What would you do if somebody came into your house and started destroying it, making it uninhabitable? That is exactly what we are doing to the only home we really have: earth. By living a more eco-friendly life everybody can help stop this destructive process.
Some people think that living green is expensive and impractical. They believe that it means making your home outside the city, buying only costly organic food, driving a hybrid car and spending a small fortune on transforming your house into being energy efficient. Not everybody can afford all these things but there are ways in which every single person on earth can reduce their carbon footprint.
Knowledge is Power
The first step to a greener life is education. It is important to recognize where we are going wrong and putting steps in place to rectify it. The Internet has a vast amount of information available; read, learn and share your knowledge. By joining environmental groups locally or online, you can further share knowledge and get to know other like-minded people.
How you can Make a Difference
Here are a few simple actions everybody should start putting into practice in different areas of their lives.
Around the house
• Change incandescent light bulbs to energy saving bulbs. Although the initial cost is higher, these bulbs last longer and reduce energy bills in the long run.
• Take a shower instead of having a bath to save water and energy used for heating up the water.
• Unplug appliances when not in use. This will also reduce energy bills.
• Make sure the dishwasher or washing machine is full before starting a cycle.
• If you live in the US, use the EPA Carbon Footprint Calculator to estimate your household emissions. This will help you to explore ways of reducing your footprint, and save money.
• Recycle as much as possible.
• Use re-usable shopping bags when you do shopping. This way less plastic bags end up in the landfill, or polluting the environment.
• Buy recycled or recycle-able products as much as possible.
• Walk, cycle, use public transport or join a car pool to get around. This will reduce your carbon footprint.
• If you have to drive, drive slowly, avoid idling too long and use cruise control.
You are what you eat
• Cook enough food, but not too much. Use leftovers for meals the following day or if that is not possible, for compost.
• Eat as much seasonal, local and organic food as possible.
• Can’t afford organic produce? Grow your own. By starting an edible garden, you are not only saving money for food, but also reducing the carbon footprint of the food making its way to the shops and into your home.
• Eat less meat. By eating vegetarian meals you help reduce the massive carbon footprint the meat industry leaves.
• Buy in bulk. This way you use less packaging and save money.
• Bake and cook in bulk. While preparing today’s dinner, put something in for tomorrow to save the energy you would have spent the next day and you also free up some time.
• Eat low on the food chain where possible.
Needless to say, if you have the means to install solar panels, retrofit your home, gather rainwater, buy a hybrid and only eat organic food, wonderful. If not, start implementing these small changes in your life and educating others. Earth is our home and it is the only one we have, let us take care of it.
Image courtesy of Ponsulak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net