Tips for Living a More Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle
Earth Day falls on April 22nd each year. Created in 1970, this annual event is recognized all over the world in hopes to encourage global citizens to support the planet they live on. The day marks plenty of celebrations and marches to raise awareness towards pollution, conservation, and climate change.
We love Earth Day – but the planet still needs our help the other 364 days of the year. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to protect the planet all year 'round, and we've put together a comprehensive guide below. It's easy to get overwhelmed, but remember: everything you do helps, no matter how small!
Climate change is a threat to our world, the ecosystems that make our world habitable, and the future of humanity. Changing weather patterns are threatening food production and all life on Earth. Pollution is contributing to both climate change and unhealthy environments for Earth’s inhabitants.
It's easy to get overwhelmed by all of this information. That's why every act of support counts. While more sustainability initiatives are popping up globally, sustainability starts at the local level. In other words, when more people choose to live a sustainable lifestyle, the accumulation of individual efforts adds up to make a change for the better.
Notable Issues in 2021
With the COVID-19 pandemic taking most of our attention in 2020, climate change fell off a lot of people's radar. However, it's still an important topic. In fact, some experts think 2021 is a 'make-or-break' year for climate efforts.
We recently learned that the 2010s were one of the hottest decades on record, and carbon dioxide levels were higher than ever in 2020. Ice temperatures in the arctic have also reached dangerously high numbers.
Fortunately, activists are ready to fight back. There's a crucial climate conference planned this November – think of it as a sequel to the 2015 Paris meetings. With more events like these, we hope to see countries all around the world take charge against climate change.
Why It's Important To Choose Sustainability
What difference can one person make? A lot more than you might think. Sustainability is contagious. That means that others will be inspired by your lifestyle if you choose to make Earth-friendly choices. Show your social circle how easy it can be to live a green lifestyle! Changes at the large-scale and small-scale are necessary, and we're calling on you to do your part.
How You Can Celebrate Earth Day
Search Local Initiatives
Wondering if anyone else in your community is also passionate about saving the planet? Link up and work together! There are probably plenty of nearby initiatives that are both fun and effective, and you'll meet great people. It's a win for everyone.
Go Hammock Camping
Take a well-deserved break from your electronics and hefty water supply. Camping is refreshing and allows you to connect to nature, and it generally doesn't require as much waste as other activities. Besides, is there anything more refreshing than lying in a hammock between two trees at a camp site?
Turn The Lights Off
Many schools, offices, and homes participate in an "earth hour" in which they turn off the lights to save power. It's amazing how quickly you can get used to living without bright light – and as a result, many leave them off for the rest of the day.
Take The No-Waste Challenge
Can you make it through a whole day without throwing anything out, using electricity, or wasting excess water? Challenge yourself, and you'll learn many creative, Earth-friendly ways to get through your day. Don't forget to incorporate them into your life after!
Help tackle the world's rising CO2 levels by planting a few trees. You'll flex your garden skills and have fun while giving back to the planet.
You Can Make These Green Choices Every Day
Even if you're pre-occupied on Earth Day, you can still give back in little ways each day. Try to incorporate some of these into your daily routine– or go for gold and try all of them!
Tossing your paper and plastic in the recycling bin might be second nature to you, but some still forget to! There are more recyclable materials than ever before– and if you need more convincing, consider the fact that recycling one tonne of paper can save 17 trees and nearly 26,500 litres of water!
Here are some recycling tips to keep in mind:
Make sure you categorize your recyclable items correctly
Avoid recycling small items (under 3 inches), as they can jam equipment
Make sure your items are clean before you recycle them, or they might get rejected
If you are unsure about how to recycle a particular item, don't assume – read the packaging or do some research
Composting is just as easy as recycling – especially if you have weekly curb compost pickup in your neighborhood. If you're not familiar, the compost bin is where you can place certain nature-related or food-related waste. This could include apple cores, banana peels, and unwanted tree leaves. Look at your area's composting rules for more information about what you can compost.
Why is it helpful? Composting keeps organic food by-products out of landfills, reducing the creation of greenhouse gases like methane. Composing also helps replenish farm soils, replace trace minerals and organic material, reduce soil erosion, and prevent stormwater runoff.
