Making the shift towards an environmentally-friendly lifestyle can help improve your health and life overall, and it’s also a major boost to the world around you. Ditching unnecessary chemicals, unhealthy foods, unfriendly Earth practices, and bad habits/routines can all add together to make an altogether healthier you, whilst boosting the environment and ecosystem. Wherever you are in the world, the following 20 tips are all achievable endeavours. Some of them are even great fun! So indulge yourselves whilst we all fight for a Greener future.
1. Save Energy
One of the most direct steps you can take to reduce the impact your lifestyle has on the environment is reducing the amount of energy that you use in your home. Along with making your home greener, saving energy has real, tangible benefits on your life in that it can save you money. Although some energy-saving techniques require some initial financial outlay, in the long-term the money you save can really add up.
Some energy-saving home improvements you could consider include the following:
- Use low energy light bulbs: Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) save energy and money – typically they use one-third to one-fifth electricity compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, and last eight to fifteen times longer. This is a no-brainer – get them fitted today!
- Switch off appliances when they are not in use: Leaving electric items such as computers, audio-visual equipment, and kitchen appliances on “standby” uses electricity. If you are not using these appliances, you should switch them off completely.
- Unplug your charger when your phone, laptop or tablet is fully charged: Similarly, when your phone is fully charged, unplug the charger to conserve power.
- Insulate your home: Insulating your home properly can make heating much more efficient. Some local authorities offer insulation schemes so it is worthwhile to take the time to investigate whether you are eligible for free home insulation.
- Lower your thermostat: Reducing the temperature on your heating system’s thermostat by a few degrees will, over the course of a year, reduce the amount of energy and money you spend on heating.
- Wash your clothes at low temperatures: Much of the energy used in washing laundry is expended on heating the water, so always opt for a lower temperature when possible.
- Line-dry laundry: Tumble drying clothes uses large amounts of electricity, so use a washing line or drying rack to dry your laundry more naturally.
- Cover pans when cooking: Whenever you cook on the hob, always try to cover the pans – this reduces the amount of energy that escapes from open pans, plus the amount of time it takes to heat up food and boil water.
2. Save Water
Saving water around the home is another way to reduce the environmental impact of your lifestyle and, as with reducing energy usage, can save you plenty of money.
- Use short cycles for washing clothes: Modern washing machines have an “Eco Wash” option you should take full advantage of.
- Fix leaks: Ensuring there are no leaks in your plumbing system – including pipes, taps, toilet cisterns – helps prevent unnecessary water wastage.
- Take short showers: Hot showers are an incredible luxury, so don’t waste this by spending far too long in the shower.
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth: An often-forgotten habit that wastes litres of water. Turn off the tap.
- Install tap aerators on all your taps: Aerators are cheap additions to the end of taps that reduce the flow of water while improving the pressure of a tap’s stream.
- Install a low-flow shower head: Low-flow shower heads work in a similar way to tap aerators – aerating the stream of water, improving pressure and saving plenty of water and energy.
- Boil only as much water as you require: Tea and coffee drinkers can help here! Be careful with those kettles.
3. Cut Down on Fuel
Whenever possible, avoid driving in a car. Local journeys can be made by walking or cycling, and always look for public transport routes when travelling further.
Obviously, these options are not available to everyone depending on personal circumstances, but cycling and walking will keep you active and help the local environment.
4. Share Car Rides
Following on from point 3, if you have to travel by car, investigate the possibilities for carpooling with friends and neighbours, sharing journeys for work and leisure, thus reducing the number of cars on the roads. Many busy offices actively promote such schemes so ask around to see if you can take advantage of this.
5. Go Organic
The food we consume has a profound effect on the global environment – as the world’s population grows, the demand for food increases and the strain on ecologies and habitats increases. The issues around food production, supply, and consumption are extremely complex, but there are some considerations that could help reduce the environmental impact of what you eat while also offering a healthy lifestyle include:
- Choose local, seasonal produce.
- If you eat meat, reduce the number of meals containing meat you eat each week.
- If you eat fish, choose sustainably-sourced species and fishing methods.
- Try and avoid fish contaminated with mercury (the result of industrial pollution) – you can use the Natural Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) guide to help you along.
- Avoid food with unnecessary packaging, as this just leads to additional, unnecessary rubbish for your bin.
- Always look for sustainable, fair-trade, environmentally-friendly food, as this helps the economy.