Despite what many people believe, our planet is faced with an environmental emergency that is rapidly paving the way for a harsh reality for our future generations. We already see the impacts of this crisis in the record-breaking number of natural disasters and ever-changing climate. Rather than wait for industry leaders and bureaucrats to put their personal profits and interests to the side for the good of all, we must take action now.
Every human has what is called a carbon footprint. The carbon footprint is a calculation that quantifies the approximate amount of greenhouse gas emissions each individual is responsible for. Reducing the actions that result in the release of greenhouse gases is what we call “going green.” In this guide, ‘6 Different Ways to be ‘Green’ in a Materialistic World,’ will give you a game plan to get you started on the road to eco-friendliness.
1. Reduce Paper Use
According to the EPA, 28% of all waste comes from paper products. Often, people use paper products and discard them without a single thought about the effect that the use and disposal of those products have on the environment. They simply don’t account for the trees destroyed, the fuel used in every step of the process, and the waste that has to be dealt with after they discard their paper items.
By looking at how we can replace or cease to use paper when it is not necessary, we are taking a huge step towards sustainability. Using cloth paper towels and opting to have digital statements and bills sent instead of paper, are powerful ways to begin being green.
2. Make Your Own Cleaning Products
If your family is like most, you likely have enough poisons under your kitchen sink to kill half of your neighborhood. Cleaning products have traditionally been made from chemicals that are toxic to humans and animals. Eliminating these harmful products from our homes and replacing them with natural alternatives is rewarding and helps make our homes and planet much safer.
Nature is full of ingredients that both kill germs and leave us with a wonderful smelling abode. There are many variations of cleaners that can be produced from natural ingredients. A good all-purpose cleaning solution can be made by mixing water, vinegar, and essential oils like lemongrass, tea tree oil, eucalyptus.
3. Purchase Efficient Products
Being cognizant of the efficiency—or lack thereof—regarding the products we purchase is a significant step in the right direction. In most industries, they have come up with ratings and designations that indicate the efficiency of products in those sectors.
For instance, an automobile is rated by its fuel efficiency and carbon emissions. Similarly, electronics have EnergyStar ratings that show products have been deemed more sustainable. Even window manufacturers have Low-E windows that reduce the emissivity of the glass to keep consistent temperatures in the home. What we see is that the little things add up when we are looking to reduce our carbon footprints.
4. Reusable Water Bottles
Did you know that the markup on tap water is 280,000% when it is bottled? A majority of the bottled water consists of tap water that undergoes a filtration process. Investing in an inexpensive water filter and using a reusable water bottle will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the years to come.
Recycling is the initial green effort that everyone is familiar with. The concept is simple; by reusing material to produce new products, we can reduce our carbon footprints. The waste industry has implemented recycling programs around the country that let families participate in recycling by separating their aluminum and plastic waste. Find out the protocols for your local recycling program.
6. Spread the Word
Information is key in this mission for a greener world. The contradicting messages about climate change have a large percentage of people confused. Help your family and friends understand their impact on the planet by sharing the facts and figures with them. Accurate knowledge will allow them to make more informed environmental decisions.
In the fight to save what is left of our ozone layer, there are many things that must be done across the board, but it begins with each of us taking personal responsibility. Going green is a way of life that doesn’t take a massive sacrifice. Learn about your personal carbon footprint, and look at the ways that you can make sustainable decisions in the various areas in your life that will have a positive impact on the environment.