10 tips to Green Your Lifestyle
August 29, 2008
You don’t have to look at Greening your lifestyle as making drastic changes, or giving up things. Going green is about learning what the best practices are for you and the environment, and finding ways to modify your lifestyle to reduce your environmental impact. There are four major areas you need to look at: housing and heating; transportation; food; and conservation. You need to take a closer look at the way you use natural resources as well as the amount of pollutants and greenhouse gases your daily activity is accountable for to discover the effects of some of your choices.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding where to start. You’ll be surprised to find that even small changes can make a huge impact. You can never underestimate your significance in the “big picture.” If you want to actually measure your impact, there are carbon footprint calculators that can give you a number, in terms of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Your carbon footprint is how much CO2 you are responsible for producing. Strive to lower this number. The David Suzuki Foundation has created David Suzuki’s Nature Challenge to help you start Greening your Lifestyle and improving the impact you have on the environment. Take the challenge. You can even sign up at www.davidsuzuki.org
and join the hundreds of thousands of people who have committed to the challenge. Some Changes will be very easy, others may take some effort. Make one small change a t a time and see if you can reduce your impact. Measure your carbon footprint before and after and see the difference a few modifications in your lifestyle can make. As David Suzuki reminds us, “What we do to nature, we do to ourselves.”
1. Find ways to reduce your home heating and electricity use by 10 percent this year. Energy derived from burning fossil fuels creates greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. Reducing your reliance on resources by either better insulation and a more efficient home, or switching to Green power sources such as wind and solar energy will help you achieve this goal.
2. Choose an energy-efficient home and appliances. Check to see if homes meet R-2000 standards, and check that appliances are ENERGY STAR-approved. The more you can reduce your energy usage, the less your impact will be. Regulating initiatives like R-2000 and ENERGY STAR ensure products are more energy efficient.
3. Replace chemical pesticides on your lawn, garden and houseplants with non-toxic alternatives. By using native plants, you’ll have a garden full of plants that have already adapted to the local environment and will demand less attention and chemicals- from watering in the heat of summer to having a resistance to native animals and insects.
4. Choose at least one day a week to eat meat-free meals in your household. Eating vegetarian options reduces resource demand to raise livestock. Switch to organics, try to eat only wild, not farmed salmon, and be sure you’re not buying endangered fish.
5. Prepare your meals with food from local farmers and producers for one month this year. Minimize the distances food travels takes its toll on the environment in terms of fuel.
6. Check the Canadian Government’s Auto Smart ratings for the next car you intend to buy to make sure it’s fuel-efficient and low polluting. Choose a car that is no larger than what your needs are to avoid unnecessary fuel consumption, and try to choose an energy-efficient model.
7. Walk, bike, carpool or use public transit to get to one of your regular destinations each week. Getting to work on your own power is not only healthier for the environment, but also healthier for you. Public transit also reduces your energy usage.
8. If you are moving, choose a home within a 30 minute bike, walk or transit ride for your daily destinations. Reducing your travel time reduces your fuel consumption and also adds more personal time for you to enjoy life.
9. Support alternatives to the car. Contact your local media or government, urging improved public transit and bike paths. Parking lots waste land. Single passengers in a five or seven passenger car is and obvious waste of resources, yet it’s a very, very common sight.
10. Learn more about conserving nature and share what you’ve learned with family and friends. Each of us can reduce the environmental impact of our homes, food and transportation by consuming wisely.
Article written by Elisa Krovblit
as seen in GREEN HOME clean living