Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is difficult as our whole existence is basically eco antagonistic. Humanity has evolved by using processes that are destructive and harmful to the planet and ourselves. We have produced products that are dangerous and detrimental to our health and safety. Unfortunately, the majority of us are tied into this system just by living our daily lives. Fortunately, more and more people are becoming aware of this and are trying, in their own small way, to halt or at least slow down the rise of pollution in some way by trying to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Why is being Eco-friendly Important?
Becoming eco-friendly is important because pollution and harmful practises, in all their different forms, won’t just go away. These are already affecting millions of people all over the world. The problems are here to stay, but with a concerted effort, we can mitigate or limit the harmful effects. Pollution doesn’t only affect our own lives, but also affect the lives of our children and theirs too. We are leaving further generations a legacy of harm. By living a more eco-friendly lifestyle we are not only helping each other, but those of the future too. As members of the first world, we are the greatest polluters and it is up to us to set an example for others to follow. It is up to us to switch to an eco-friendly lifestyle.
How to Live an Eco-friendly Lifestyle
There are different things people can do to reduce their carbon footprint on the world. Things that may not seem to have a great immediate impact, but these practises, if wide-spread, will over time, have a cumulative effect. Governments drag their feet and only bow to great pressure when confronted with this issue, so it is down to the individual to make eco-friendly changes and take different lifestyle choices. Look for natural, not manufactured or processed products, to buy. Think a little about how something is made and its source. Does it come from a sustainable source? Is it biodegradable? Is there a better alternative or less harmful product to use? With these simple questions you can start to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
1. Eat Less Meat
Cows take up a great deal of room. If the grazing areas for cattle were used for crops instead, those areas would be much more productive. The by-product of their feeding is the expelling of methane gas. With the vast herds of cattle on the planet methane gas is now rising to dangerous levels. Also, too much red meat can cause health problems. No one is saying you have to become a strict vegetarian, but eating less meat and more vegetables will certainly help.
2. Grow Your Own Vegetables At Home
This is not only a good way to save money and reducing your dependence on others, but in a small way, also reduce the effects of agroindustry. It’s possible to use any piece of open ground, gardens and even window boxes. This is one way to go green at home. Growing your own vegetables will also ensure that they aren’t saturated with harmful pesticides. It can also give you a sense of fulfilment.
3. Homemade Meals
Don’t buy pre-packed or frozen meals. Reduce your reliance on canned goods. Use fresh, organically grown produce.
Instead of buying ready-made fixtures and furnishings, try building them yourself. Repair instead of throwing out and buying new.
5. Use Paper Less and Recycle More
Less use of paper reduces the market demand for it. In effect, less trees are felled for the pulping process. Use the digital option instead. Now all sorts of traditionally paper based writing can be done electronically. Christmas and birthday cards are very nice to get, but are they really necessary? Make a conscious effort to recycle whatever you can, especially plastic. If you can’t think of another use for it, then make sure it goes into a recycle bin. Before we became a throwaway society, most things had a recycled use, let’s get back to that.
6. Purchase the Right Lightbulb
The generation of electricity is one of the greatest polluters. Reduce your own demand for this resource by buying low wattage and longer lasting lightbulbs. Change from incandescent to fluorescent bulbs. In closets and storage spaces LED lights will serve just as well.
7. Start a Compost Pile or Bin
If you are a gardener or are growing your own vegetables, then a compost heap will come in handy. It’s using waste food product in a positive fashion instead of it being buried in a landfill or dump site. Worms are usually found in compose heaps and when spread around, will help improve the health of your garden. It is a great way to recycle food waste and your reliance on industrially manufactured products that may harbour harmful chemicals.
8. Choose Cloth over Paper
Many supermarkets and other commercial outlets have already turned away from plastic in favour of the old traditional paper bag or wrappings. Paper is good and it can be reused, but you can go one step further and use cloth bags. They last for years and don’t need to be continually replaced. You can try wrapping presents in cloth too.
9. Cut Down on Energy in Your Home
Along with choosing the right lightbulb to use, you can also reduce your bills and help lower the overall demand on energy by reducing the amount of appliances you use and unplugging those that aren’t in use. Shorter showers, less use of air conditioners, lower settings on central heating, will all help. Switching to gas for cooking may be cheaper. Extra blankets on the beds and warmer clothing for indoor use during the winter months will help you lower your thermostat settings. Make a conscious effort to remember to turn off lights that aren’t in use. This is a particular problem that parents have with children. They wander from room to room, putting on lights and then forget to turn them off again. Train your children to be more energy conscious.
10. Borrow Instead of Buying
Sometimes you have to do something around the house, but you don’t have the correct tool or appliance. The first thing you think of is going to a store to buy what you need. That is fine, if the item is something you will use continuously, but if not, it’s a waste. It sits in your garage, workshop or closet gathering dust for years. Trying borrowing what you need from a friend or neighbour. Both men and women can set up mutual help groups among neighbours and agree to lend and borrow. There’s always someone that has the necessary item that you need. Not only tools and appliances can be borrowed, you can include, books, CDs, DVDs and even clothes.
11. Reduce Waste Water
World-wide, water is becoming a precious resource. Do your part by reducing your use of it. Not all of us need to take continuous showers. Not everyone does such dirty work that it is necessary every day. You can cut back on them and encourage the rest of the family to do so too. Changing to a low pressure showerhead will also help. Waste washing up can be used again on your garden and reduce the need for using a hose. Instead of just pulling the sink plug and watching it drain away, you can use a bowl and then put it on your plants or vegetables. It’s not necessary to wash the car every Sunday either, if you do, use a container of water, not a hose. Many health conscious people buy bottled water. A better option is to buy a water filter and fill up containers when you wish to go out. There are many different types and sizes of these filters and it’s easy to find one that fits your needs. Water companies are taking millions and millions gallons a day of this natural and supposedly free resource and then bottling it to sell back to us. One time use plastic water bottles have become a plague all over the world.
12. Recycling a Car
Another way to have a greener lifestyle is to recycle your car. Instead of trading it in and exchanging it for the most recent model, you can recycle the different parts by yourself and make a bit of money too. Many parts of a car can be reused. Nowadays recycling cars has gone beyond the old scrapyard, where serviceable parts can be sold, reused and the rest goes for scrap. A whole industry has sprung up around the serious effort to reuse the valuable parts of a vehicle. Batteries are probably the number one recycled product. The oil in the motor, which can be a deadly contaminant, can be reprocessed and reused. Old tyres now have a second life and can be used in different forms, not just as re-treads. Sell your catalytic converter to a company that reprocesses them, they contain the precious metals palladium and platinum. Remove the glass from your car, it can be sold too. Other valuable metals can be found in different car parts and can be sold, it’s just a matter of a bit of effort and research to find the commercial buyers.