Faced with news about rising sea levels and depleted natural resources, we have three choices: ignore it, freeze in panic, or try to start living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. If you want to make the third choice but aren’t sure how, these tips will help you get started.
Replace single-use plastics.
Disposable plastics are one of the world’s biggest sources of pollution. Among the worst offenders? Plastic bags, plastic straws, and plastic water bottles. Fortunately, those items are also very easy to replace with a reusable alternative. Pick up a cloth bag, bamboo or steel straw, and steel water bottle, and you’ll offset hundreds of disposable plastics you would have used otherwise.
Conserve water and energy.
Most households tend to waste a lot of water and energy, even if unintentionally. The best way to combat this is to start paying more attention to how much you use and notice where you could use less. If you leave lights on when you’re not in the room or keep the A/C blasting when you aren’t at home, those are easy habits to change. Similarly, if you tend to take long showers or leave the water running while brushing your teeth, both can easily be adjusted.
A few one-time changes will also go a long way, such as replacing your light bulbs with LED lights and fixing any leaky pipes or dripping faucets. As a bonus, you’ll save money on utilities by saving energy and water at home.
Get rid of toxic chemicals.
So many of the cleaning products and cosmetics many people routinely use are packed with harsh chemicals. If you read the ingredient labels on your own products, you’ll probably realize there are some you don’t really want to have in your home!
Fortunately, eco-friendly versions of most goods are now widely available, even at mainstream stores, and you can also DIY many cosmetics, toiletries, and cleaning products with natural ingredients.
Limit driving and flying.
Driving and especially flying have a serious environmental impact, from running on fossil fuels to releasing huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Drives and flights are sometimes inevitable, but where you can choose an alternative, it will make a difference.
Even if walking or taking public transportation isn’t feasible, arranging to car pool will still result in fewer cars on the road. And if you do need to fly instead of taking a train or bus, choose the most direct route you can and consider offsetting your flight.
Shop and eat local.
The transportation of goods is another major source of carbon emissions, which is why shopping locally is also part of sustainable living. Compared imported goods or online orders, something made in your area won’t require much transportation to get to you.
The same principle applies to food. If you can, shop at a farmers market, so you can buy your fruits and vegetables straight from local growers. Focusing on eating what’s in season in your area instead of imported produce will also naturally reduce your carbon footprint.