing it in the first place. Boulder County’s website is a great resource for information about sustainability, climate change and what the county is doing to help the environment. There are countless things we can do to protect the Earth, so don’t be shy—ask your neighbors, your family and especially your grandkids about their best practices for going green.

2. Embrace green technology

Learning to use new technology can feel a little intimidating at times, but doing so can make a big impact on the environment. Ask a loved one for help getting the basics down, and you’ll have the hang of it in no time. Here are a few tech practices you can embrace.

  • Recycle old electronics. Chances are, you may have already upgraded to a flat-screen TV and replaced your landline with a smartphone. If you’ve got old, clunky tech tools piling up in your home because you don’t know what to do with them, remember that they’re not going to magically decompose and disappear. Recycle your old electronics so they can be reused—and so you don’t have to worry about getting rid of them anymore.
  • Go paperless. Our computers and smartphones do a lot for us these days, and it’s now easier than ever to use less paper. You can pay your bills online, look at your credit card statements online and read the news online. So start unsubscribing from snail mail and printed publications—doing so will save a lot of paper waste.
  • Use energy-efficient lightbulbs. Replace your current lightbulbs with LED bulbs, which are much more energy-efficient. Or go a step further by buying smart light bulbs, which you can turn off through your smartphone if you accidentally leave lights on when you’re not home.
  • Get a smart thermostat. Like smart bulbs, smart thermostats can also be controlled through your phone. You can also program them to learn your temperature preferences and turn the temperature down to save energy when you’re out of the house.
  • Carpool, use public transit or bike. Carpooling is a great way to reduce your fuel usage. Be sure to ride with friends when you’re going to an event, or take public transportation. Many public transportation options offer senior discounts, including Green Ride, an environmentally-friendly shuttle service between Boulder and DIA. Better yet, take your bike for a completely pollution-free travel alternative.

3. Volunteer

What better way to help the Earth than to spend some time volunteering? There are ample opportunities to volunteer in and around Boulder. Consider giving your time to some of the following initiatives:

  • City of Boulder: If you’re not sure where to volunteer, the City of Boulder is a great place to start. There’s a lot we can do to volunteer in our city. Do your part by working to restore the Boulder Reservoir, picking up trash in parks or teaching kids about respecting and enjoying nature.
  • Wildlands Restoration Volunteers: WRV’s main office is located in Boulder, but they have restoration projects happening all over Colorado and southern Wyoming. From reducing wildfire risks to pulling invasive weeds to improving habitats, WRV does a little bit of everything.
  • Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center: Greenwood is a nonprofit dedicated to nurturing sick and injured wildlife back to health. Animals play an important role in our ecosystem. If you love animals and want to keep the circle of life going strong, this might be the volunteer opportunity for you.