We all want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, but it’s not something that can be achieved overnight. People have so many misconceptions about what it means to be green, and human nature is such that it is easier to find a reason not to do something than to do it, from “it’s too expensive” to “it’s too inconvenient.”
American journalist Dan Goldman described it best: “Green is a process, not a state. We should think of “green” as a verb, not an adjective.” After you start making a conscious decision to “live in a green way”, everything falls into place.
When you come to the mindset that everything you do affects the environment, you want to do things that leave a positive footprint. However, living green is much more than just sorting out your household waste into plastic, paper or cans.
Being environmentally friendly literally means maintaining a planetary-conscious lifestyle from the moment you wake up in the morning to the time you go to bed at night. Here are some easy ways you and your family can enjoy a green life:
- Planting a garden. It is not a new trend to grow your own food. However, when you can enjoy your own produce, it’s like printing your own money, and it invariably tastes so much better!
- Reduce car journeys. When you walk or cycle, you can enjoy fresh air and actually give your body some much-needed exercise. Another option is public transport. Driving fanatics are quick to dismiss it as inconvenient without even checking out the options, but that’s a perfect example of the attitude we were talking about earlier.
- Ditch the plastic. Plastic products are filled with all kinds of chemicals and take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Researches have daily debates about the safety of plastic food boxes when we use them in a microwave oven, for example. The better alternative is to use glassware that is healthier and lasts longer.
- Cold water. Wash your laundry in cold water whenever possible. It might sound, but if you can stand it, you can also lower the temperature while having your shower or bath. Most of the energy consumption is associated with hot water heaters. Aside from that, some doctors suggest that cold showers can be great for your health.
- Recycle your electronics. Just contact your nearest recycling centre or electronics store and arrange for the return of unnecessary and electronic equipment. You also can use remanufactured products instead. For example, consumables for your printer, such as printer ink cartridges.
- Turn off everything. If it lights up when it is on standby, it is using electricity. And don’t forget about not running water unless it’s needed, too.
- Use a programmable thermostat. These gadgets are great to help you save energy and your money as they regulate the temperature throughout summer and winter with energy efficiency as the primary objective.
- Organic materials. Buying furniture made from organic materials, paint with low or zero level of fumes, and buying these second hand is a great way to live green.
Remember, there is no hurry to go green all at once by making dramatic wholesale changes. You can, for example, upgrade one room at a time, perhaps by replacing the kitchen appliances one year, switching to LED lighting the next and so on. That way, you are investing in a new technology that will pay you back with energy savings. And every step you take contributes to reducing your carbon footprint.