The new year is a time for change and resolutions. A lot of people choose to focus on their health whether it be attending a gym or starting a new diet. Why don’t we try to focus on improving the health of our planet this year?
Living an eco-friendly or green lifestyle can be very daunting. You see people like Lauren Singer who is best known for producing so little trash in the past 4 years that it fits in a mason jar. You sit there and think, how on earth is that possible? Singer proved that is its possible to live a zero waste lifestyle which is very good for our planet. But don’t worry, you don’t have to go all out at once but there are baby steps that you can take to reduce your impact on the earth.
A lot of these things we will be discussing are things that I have started doing and some of them I haven’t even completed since the year before. Every little thing counts and over time making eco-friendly choices will become easier and easier. Are you ready? Here are 5 things you can do this year to reduce your impact and start living a greener lifestyle.
1. Stop Buying Plastic
One of the first things you might see when “going green” is the demonizing of plastic. Don’t get me wrong, plastic is pretty bad for the environment but it can be very overwhelming because plastic is literally everywhere and in everything. You don’t have to go through your house and get rid of everything that has plastic in it and immediately replace it. That not only can get expensive but it’s rather wasteful. Use what plastic items you already have until they can’t be used anymore. Stop buying new plastic items especially disposable items such as water bottles, plastic wrap, and baggies.
2. Walk and Bike More
Driving burns a lot of fossil fuel and leaks oil and other fluids onto the streets that later get washed into the environment by the rain. You can help reduce car pollution and the burning of fossil fuels by walking or riding a bike more. It will also help you save money because you won’t have to buy gas as frequently. I know this isn’t possible for everyone because not everyone lives in cities or near their place of work. Do what you can and find those little opportunities to walk instead of drive.
3. Use Reusable Grocery Bags
This does tie in with the purchasing less plastic. Going shopping can use up a lot of plastic bags that then get thrown out. Opt for paper bags when you can since those can be recycled or even better, bring your own bag. Reusable bags will save so much plastic from ending up in the environment and once you start to do it for awhile it will become second nature. Some grocery stores will take plastic bags back to be recycled so if you end up with some plastic bags remember to recycle them.
4. Shop Local
Shop local is one of my mottos. I love to shop local when I can. It not only can help reduce environmental impact but it can also help the local economy. If you are shopping locally you are using less gas and the shops don’t have to use gas to try to sell their products further than their town. A lot of artists will also use local materials which helps reduce emissions.
5. Eat Less Meat
Yes, eating less meat can actually make a difference. And before you or your family members freak out, I’m not telling you to go vegan. Cows produce more emission than synthetic fertilizer or deforestation combines. Other sources of meat also produce emissions but cows lead in the most environmentally impacting source of protein. Try starting with Meatless Mondays and then from there continue reducing your meat consumption to what feels comfortable for you and your family. Reducing your meat consumption will really make a difference and there are a lot of tasty meatless meals out there.
Are you already doing any of these? What are your plans this year to reduce your environmental impact?