Our health depends on the health of our planet. And likewise, the health of our planet depends on the choices that we all make.
That’s why it’s important for all of us to look for ways to be more eco-friendly in our day-to-day lives. For some ideas to get you started living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, check out these simple tips.
1. Reduce Your Meat Consumption
About 30% of the earth’s landmass is used to raise livestock or to grow feed to support them. And that hefty figure is not without consequence.
A U.N. special report singles out livestock industries as a significant driver of climate change and land degradation. Tropical rainforests, some of the planet’s biggest carbon sinks, are particularly vulnerable to being cleared for ranching.
Reducing meat consumption across the board is a crucial step towards mitigating the deleterious effects of raising livestock.
2. Turn That Lawn Into a Garden
Closer to home, one environmental drain we could all do without is a grass lawn.
According to the EPA, 30 to 60 percent of urban fresh water is used for watering lawns. And because of poor timing and management, a lot of that water evaporates before it sinks into the ground anyway, making it a bigger waste than it already was.
Not only that, but the fertilizers suburban lawns need to thrive a heavy toll of fossil fuels to produce. And those are often washed away by rain, making their way to natural waterways where they cause deadly algae blooms.
In short, lawns are a mess.
It would be better to use that space to grow a home garden. Depending on the crops you select they’re often less labor and resource-intensive than maintaining a lawn. And the produce you harvest will make the expense far more worthwhile than a sheet of grass.
3. Start a Compost Bin for Food Waste
Composting has become a trendy way to reduce waste over the last few years.
And it couldn’t have happened soon enough. Americans waste some 108 billion pounds of food every year. By composting your waste instead of tossing it out, you can help put a dent in that figure and feed your garden at the same time.
4. Go Solar
The biggest challenge facing the environment at the present is the looming specter of climate change. This is a global problem that will take a global effort to resolve. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t actions we can take to reduce our individual impact.
Solar energy is more accessible now than at any point in history. And the ways in which solar benefits the environment and your wallet are well documented.
Making the move to solar is an investment, and the sooner you make that jump the greater the dividends you will be able to reap.
5. Make Your Home Energy Efficient
Even after investing in solar, there’s no reason to waste electricity if you can avoid it. After all, excess power from your panels can either be stored for later or sent out onto the grid, further reducing fossil fuel consumption and sometimes even earning you a rebate from the utility provider.
Lighting your home with energy-efficient CFL bulbs can be a great way to start. And investing in energy-efficient casement windows can help reduce your power consumption further.
6. Ditch the Fast Fashion for Second-Hand
You might have heard the phrase “fast fashion” come up in conversation lately. It describes the business model of producing cheap replicas of high-end designs for mass consumption.
While that doesn’t sound so bad, the garments in question are of low quality and soon fall apart. They’re only a step above disposable and are a huge source of waste.
For the same cost, you could buy quality-made secondhand goods, giving them a second life while not contributing to wasteful business practices.
There Are Plenty of Ways to Be More Eco-Friendly
Caring for the environment is a collective responsibility. And while major policy decisions are the most important factor in securing the health of our world, we as individuals can do our part to help affect change in our communities.
And those efforts start in the home.
Using these ways to be more eco-friendly as a foundation, we can all start working toward making an eco-friendly lifestyle the norm, and not the exception.
But these tips are only the beginning. For more on how small actions can make big differences, be sure to keep up with all our latest lifestyle guides.