5 Ways To Lead An Eco-Friendly Life
We are facing so many environmental issues right now – climate change, deforestation, air and water pollution, acid rain, wildfires, and more. It’s up to all of us to protect the environment and safeguard the planet from threats that will affect the long-term health of animals, humans and plants. A greener way of life doesn’t have to mean adapting your whole personality or way of doing things. Becoming more eco-conscious isn’t a radical step, it should come naturally. You can make small modifications in some areas – every little helps. Here are a few lifestyle changes that can embrace to get the ball rolling.
- Eat less meat
For many of us, a juicy steak, succulent piece of chicken or sizzling slices of bacon are mouth-watering thoughts. But, more than 30 percent of the Earth’s surface is being used to raise and support livestock. According to a study by the United Nations study, the livestock sector generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide. We’re always hearing about CO2 emissions, however, nitrous oxide depletes the ozone layer and is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The good news is, reducing nitrous oxide could have a faster, significant impact on global warming. Vegetarians and vegans are leading the way and these two choices have become a lot more mainstream. If you can’t go the whole hog (no pun intended), become a “flexitarian” - a person who eats a mostly vegetarian diet, occasionally including meat. There are no rules about how often you bite into a burger, but think about going for the veggie option every now and then or even choosing fish.
- Rethink your use of paper
A lot of us are already sorting things into different coloured bins, but why? Recycling reduces the need for extracting, refining and processing raw materials – actions which create substantial air and water pollution. Recycling saves energy, so it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, helping to tackle climate change. Paper is one of the easiest things to recycle. By recycling 2,000 pounds (just over 900,000 kilograms) of paper you can save 17 mature trees. With the world becoming ever more digital, think about whether you even need paper. Tell your bank you want to go paperless so you can receive all communication digitally. If it’s essential for you to use paper, you can still make a difference by buying recycled paper which is more eco-friendly than virgin paper. Then be sure to recycle the paper you do use when you’re done.
- Avoid waste
There are so many areas in which you can cut down on waste. Let’s start with plastic. At the supermarket, buy more loose fruit and veg rather than pre-packaged stuff. Carry your shopping home with canvas bags, which are reusable, rather than plastic bags. Refill your own personal bottle instead of buying plastic bottles of water (the same goes for coffee – plus some coffee shops even offer you a discount for bringing your own cup!). When it comes to saving water, you can cut back on your showers without compromising a fresh smell – just take shorter ones. Why not go a step further and install a low-flow showerhead? Even if you don’t want to drink tap water, an eco-friendly solution is using a water filter that’ll give you water just as good as the type you buy in a bottle. And you can save other people’s “waste” by borrowing instead of buying. Rent movies, get a library card and buy second-hand goods whenever you can.
- Say no to the car
Unfortunately, most cars still burn fossil fuels, meaning they emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that cause air pollution and are bad for the environment. There are lots of alternative ways to get around that are greener. Keep fit and be eco-friendly by cycling. Bicycles don’t pollute at all and take very little looking after. Don’t have your own bike? That’s no problem. Most big cities have bike-sharing options that allow you to get around without having to purchase and maintain your own. Another way to ditch that gym membership is to pound those pavements. If you live in a city, chances are most of what you need is within walking distance. Both cycling and walking demand a comfy pair of shoes, and LOCI sneakers are ideal. If you really must use a car, share the journey with others (carpool). And if you need to buy one, go for a hybrid or electric car.
- Keep it local
Farmers markets and “locally-sourced” on restaurant menus are current trends and for very good reasons. One of the most important ways buying locally helps the environment is by reducing your food miles. Food miles measure the carbon footprint and are the distance food travels from where it is grown to where it is ultimately purchased or eaten. Farmers markets and local fruit and veg shops can also help you say no to the car because they tend to be more accessible than large supermarkets. Because the supermarkets need more space, they are often located out of town with loads of parking for all the cars needed to make the journey. Keeping it local also has a knock-on effect of protecting wildlife. Buying from farmers keeps them in business, so they don’t have to sell their land to developers. This, in turn, protects the natural for whatever wildlife calls that land home.