If we want to live in prosperity today and in the future and ensure it also for further generations, then we must make responsible and sustainable decisions. Every day we all can make the right choices to reduce our environmental footprint. There are simple steps we can each take to make our daily lives more sustainable. Because we all know that climate change, global warming, depletion of ozone layer and resource depletion are real and their impact on human and animal lives can be devasting.
Simple measures like using public transportation more often, reducing energy consumption, becoming more eco-friendly can go a long way in reducing your environmental impact and making this planet a clean and safe place.
Want to start practicing sustainable living? It is easier than you think. Here are 10 simple steps to get you started.
1. 'Buy Less. Choose well.' - Vivienne Westwood
It does not mean living without anything, but we should consciously try to buy less or make some important changes to our shopping patterns. Every product we purchase has an environmental footprint, from the materials used to create it, to the pollution emitted during manufacturing, to the packaging that ends up in landfills. So before you buy, ask yourself if you really need it. If you do, look for minimal packaging. Just make sure that everything you own and use is put to its maximum purpose.
2. Ditch the plastic
Sadly fact is that one million plastic bags are handed out every minute across the world and plastic never goes away. As you know billions of kg of plastic can be found in swirling convergences making up about 40% of the world's ocean surfaces. Unfortunately every year thousands of marine mammals such as sea turtles or seals for example are killed after ingesting plastic or getting tangled up in it. So when shopping always bring reusable bags, ditch one-time use water bottles and avoid products made from or packaged in plastic whenever possible.
3. Change the lights in your house
Change your traditional light bulbs to energy-saving CFL. You will reduce your demand on energy resources significantly. Additionally try to avoid to leave the lights on in rooms that you are not using.
4. Renewable Energy
We think fossil fuel is very last century. Kicking the fossil fuel habit is critical to saving wildlife, slowing climate change and protecting our lands and waters. If your state allows you to pick your electricity supplier, use a green-e certified company that generates at least half its power from wind, solar and other clean sources. Most of the electricity supplier companies help you to make the change from the old electricity supplier to the new one very easy.
5. Walk, bike or car-pool to work
Whenever possible walk, bike, car-pool or use public transportation and combine errands to make fewer trips. Inflating your car tires and driving slower will all help you save gas when driving is necessary. The less personal use of your car you do, the more you and the environment will benefit. Sustainable living not only promotes sustainability by reducing pollution and the consumption of natural resource; walking or biking to work will also improve your health and reduce the strain on public health resources.
6. Change your washing habits
The truth is that we all wash too much! Not only has science discovered that our over emphasis on being clean has reduced our natural immune resistance to diseases, but each person wastes tremendous amounts of water when they bath, wash dishes or do laundry. Try to take short showers, wash dishes in a sink of water and then rinse them and cut down on the amount of laundry that you do.
7. Please no advertising
This is truly a very simple step towards sustainability. To stop getting unaddressed advertising, simply put a note on your mailbox stating that you do not wish to receive advertising. Place the note on your mailbox. Why is that helping my environmental footprint? In Germany for example we use almost 19 million tons of paper yearly. For comparison; Africa and South America use that amount together. The high demand on paper is also lead back to the undesirable advertising. Between 85% and 90% of the unaddressed advertising ends up in the garbage without being read.
8. Unplug device when not in use
A lot of people do not know that most of the electronic devices keep on drawing electricity even when they are off. To reduce energy usage, simply pull the plug when not in use. It will help you to save energy and reduce your monthly electricity bill. So next time you have charged your phone pull out the plug!
9. Think about what you eat
The way we eat has a massive impact of our planet. One of the most effective choices would be to reduce your meat and diary consumption. And the answer to your question is no; you do not have to become a vegetarian, well if you want to its fine, but in this case you need to take extra care about your diary consumption. Besides that try to avoid food waste as much as you can. An alarming 30% of the food we buy in shops ends up in the bin or landfill. Try to plan your shopping and your meals carefully. Prefer to buy food that is both local and seasonal and support imported products certified by schemes like Fair-trade, whenever possible. Again, do not forget your reusable bag for grocery shopping.
10. Educate your kids eco- conscious
Well, this is for sure not a simple step, but will make a big change. We think raising our children to be healthy and aware of the environment is crucial. Be a role model with your actions and talk about the choices you make. Don't nag or lecture, but instead make it interesting and interactive.
'A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.' – John James Audubon