‘Go Green’ and you’ll not only help reduce climate change, you’ll also feel healthier, be wealthier and do the next generation a huge favor.
And really, it’s not that difficult to incorporate a few changes into your life on a weekly or monthly basis over time to the extent you probably won’t even notice. Going Green is certainly something to think about considering the huge difference it could make to your immediate surroundings and the planet as a whole, as well as your future offspring. Here are some of those easy changes right here, don’t tell us you couldn’t incorporate some of these into your everyday routine today or tomorrow:
Cut back on energy consumption
- Turning the air conditioning down a couple of degrees in summer and getting used to reducing the heating the same way won’t make that much difference to you but it will to your energy consumption – and your pocket.
- Improving your home insulation (ie lagging in the attic) means your home will be warmer in winter so you won’t even notice that drop in the thermostat control.
- By the same token switching to LED bulbs will use less energy and result in a reduced utility bill over time, while using dimmer switches will result in even more savings.
- Another energy saver is to wash clothes at 30 rather than 40 degrees and dry them the old-fashioned way on the clothesline rather than in a tumble dryer or the dryer programme on the washing machine.
- Cutting back your shower time by five minutes and installing a slow flow showerhead will result in less hot water use.
- Never leave electrics on stand-by as this is using unnecessary energy, and it’s more dangerous than simply switching the item off since it could still trigger a fire.
Eat and drink more sensibly
- Buy a water filter and an aluminium flask to carry the water around in and you can forget about buying bottled water (the plastic containers cause a huge amount of waste for landfill). You’ll also save a fortune.
- Cut back on eating meat. Not only do vegetables taste great and are vitamin and mineral-packed, but when grown organically they’re better for the environment (cows, for instance, produce methane gas which destroys the ozone layer).
- If there’s food you eat a lot of, such as rice, buy it in bulk in order to cut back on packaging.
- Find a guide which covers both nutritional and environmental concerns such as this one from the Environmental Working Group’s Good Food on a Tight Budget. Even your dog can eat healthier and at less cost to this environment.
- Buy second-hand where possible. It’s considerably cheaper, cuts back on landfill waste and reduces the pollution caused by factories producing the goods in the first place. Second hand and vintage clothes shops are everywhere these days while it’s not difficult to find an auction house or thrift shop either. But it’s not just physical shops you should be seeking out. There are lots of huge online stores too, such as Ebay and Craigslist.
- At the same time, donate to these shops rather than throwing clothes, furniture, books and knick knacks in the trash. Instead of throwing old magazines out take them along to the doctors or dentists surgery instead for their waiting rooms.
- Consider borrowing books and movies from your local library rather than buy new.
- Invest in rechargeable batteries so you don’t have to throw them away every so often. It also cuts back on the energy and fuel involved in manufacturing new batteries.
Use fewer toxic chemicals
- Many household cleaners, toiletries and bug sprays can release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, triggering health conditions such as allergies. When washed down the drain they can disrupt hormones in both fish and humans. It’s possible to buy plant-based substitutes or, better still, to make your own using substances in your cupboard such as baking soda, vinegar, olive oil and lemons.
- Also, antibacterial sprays and cleaners aren’t any better than using a ‘standard’ soap or handwash solution, according to the US Food and Drink Administration (FDA). The two common antimicrobial agents in them, triclosan and triclocarban, can contaminate drinking water with the possibility of leading to more resistant germs.
- Instead of perfume, you could start wearing diluted essential oils. Not only will this cut back on chemicals, but also cardboard and plastic packaging.
Go greener in the garden
- Setting up a compost bin means you turn food waste into nutrients for soil and, at the same time, save money on buying it at your local hardware store. It’s not just extremely beneficial for plants and much better than using chemical fertilizers, but it’s also good for your purse. It can also really help when it comes to growing your own fruit and vegetables. Meanwhile, if you need the compost quickly consider adding earthworms to speed up the process.
- Place a water butt to collect rain water and use it to water the garden and grass. You can also use bath tub water and water from the dish washer.
- Plenty of eco-friendly plant pots these days are made with petroleum alternative materials such as rice hulls, wheat straw, peat, paper and coconut fibers. Rice hulls can be broken down and put in a compost heap while wheat straw pots end up being planted along with whatever’s in the pot.
- If you’re looking for lighting up your garden at night then use solar rather than electric lights. That way all the energy is from the sun rather than the national grid.
So, after reading the above have we convinced you to throw away those store cards in your pocket book and seek out thrift shops instead? Or maybe you’re planning on doing a little gardening this weekend? Whatever ‘Green’ moves you make this weekend, rest assured you’re doing everyone – including yourself – a big favour.
Controlling household pests without chemical pesticides:
Save cash by cutting back on energy at home:
How to make your own household cleaners using only natural ingredients:
How to get a ‘greener’ garden:
Make your bathroom eco-friendly with these ‘green’ tips:
Why buying second hand goods is a great (and ‘green’) idea: