So you care about the environment, you say. You turn off lights when you leave the room. You don’t brush your teeth while the tap is running. You buy organic foods where possible. What else can one do? All lot, it turns out.
Even though we may care about the environment, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that your choices are insignificant in the grander scheme of things. The everyday choices that we make as individuals have its combined impact on the planet. Your buying power, personal choices and lifestyle changes have their impact, whether positive or negative, on other people, other species and the natural environment. No change is too small to make. There are millions of other people just like you, greening your life choices for a greener planet every day, and these good decisions add up.
Here are some ways to green your life that you may want to consider if you’re serious about protecting the planet:
Reduce your greenhouse gas emissions choosing to walk, cycle or take public transit. If you can’t do any of those options then try to use a car sharing program, or carpool with friends. Wherever possible, try to opt for the most fuel efficient car possible… maybe even buy a hybrid the next time you need a car!
If you find yourself travelling a lot for work, show your company how much money they could save by having you telecommute into meetings. You can save time, money and greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of flights that you take, often without sacrificing relationship building. Another option to flying is taking the train or bus.
There are two things that you can do when it comes to reducing your greenhouse gas emissions through energy. The first is to consume less by using energy efficient technologies, such as LED bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. You should also unplug electronics when not in use since they are still consuming energy when plugged in. You can also simply not use some appliances, such as your clothes dryer for example, to save energy and reduce your energy bill.
The second strategy is to use renewable power whenever you can. The carbon footprint of renewable energy is almost negligible when compared to burning fossil fuels. By installing a solar water heating or photovoltaic power system on your rooftop, you can feel great about using clean energy, and maybe even sell your surplus electricity to others!
Food for Thought
There are so many ways to reduce your environmental impact through what you eat. When you purchase organic, local and low on the food chain (meaning mostly plants instead of meat or dairy) you are lowering the amount of pesticides that make their way into the environment and reducing the emissions associated with food production. Try going meat free for one day a week. Imagine how much we could reduce our greenhouse gas emissions if everyone was a part time vegetarian.
Waste is a Waste
There really isn’t anything positive about landfills. They produce methane (which is rarely collected and burned by the way), and foul odours and they take up precious space. Reduce your production of waste by recycling or composting everything that you can. You’d be surprised how much of what you throw out can actually be recycled if properly rinsed or separated first.
Your political leaders need to know how much environmental issues matter to voters. If no one speaks up then it’s business as usual for decision makers. There are so many ways that protecting the environment also means fostering a healthy economy and growing more resilient communities. Don’t forget to vote for those politicians who are supporting climate change policies.
The more you know about a subject, the more you will be able to take action and explain the issue to others. There are tons of environmental and climate change news sites to subscribe to and read up on all of the latest stories in the field so that you can be a knowledgeable climate change ambassador.
Support Green Initiatives
If taking action yourself is proving to be too challenging or time consuming, you can always support others to do the work for you. By donating to charities that will offset your carbon emissions, you can still lead a carbon neutral life. Consider making a donation today to the environmental charity of your choice and you can feel good about knowing that the money you donate will be used efficiently to support green initiatives.