Not financially equipped to purchase the latest Tesla?
Lacking in sufficient acreage to build a wind-farm?
Snap! Fortunately you don’t have to be money-bags-mcgee to make a positive difference to the environment. Our daily choices can sometimes seem insignificant, however they have a huge impact on the health of the planet and those we share it with.
With this in mind, here are some practical tips which you can easily adopt to reduce your environmental footprint.
6 Simple Tips for Sustainable Living
1. CUT BACK ON NON-ESSENTIALS
If you have 10 pairs of shoes but wear the same 3 on rotation and your magazine subscription only serves for table decoration purposes, this might be something for you.
Minimalists might just be on to something here, as taking a step back to look at our purchasing habits can be beneficial for our pockets as well as the planet. An easy tip to help you minimize your outgoings is to ask yourself the following questions before you enter your PIN: “Will this item improve my life?” “How often will I use it?”, “Can I save some money to buy a more sustainable version?”
Industrial pollution is hugely detrimental to all aspects of the environment, but we can help reduce this by finding ways to ‘do more with less’.
2. AVOID PLASTICS AND DISPOSABLE ITEMS
Over 8 million tons of plastic gets dumped into our oceans ever year, causing devastating affects to fish and other sea creatures. Ecosystems are often poisoned by the plastic chemicals in addition to the large quantities of debris being consumed by marine life. This not only causes disease in the individual animal, but can cause sickness in everything which eats it – including humans beings.
Plastic takes a very long time to decompose and sits around in landfills for years, polluting our land and atmosphere. The good news is though, you can minimize your plastic waste in many ways by opting for products made from biodegradable materials or choosing reusable plastic items over disposables. Here are a few examples to get you started:
- Use refillable bottles and cups (Camelbak & Contigo are good brands)
- Bring your lunch to work in reusable containers and avoid packaged goods
- Purchase some grocery bags for life and ditch the disposable ones
- You can also join local beach-cleans, often run by conservation charities like Sea Shepherd
3. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
A clichéd mantra we’ve been banging on about for decades, and you’d think we’d have the hang of it by now. These common practices are important in terms of their ability to preserve natural resources, save energy and decrease environmental damage.
So to throw in another cliché, “actions speak louder than words” and we can definitely do more than chant the three Rs. Start by reusing glass jars and plastic food containers, finding alternative uses for old clothing (like cleaning rags and a multitude of other things) and old toothbrushes for scrubbing those hard to reach places. You’ll be amazed how many uses one item can have!
4. WATCH YOUR WATER USAGE
We already know that plastic is damaging our wildlife, so avoiding disposable water bottles is a given; but let us dive deeper into the topic of water itself… Did you know that water conservation is critical, particularly in areas of the world with increasing demands and growing populations? According to the WWF, “1.1 billion people lack access to water and 2.7 billion experience water scarcity at least one month a year. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may be facing water shortages.”
Easy ways to conserve your water usage include shortening your shower times, being conscious of wastage (leaving faucets running unnecessarily), xeriscaping your lawn and opting for low-flow appliances. Additionally, animal agriculture is responsible for a staggering 20%-33% of all fresh water consumption in the world, meaning that simply leaving these items off your plate can have hugely beneficial results.
5. REDUCE TRANSPORTATION DEMANDS
Transportation is accountable for a substantial percentage of green house gas emissions and is caused by more than just driving your car to work. In this case, there are many simple alternatives to reduce your own pollution (walking, cycling, carpooling or using public transport systems) however much of the damage is being caused by importing goods from overseas.
Wherever you can, try to buy your produce or other items from local suppliers. You can benefit your country’s economy too!
6. REVAMP YOUR DIET
The majority of the world’s population currently eat a diet centred around animal byproducts, however ethical issues aside, meat production is among the most environmentally destructive industries on the planet.
Fortunately we are all able to help, simply by adopting a new way of eating – and you don’t have to sacrifice a thing! Veganism has never been easier and food choices never so abundant.
A person who follows a vegan diet produces the equivalent of 50% less carbon dioxide, uses 1/11th oil, 1/13th water, and 1/18th land compared to a meat-lover for their food.