The planet is currently facing catastrophic issues, such as global warming, pollution, and deforestation. It’s more important than ever for people to examine the way they live and make changes that can help the environment.
You might be thinking that one person can’t make a difference, but that’s not true. Your decisions and actions matter and they will impact the planet for better or worse. The choice is yours. If you want to make positive changes and begin living more sustainably, you’ll find a few helpful tips below.
Top Tips to Live Sustainably
Even if you just implement one of these sustainable living tips into your everyday life, you’ll be well on your way to having less of an impact on the earth’s resources. So go on – I challenge you to choose one to start today!
I bet once you realise how easy it is, you’ll come back to see what other changes you can make…
Tips to Conserve Energy At Home
It’s important to conserve energy for two reasons. The more nonrenewable energy people use, such as gas, coal, and oil, the greater the risk that the planet will eventually run out. This particular disaster won’t happen in the next few years, but it’s important to look ahead and take care of future generations, since energy is not only about comfort, but survival.
It’s also important to keep in mind the amount of pollution that occurs when you use nonrenewable energy sources. If you’re of the mindset that what you do doesn’t really affect the world, consider this; the average American has a carbon footprint of 14.95 tons! That’s the highest in the world – and we all need to do our bit to make sure that number goes down to a more sustainable level.
Instead of wasting energy, make changes to lower your carbon footprint every day. Here’s some ideas to get started…
Stop using your dryer.
Yes, you read that right. If you can, air-dry your clothes outside. It might seem like a step back in time, to start hanging your clothes on a clothesline in the sun – but it’s actually the norm in some parts of the world! We’ve just gotten used to the convenience of a dryer.
If you can get out of the habit of using your dryer for every load, you’ll drastically reduce the amount of energy your home consumes each month. Your dryer, apart from your fridge, is the appliance responsible for the greatest energy consumption. Plus, hanging your clothes in the sun helps to brighten greying whites, and lift stubborn stains – bonus!
Use cold water when you wash clothes.
Yes, you can still use your washer. Hooray! But you should use cold water cycles whenever possible. Your washing machine, unlike your dryer, doesn’t require a lot of energy to run. Your washing machine’s energy consumption comes almost exclusively from heating the water (psst – you can even make your own laundry detergent!)
Use LED light bulbs.
Replace the light bulbs in your home with LED bulbs. LED bulbs cost more up front, but they’ll actually save you in the long run since they consume 85 percent less energy and last about 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs.
Use a programmable thermostat.
By switching to a smart, programmable thermostat, you’re able to reduce your HVAC energy consumption by scheduling hours during the day (when you’re at work or sleeping) when the AC or heater doesn’t run as often.
Sustainable Shopping Tips
While you should certainly focus on the energy crisis the world is encountering, you should also pay attention to the amount of single-use plastics that are being used, thrown away, and finding their way into the world’s oceans.
Plastic water bottles, for instance, take over 400 years to decompose, and some can take up to 1000 years to biodegrade. That would be a problem if thousands of bottles made their way to the oceans, but an average 8 million metric tons of plastic makes its way into the sea every year, which means the earth not only has a problem, it has a very big one.
Stop using trash bags.
Or at least, stop using traditional ones. You have two options when it comes to eliminating harmful plastic bags from your home. You can throw your trash directly into the bin and then wash/rinse the bin often, or you can invest in biodegradable, compostable trash bags.
Making this switch will make a huge impact on the environment, since plastic bags take 10-20 years to decompose, and the pollution is spreading to more of the oceans every year. Plastic bags were recently found in the Mariana Trench, which is a depth of 36,000 feet.
Stop drinking from plastic water bottles.
As stated above, they take far too long to decompose, and too many are finding their way into the oceans. The problem doesn’t stop there, however. In fact, bottling the water, shipping it to the grocery stores, and keeping it cold uses up to 2,000 times as much energy as it takes to drink water from the tap.
If you’re concerned about the quality of water, buy a water filter. There are several options that are easy to install beneath your sink.
Reduce deforestation by cutting back on your paper towel and napkin use.
Yes, these are convenient products, but they’re not necessary. You can use reusable cloths (or recycled clothing) to wipe your hands and clean up spills. Find out how to create a paperless kitchen here.
Buy and bring your own shopping bags.
Plastic bags, just like plastic water bottles, continue to find their way into the ocean, where marine creatures mistake them as food. Plastic bags are not biodegradable and cause blockages in the animal’s digestive system. Over time, eating bags proves fatal to the animal. Save lives, literally, by switching to reusable shopping bags.
The next time you go shopping for clothes, pay close attention to the label.
Try building your wardrobe with renewable materials such as wool, linen, and cotton. Clothing that contains polyester, nylon, and spandex are plastic-based.
The next time you’re at the store, look closely at your options, and avoid one-time use items that come in plastic packaging. Buying produce already packaged might be convenient, but the container it comes in is a danger to the earth.
You should also consider ditching the Keurig and using an old fashioned coffee pot instead. Coffee grounds shouldn’t be wrapped in plastic. Just think about how many coffee pods get discarded every day.
Travel is easier now than ever, but the Earth is paying dearly for it. Cars and planes are two of the major contributors to Earth’s greenhouse gasses. It’s impossible to avoid driving and flying all the time, but you should strive to cut back whenever possible.
Take the train.
The next time you plan a long-distance trip, consider taking the train instead of flying. It might take you longer, but you’ll be responsible for considerably less pollution, and you’ll probably get to enjoy stunning views along the way. Plus, there’s a whole lot less waiting around…
Bike whenever you can.
Instead of hopping in your car to go down the road a ways, consider riding your bike or walking. While you need your car for long journeys, it’s not 100 per cent necessary for trips under thirty minutes.
Skip one-day shipping.
Humans have conditioned themselves to expect everything fast, and instant gratification has become an addiction. Between high-speed internet, instant streaming, and Uber eats, there’s not much you can’t get in a short time span. However convenient it is, it comes at a price.
The next time you’re shopping, try buying multiple things from the same site and choose no-rush shipping upon checkout. Doing this might go against your very nature, but you’ll cut back on vehicle emissions since the company will pack all your items together instead of sending them out separately to ensure you get one or two items sooner.
Living a more sustainable life means leaving a few conveniences behind, but it’s so worth it in the long run. Eventually, you’ll adjust to the new way of life and be able to sleep better at night, knowing you’re making a positive change for the planet you call home.