Ideally, going green would be a lifestyle choice that everyone would adopt. Earth Day is a great way of bringing environmental issues to the forefront of public consciousness, but too often people forget about the planet once April is over. The trick to making greener choices throughout the year is to keep them simple and stay aware of how what you do on an everyday basis affects the world around us. Earth Day is a great time to make green resolutions that you can try and meet throughout the year, as well as a great time to share those goals with friends and family, and suggest they make their own.
This article is the second in a two-part celebration of Earth Day here on The Keeper Eco-Blog. We’re also holding a giveaway in which you could win one of 10 Keepers or Moon Cups (your choice), so make sure to check that out here:Enter our giveaway!
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Dress for the Weather and Alter Conditions in Low-Energy Ways
You know how awful it can be walking into an overly air-conditioned building in the dead heat of summer; the sweat on your skin immediately evaporates and chills you, you need to put on a sweater, and worst of all, it’s a huge waste of energy. The planet would be so much better off if we moderated our body temperatures in other ways. Turning the thermostat up less in the winter and wearing more layers, or dressing in light-weight clothing for summer and using open windows and energy efficient fans to get air circulating. There are many ways to make our local microclimate more comfortable without always using energy-intensive heating and cooling systems. Temperature is only one factor in determining comfort, and it can be much greener to alter other factors such as humidity and air movement.
Eat Less Meat
Meat, and especially red meat, is one of the most carbon-intensive foodstuffs to produce. Livestock take up vast amounts of land, emit lots of greenhouse gases, and have environmental and ethical costs beyond that of a plant-based diet. Even if you don’t want to or can’t cut out all meat from your diet due to health reasons, you can probably reduce the amount you consume considerably. In North America, we eat far more meat than is needed to meet our nutritional requirements, and a lot of those can be filled from other protein sources and vitamin/mineral-rich plant-based foods.
Buy Locally Grown, In-Season Foods
Related to the previous point, we need to do a better job figuring out the carbon-footprint of all our foods, including the plants. Buying from local farmers saves all the emissions caused by shipping food long-distance. Eating foods that are being harvested in-season cuts down on the amount of food grown in greenhouses when weather conditions aren’t appropriate, which can be even more wasteful of water and energy than shipping food from somewhere the climate is a better match for it. It can sometimes take some research to get this kind of information, but if you want to make a real commitment to living green, this is one of the best ways to do so.
Make a Commitment to Living “Minimalistic”
Coming and going in trendy circles over time, minimalism is essentially the philosophy that we can be happier with less extraneous material possessions. Think about it: prioritizing experiences over things, reusing or repurposing household goods to serve new functions instead of buying specialized equipment for every little task, and other ways of living with less are probably already values you’ve adopted, at least to some extent. This April, have a good spring clean, get rid of what you don’t need and aren’t using, and try your best not to fill that space with other useless items that will just sit around collecting dust.
Follow the 7 “R”s of Recycling
Yes, there are more than the 3 you may have learned as a child! Update your eco-friendly vocabulary and start putting these into practice in your own life.
Reuse instead of buying new every time.
Repurpose. Get more use out of old items by turning them into new, functional objects.
Rot. Compost everything organic, and use it to fertilize new food.
Repair instead of replacing.
Return. Only buy from companies with returnable container programs.
Refill instead of buying disposable containers for drinks and snacks.
Refuse to buy over-packaged, disposable, or single-use products.
A great start on the first and last “R”s can be buying The Keeper ® or The Moon Cup ® to replace your disposable sanitary products. Simply the most environmentally friendly option out there, a reusable menstrual cup will keep hundreds of pounds of waste out of landfills for every woman who makes the switch.
Live in Walkable, Transit-Friendly Communities
The single biggest contribution you can make with regard to lowering your environmental footprint is to choose not to commute via car. Too many people waste their lives driving back and forth from work. If it’s financially possible for you, living close to your place of employment and/or choosing to live in a walking/cycling/public transit oriented city or town is the best choice you can make. Not just for the environment, either, but for your own health and happiness! Of course, that may not be possible for you right now, but if not, keep it in mind for the next time you move or look for work opportunities.
I hope these ideas for applying Earth Day values year-round have inspired you to make some green changes in your life! And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for even more suggestions on green actions to take today. If you can live in a more eco-friendly way from day to day, it makes an even bigger difference for the planet than the once-a-year commitment to sustainability that so many people forget about by the end of the month. Make every day Earth Day and Mother Nature will thank you. We wish you a happy Earth Day, and invite you to share your other tips for living green in the comments below!Enter our giveaway!
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Jennie Lyon is a green lifestyle writer and the owner of Sweet Greens, the award-winning green lifestyle blog. She posts on simple, fun ways families can go green together – starting with her own. When she isn’t blogging, you will find her paddleboarding, sailing, beach-combing, camping, or spending time with her amazing husband and 14-year old son