Back in the day — as in a couple years ago — making small green changes required fighting. Now, eco-choices aren’t so tough! No, green decisions are still not the status quo, but at least they aren’t so far out as to require a struggle. A few cases in point:

>> My eco-friendlier Day|Runner. I walked over to Staples to see if any greener options were available. What I found: Refills made with 60 percent post-consumer recycled paper printed with veggie-based inks! Yes, I know — some planners do offer 100 percent post-consumer recycled content, but those require my buying new covers along with the innards, instead of refilling my years-old Franklin Covey planner cover. Plus, the Staples store was just a block away. Carbon emissions-free travel!

>> A BYO appeal at Vons. Believe it or not, my local Vons has a sign on its front door urging customers to “Please bring your reusable bag.” I only noticed this about a week ago, so I’m guessing the sign was put up as part of the county-wide A Day Without a Bag event. Still, we’re talking about an anti-disposable-bag message from a major chain supermarket.

>> Organic and farmers market options at tourist-friendly eateries. Slowly, the restaurants on Third Street Promenade — where all the tourists come to experience the SoCal beach while doing a little shopping — has gotten greener and greener. Now, a good number of them get their produce from the local farmers market and pride themselves in offering organic dishes. LAGO — a.k.a. Locanda del Lago — now offers seasonal specials “using the freshest organic produce purchased from the local Santa Monica Farmer’s Markets in conjunction with sustainable protein while highlighting the unique flavors of the season,” for example. The results are both tasty and heartwarming.

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Yes, I know — I’m lucky to live in a neighborhood with lots of eco-minded folk. But I still do think living green’s getting incrementally easier, too — these are becoming habits that not-all-that-green-thinking people could pick up “accidentally.” All of these little shifts will add up to bigger shifts in 2010, I believe.

What about you? Do you see green changes happening in your ‘hood? What are they? Share them in the comments and encourage the rest of us to push for the same in our communities.

Why I’m optimistic about 2010: Easier green living
Green urban living got easier in 2009. Here's to making eco-conscious lifestyles even simpler in 2010.