It’s easy to get caught up in the consumerism craze of the holiday season, but all that excess takes its toll on the environment year after year. Start your year off on the right foot by learning to live a little more naturally every day. With minimal effort, you can start living greener on a daily basis, and actually start saving money too!
According to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA), “Green living means making sustainable choices about what we eat, how we travel, what we buy, and how we use and dispose of it.” The average American uses the resources of over 22 acres of land. But of course, there’s not enough surface area on planet Earth to sustain that amount of resources for a global population.
Here are a few simple ways to do your part for the environment and be responsible citizen of the world:
Whenever possible, buy local, organic food. Buying organic eliminates the risk of petrochemical-based fertilizers and pesticides that harm human health and the environment. Buying local reduces fuel costs for shipping and supports jobs in your community. Don’t forget to bring thsoe reusable shopping bags to the grocery store! Consider planting an organic garden in your own backyard, and start a compose pile instead of tossing out useful vegetable scraps.
Bypass the chemical cleaner aisle and start making your own all-natural cleaning products at home. If you simply don’t have time for that, there are plenty of safe, all-natural cleaning products on the market for purchase. Make the switch to natural beauty products, for your hair, skin, and nails to reap the benefits of Mother Nature without the side effects of harsh chemical compounds.
Make the switch to energy-efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems to preserve energy and save on your bills. Promptly fix leaky toilets and faucets to avoid wasting water resources, and only run the shower for as long as you need to. Consider turning off your hot water heater when you leave for vacation, and unplug your electronic devices to save energy when you’re not using them.
If your job allows it, consider telecommuting to save on gas emissions and transportation costs. It may even help you spend more time at home with your family! If you must drive, start practicing eco-friendly driving habits like avoiding sudden acceleration, wasteful idling, improperly inflated tires, and excess weight in the trunk. Carpooling is always a great option too.
If you’re still a little weary about switching up your normal routines, start by taking the EPA’s Household Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator survey. This way, you can get a ballpark estimate of your family’s carbon footprint and learn about actions you can take to lessen your overall environmental impact. To learn about even more ways to live greener everyday, check out Diane Gow McDilda’s book, 365 Ways to Live Green: Your Everyday Guide to Saving the Environment.