Going Shopping? Use Reusable Bags
It's no secret that plastic is polluting the planet on a massive scale. In fact, it's estimated that 46,000 pieces of plastic are floating in every 2.589 square km of ocean.
Stores around the world are eliminating plastic bags entirely. Until the transition towards eco-friendly bags is complete, do your part by bringing your own reusable bags to the store. If you do end up using plastic bags, try to reuse them for as long as possible!
Be careful: some reusable bags are marketed as eco-friendly , but actually use materials that are harmful in different ways from plastic. Doing your research is always worth it!
Your Daily Commute Makes a Huge Difference
Are you able to bike, bus, or carpool to work? Trust us: each trip makes a difference. Why not save yourself the extra gas money and reduce your CO2 emissions? Biking saves almost half a kilogram of CO2 per 1.6 kilometers. Plus, it's a fun way to get your cardio in!
Challenge yourself to replace at least one car commute per week with a greener alternative. Then, set a goal to go car-less for two days a week, then three, then four, and so on!
Organic food is free from harmful pesticides and doesn't require as much transportation as other kinds of food. Plus, it could even have health benefits!
When you buy organic, you support a local agriculture system and your local economy – it's a win-win! Whenever possible, flex your purchasing power and pick produce that's environmentally friendly.
Replace Plastic with Glass or Steel
As we've mentioned, plastic is polluting the environment at a high scale, and waste is overrunning the planet. Think of instances in which you can choose healthier alternatives. Could you use glass or stainless steel products instead of single-use plastic water bottles or dishes? You'll easily reduce waste without having to make a big lifestyle change.
Cut Down on Toxic Household Cleaners
Plenty of the household cleaners in your closet are toxic – they pollute tap water supplies and contribute to smog pollution, among other problems. If you can, look for greener cleaners, like biodegradable products, or try making your own! A little baking soda goes a long way.
Consider Your Water and Energy Conservation at Home and in he Workplace
Conserving water and energy on a daily basis is an excellent way to help out the planet.
It's easy to forget that leaving the tap on while brushing your teeth or spending extra time in the shower can waste lots of water. Did you know that turning off the tap while you brush your teeth could save nearly 19 litres of water per day?
To save money on your water and energy bills and help save the planet, follow these tips:
Turn off the tap when brushing
Fix leaky faucets
Take shorter showers – time yourself!
Scrape food off your dishes instead of rinsing them before placing them in the dishwasher
Wash your clothes in cold water to conserve energy
Clean those dusty coils at the back of your fridge
Turn off lights, TVs, computers, and other electronics when not in use
During the day, use natural light instead of artificial light
Turn off your water heater when you go on vacation
Unplug any electronics when not in use
Get rid of that second fridge if you don't need it
Use smaller kitchen appliances whenever possible—i.e. a toaster oven instead of the regular oven
Switch to Online Billing
Most financial institutions and service providers offer online billing these days. This means they’ll send your bills via email instead of paper snail mail.
Not only will you get your bills faster and be able to pay them on time with your online bank account, but you’ll also be saving plenty of paper and trees! For every household that switches to online billing, 10.43 kilograms of wood is saved, and over 13 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions are avoided each year.
Go Outside and Experience What You're Trying to Save
As humans, nature is our home – and if we have a close relationship with nature, we’re more likely to respect it, feel connected to it, and want to protect it.
So, try to go outside every day and spend some time admiring the trees, flowers, waterways, wildlife, and fresh air. You'll certainly feel more motivated to save the planet.
A great way to do this is by relaxing outdoors in a cozy hammock. Whether it's at the beach, a campsite, or just in your backyard, there's no better feeling than swaying in a hammock while the sun shines down on your face.
Check if there are organizations or clubs in your community that offer environmental programs. For example, you could volunteer to plant trees or clean up a local park. Or, if your work doesn’t have reusable dishes or recycling and compost bins, speak to management about adding these to your staff room or kitchen. The little things add up!
Earth is beautiful, and it's the only home we have. Instead of dedicating one day to the planet, let's live each day like it's Earth Day! From finding less-wasteful activities to making simple lifestyle changes, we can all do our part.