We humans have been destroying our own precious habitat for centuries now. The smog that hangs over our cities is visible from outer space, as are the islands of man-made junk that float in our oceans. As young activists like Greta Thunberg have been imploring us, it is high time we take action before it is too late to reverse the damage done for generations to come. Fortunately, going green has never been simpler and here we have listed five steps you can personally action:
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t use the kind of energy sources that damage our environment at all in order to go about our daily lives. Realistically speaking, this just isn’t a practical option but there are still lots of ways to significantly reduce your energy consumption. Simply switching off your electrical devices such as your mobile phone, computer monitor and TV screen rather than leaving them on standby can make a big dent in your energy bill. Likewise, as eco-writer Louise Dewey at 1 Day 2 write and Writemyx says, “choosing to set your washing machine to colder washing cycles and skipping the tumble-dryer in favor of line-drying your clothes can drastically reduce your household’s electrical consumption.” Another top trick is investing in effective insulation for your home. This packs a serious punch for the planet, keeping you warmer in winter and cooler in summer without having to crank up the heating or the air-con.
As Lifestyle blogger Martina Agnello of Brit Student and Next Coursework is quick to remind us in her latest piece, “minimalism is no longer a fashion fad reserved for high end interior design magazines. For the eco-conscious consumer, the less is more look is one trend that’s here to stay.” By reducing the amount of new products you purchase, you are reducing the amount of energy required to create and transport them, as well as saving yourself needless clutter and expense! Furthermore, when you do make new purchases, go for quality items that will last and make sure that the products you are using are as efficient as possible. Light your home with LED bulbs, and if you’re investing in a new laptop or car, consider purchasing an eco-friendly option such as an electric Tesla.
The ever-growing mountains of unwanted goods that we thoughtlessly throw into landfill release huge quantities of harmful gases into the air, as well as polluting our soil and our seas. Think twice before you throw old objects away, and consider whether you can mend or repurpose them first. If you can’t, then check online for ways to recycle different materials or for extra brownie points, find places where you can donate things like old clothes and shoes for people in need at homeless shelters or refugee camps.
Our appetite for independent travel is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions. While there are obvious tactics that many cities already employ by incorporating a greater variety of public transport options into their infrastructure and championing schemes such a rentable bicycles, there are also some lesser known options for reducing fuel consumption. Ordering your food shop online with delivery to your doorstep may seem like a lazy man’s luxury, but it actually means that only one grocery van does a round trip to your neighborhood rather than many individuals making single trips. Making the effort to shop locally can also make a huge difference to your food miles and support small businesses too.
Read the label! When you do make purchases, it’s important to choose products that don’t harm the environment. Seek out cleaning products that don’t pollute our waters (and our bodies) with the chemicals that they contain. Likewise, use personal hygiene products such as shampoos and toothpastes that don’t contain micro-plastics which build up over time in our oceans. Avoid disposable products like plastic straws and cutlery, and buy furniture and clothes from the thrift shop, which thanks to a hit song from Macklemore, has never been so cool.
So what are you waiting for? You can start by switching off the device you are reading this from as soon as you’ve finished!
Michael Dehoyos blogs about traveling, writes for Origin Writings and edits for Phd Kingdom and Write my literature review amongst other sites and publications. He also stays busy helping companies develop winning marketing strategies.
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