Tree Toppers


Every day, I pen a syndicated column called “Do Just One Thing” that appears in newspapers across the country. Over the past several years, I’ve accumulated thousands of tips that not only help people live a little bit greener each day, but are smart ways to cut waste and save money as well. In each issue of this magazine, I’ll round up my all-time favorite tips. They’re clever, fun, and simple enough that I think you’ll Naturally love to try them. –DANNY SEO

  1. Tree Toppers: One of the easiest ways to help combat climate change is to plant a tree. But did you know that some trees aren’t as good at absorbing CO2 emissions as others? The U.S. Forest Service did a study in 2002 that researched which trees in an urban environment did the best to absorb CO2s. Trees like black walnut, Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, red oak, bald cypress, and red and white pine top the list. These trees are also easy to maintain. After all, trees that need gas-guzzling equipment like trucks and chainsaws will erase any eco gains.
  2. Supermarket Sweep: Do you know what hour of the day and day of the week is the cheapest time to stock up on organic fruits and vegetables at the supermarket? It’s Wednesday night! On Tuesdays, supermarket circulars come out that advertise sales starting Wednesday. At night, supermarket managers take inventory of perishables and mark down items that are overstocked. Combine the weekly sale with the markdowns and you have a chance to score organic bargains every Wednesday night.
  3. Breathe Better: When you’re looking for relief for your sinus and nasal passages, consider the natural ingredient xylitol. Unlike other saline sprays that can dry out your nasal passage, xylitol sprays (like the Xlear brand) act like soap for your nose. It cleans, moisturizes, and prevents bacteria and other pollutants from sticking to nasal tissues. Breathe easy!
  4. Turtle Time: Ever see a large turtle in the middle of the road and wonder if you should help relocate it before it gets smashed by a car? Some tortoises can hurt you—like a snapping turtle— so care must be taken to make sure you don’t get hurt. Wildlife experts agree that if you can safely help, please do. Use something like a floor mat from your car and nudge the turtle onto it. Then drag it backwards (so the turtle is not facing you) across the road until the turtle is somewhere safe and sound.
  5. Flue Clues: A properly working fireplace is key to the highest level of energy efficiency and safety in your home. One way to inspect your fireplace is to place a medium size mirror face-up inside the firebox, and then go on the roof and look down the chimney with a flashlight. You should see a light reflect. This means there are no obstructions in the chimney. Of course, if you are fearful of heights, leave it to a pro and have them inspect, clean, and sweep out your chimney annually.