Greetings from Boston! I am happy to say my trip was successful, and it left me tired after my jam-packed days (and watching Michael Phelps win all of those metals!). Anyways, for those of you who don't know, I am a graduate student in psychology, and this trip to Boston was to attend the American Psychological Association 's National Convention. And although I didn't spend a ton of time at the convention (I'd rather be sight-seeing), USA Today wrote an excellent article on what psychologists believe is means to "be green" based on studies presented at the convention. It was addressed in the article that psychologists find that the idea of "going green" may seem overwhelming or confusing to most people. When we think of going green, some people may believe that it requires a HUGE lifestyle change, when in fact, it doesn't always have to be that way. When starting this journey at first, I thought myself that this can be a lot of work to help the planet, but it is really worth it. I have come to find this experiment as well as blogging on here has taught me the value of energy and money. People may get a tendency to feel helpless among a sea of people who do not contribute or live similarly. Everybody thinks they need to go out and buy a hybrid car to save the planet, when there are little things (as with the purpose of this blog) that can help save the Earth one step at a time. People may also feel no guidance when approaching a green lifestyle, and find it overwhelming in itself. As we all know, there are no real instructions to going green, its all up to you, and how far you want to go with it. I generally agree with these insights, and believe it is a major reason to the barriers of more people going green, the lack of education, awareness, and resources to such a lifestyle.
For more information, USA Today also has a great bunch of articles and tips on green lifestyles, as well as testing your knowledge about what helps the environment. I actually didn't score so high on their Environmental IQ quiz, and learned something. Another interesting article talked about feeling the "green guilt" (adapting to green lifestyle habits out of feelings of guilt), which according to USA Today, 20% of Americans feel.
Beyond my reflections from above, I also wanted to mention things from the trip I have learned regarding travel, as a previous entry on the subject seemed useful to readers. Tips that I learned from my travels are as follows:
- If a city has a subway system, USE IT! This is by far one of the cheapest methods of transportation, and fairly quick. Get a map either before you go or as soon as you arrive so that you can find transit locations in the city. I only wish I had one where I lived and I wouldn't need a car.
- I actually ended up packing food in a large suitcase. I travel light, and I used half of my checked bag for food to eat when needing that snack for the morning at the convention so I wouldn't have to pay for expensive food there, or even from the hotel cafe. I even packed some zip-loc bags to put cereal in for the morning.
- Again, look for the free activities in the city. Boston's Freedom Trail was a big hit for us, not only because it was free and took up the majority of an afternoon, but it also let us to small admission priced to free historic attractions.
- In addition to packing food, we also looked carefully for the local OSCO drug store to buy things like milk or soda that we couldn't pack in our bag, its much cheaper to buy a 6 or 12 pack of soda then to buy an individual drink every place you go. Bringing a water bottle may also not be a bad idea.
- Look for alternatives. We wanted to see Fenway Park, but instead of going to a game (which can be quite pricey for Boston - around $50-$80 a seat, and not including their $4.50 hot dogs), we took a $12 tour instead. That way we also saved time by only being there for an hour instead of 3-4 hours.
- Students - bring your college IDs with you, they will get you discounts everywhere!