If you're like most people, then you're concerned about the environment. Climate change is impacting everyone, and most of it is not good. Dealing with this will take effort from nearly everyone, and you want to do your part.
It's great if you want to live green and help the planet, but you might face two problems. First, you might not know what you can do. Second, you're busy, so anything you can do needs to be things you can fit into your active lifestyle.Knowing easy ways to live green every day helps you help the environment through practical changes to your usual routines.
Learn New Uses for Leftovers
Food production and transport is a huge source of greenhouse emissions, and wasted food wastes resources at all levels. Repurpose your leftovers whenever you can:
- Freeze unused slices of bread into croutons.
- Turn chickpea water or aquafaba into vegan mayonnaise.
- Cut your courgette stalks into penne-style shapes to cook just like pasta.
- Compost anything else you can.
Get Half Your Groceries Locally
If you buy just your fruits and veggies from local farms, you're doing several things:
- You're keeping your money in the local economy, especially if it's within 30 miles.
- Shorter food chains minimize waste and pollution for food en route to your kitchen.
- Fruits and veggies have short timeframes for their nutritional value, so you'll eat a healthier diet.
- Buying loose foods means less packaging and waste.
Cut Down on Laundry
Who wouldn't love to do laundry less often? Most of the environmental burden coming out of the fashion industry happens after garments get home. More than 80 percent of the energy any piece of clothing uses over its lifetime is in the weekly laundry it goes through. Instead of constantly throwing things in the washer and dryer, think about spot-cleaning or using lemon juice or diluted vodka as a spritz to neutralize odors.
Air-Dry Your Clothes
Even if you still rely on your washing machine a lot, planning ahead might leave you time to air-dry your clothes. Letting them dry outside might give them the best scent and feel from the natural air and sunlight, but there are sometimes advantages to drying clothes indoors. During the winter, when indoor air is very dry, letting clothes dry inside might give your interior space some badly needed moisture.
Install an Aerated Showerhead
Just putting in a water-efficient showerhead can do wonders for everyone:
- You can save money on your water bill.
- You'll also use less electricity since you're not heating up as much water.
- Using less water and power at the same time is a double win for the environment.
Car for Your Car
Driving an electric or hybrid vehicle is obviously a green thing to do, but even if you drive something that runs on fossil fuels, you can still care for the environment. Regular maintenance of your vehicle will help you get better gas mileage so you use fewer fossil fuels over time. Also, the longer you can keep your car running, the longer it won't wind up in a junkyard.
Get Vintage Furniture and Clothes
Secondhand items usually have interesting stories or just let you express your own unique personality and creativity. Look into:
- Local vintage stores
- Consignment shops
- Community-area auctions
Rethink Your Flowers
Whenever you want flowers for yourself or someone else, try to get something local. Approximately 90 percent of the flowers you get from florists are flown in from places such as:
- The Netherlands
Your community likely has a co-op of small and independent florists in your area. Even consider growing your own.
Reset Your HVAC
Heating and cooling needs account for half of residential energy consumption. Every degree you lower your thermostat in the winter or raise it in the summer for just 8 hours each day will result in a 1-percent drop in your utility bill. Keep it there all day long, and you'll triple your savings while further compounding how much you're reducing your carbon footprint.
Environmental stewardship organizations from land conservancies to animal protection groups have volunteer programs you can take part in. Potential activities might include:
- Educating others
- Clearing trails
- Picking up litter
The benefits for you include:
- Taking action based on your beliefs
- Setting an example for others
- Meeting like-minded people
- Staying current with environmental issues
- Making an actual difference
Emails don't necessarily waste a lot of the planet's resources, but are you getting more than you need? If they're designed to get you into shopping for things that you don't need, that consumerism can hurt the planet. At the very least, minimize your screen time so you can spend a few more moments each day connecting with nature and the tangible world instead of the digital one.
You might only have the time and energy for small, simple steps towards greener living. However, that's all you need to make a difference in your own life and the greater world around you.