How to Start Living Greener
A Guest Post by Sarah Kearns
Climate change and global warming are hot topics right now, in part because of the serious implications. While politicians and world leaders argue over who is responsible and how it should be handled, many people are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress being made. We often want to help but feel powerless to enact meaningful change. But many people don’t realize that there are simple things that you can do every day to live a greener life, that doesn’t have to drastically alter your lifestyle.
Ditching disposable prepackaged water in favour of a reusable water bottle is one of the easiest changes that you can make. It will not only have a positive impact on the environment, it might help have a positive impact on your wallet as well. You can even take it a step further and decide against purchasing any bottled or canned drinks, which will most likely have a positive impact on your health as well.
One of the largest problems plaguing the environment today is that of plastic grocery bags. They are killing marine animals, trapping birds, and otherwise wreaking havoc. Just decide to stop using them, and stick to it. There are plenty of alternatives from buying totes, to making your own with old t-shirts. Great way to upcycle clothing that you can’t wear anymore!
Simplify Your Cleaning
How many different cleaning products do you have under your kitchen sink? Do you really need a tub and tile cleaner, a toilet bowl cleaner, an all-purpose cleaner, or any of the others? Many people don’t realize that most household chores can be done with only one or two products- the rest is just marketing and advertising gimmicks. With just an all-natural castile soap and baking soda, and you can take care of almost all of your cleaning needs.
If you happen to live in an urban or suburban environment, consider ditching your car in favour of more eco-friendly alternatives. Public transportation options abound, bicycles can get you many places you need to go, and ride-sharing apps can help you meet almost any immediate need for a car within minutes. You’ll lose the car payment and the insurance payment, and won’t be spending too much money on gas. On the rare occasions where you just need to get something right away, you can consider using a bicycle courier service like Zoom2u to run your errand and deliver it directly to your door!
Embrace the “Sharing Economy”
In addition to ride-sharing, the internet and mobile devices have brought people together to help reuse and upcycle their gently used items. Need a new sofa? Instead of going and buying a new one and having it shipped across the country to you, pop onto a neighbourhood site and see if there is one available locally that someone is no longer using. You can literally save thousands of dollars each year this way while infusing money back into your community and reducing the environmental impacts of freight shipping.
There are plenty of options available for reducing your energy usage at home or at the office. Upgrading to programmable thermostats and LED light bulbs can make a huge difference in your yearly energy bills. Dimmer switches installed for overhead lighting can reduce your energy bill and soften the lighting in your house in the evenings, which can help reset your natural circadian rhythm. Minor changes to your habits and upgrading items to more energy efficient modes as they are replaced can have a drastic impact on your home energy usage.
Remember that you don’t have to radically change your habits or alter your lifestyle to make a difference. Every step you take towards green living is a positive one, no matter how small. As these changes become habits, you can research new ways to help reduce your carbon footprint, without breaking the bank or giving up the things you love.
Sarah Kearns is a hardworking mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, an online resource for information about businesses in the UK. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.