Climate change is real. From the North Pole to the South Pole, we have seen that the world is heating up at dangerous levels. The oceans are warming, the ice caps are melting, and natural calamities have been worsening. Every year, it feels like the effects of climate change continue to get worse, despite the Paris Agreement of 2015.
We live in a world of cause and effect, and many of humanity’s choices have led us to this moment. While it’s true that climate justice must start with the world’s largest corporations and first-world governments, our individual choices as consumers can also contribute greatly to saving the planet. It may feel like a waste as one person can’t fully change the world, but added all together, our actions can help reduce our collective carbon footprint.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the idea of switching to a completely green lifestyle, here are a few simple changes you can make. There’s no better time to implement a few lifestyle changes than at a time when we’re forced to stay home.
- Ditch the curtains and use natural light as much as possible.
- Turn off and unplug all appliances and chargers when not in use.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
- Use water-conserving devices for your shower and faucets.
- Turn off all devices-including your WiFi device-before you go to bed.
- Switch to LED bulbs. They are energy-efficient and last longer than regular bulbs.
- Choose energy-efficient appliances.
- Hand wash your clothes instead of using the washing machine.
- Hang your freshly-washed clothes on a rack to dry instead of using the dryer.
- Don’t leave the lights on when you leave the room or the house.
- Find leaks in your faucets and sinks and fix them.
- Choose thermal curtains, wallpapers, and other economical design options.Keeping your home properly insulated allows you to keep the thermostat down.
- Opt for natural cleaning products. Those that use harsher chemicals can emanate toxins that pollute the air and can trigger respiratory illnesses. Better yet, make your own disinfectants with baking soda and diluted vinegar.
- Go paperless.
- Buy a pre-loved bicycle and use it everywhere.
- Take a train if possible-it’s considered one of the most eco-friendly ways of traveling.
- Consider letting go of your vehicle for good and opt for regular car rental if you need to drive far.
Food consumption and shopping
- Plan meals in advance-know what leftover food you will be able to save for future meals.
- Opt for products that use green packaging.
- Support companies that value sustainability.
- Lessen your food waste by learning how to preserve them. There are many methods for preserving food to reduce waste.
- Unclutter your fridge. An overly stocked fridge can contribute to more food waste.
- Save leftovers and find a way to incorporate them into new meals.
- Save seeds. Some types, like pumpkin, can be eaten, while other seeds from fresh produce can be planted.
- Bring reusable shopping bags and refuse paper bags and plastic bags from the store.
- Opt for milk sold in glass bottles.
- Use reusable water bottles.
- Shop at your neighborhood stores or local farmer’s market.
- Go digital on your bills.
- Prepare homecooked meals instead of opting for take-out.
- Stop asking for disposable straws and other cutlery.
- Use washable cloth face masks that meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) standards.
- Purchase only what you need. Don’t give in to panic buying.
- Purchase from thrift stores and other secondhand or pre-loved establishments.
- Consider the option of going minimalist.
- Stock your closet with classic and durable items that can last you a long time.
- Support local brands and those that value ethical production.
- Learn basic sewing and re-purpose old clothes into throw pillows, curtains, and others.
- Donate your old clothes to women’s shelters.
- Opt for brands that make use of sustainable textiles and fabrics.
Other sustainable lifestyle choices
- Plant a tree outside with a friend.
- Go digital on all your favorite subscriptions, journals, and magazines to reduce paper usage.
- If you’re looking for a pet, adopt; don’t shop.
- Borrow books from the library instead of buying copies.
- If you have a baby, switch to cloth diapers.
- Use menstrual cups.
- Talk to your friends and family about the value of sustainable living. Do it kindly! The only way to influence people to do good is by being kind about it.
A Daunting Task
Living sustainably may seem like a daunting task, but it’s something we need to do to help save the planet. Not only are we doing our part to help the world in small ways, but going green also helps us cut down the cost of our bills and purchases. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
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