Green Lifestyle Tips.
Below you'll find some tips on living a healthy, green, environmentally friendlly lifestyle. There's no need to follow every piece of advice on this page, but every positive thing we do will be appreciated by future generations, and will be of help to our endangered human ecosystems.
- Walk or cycle to nearby destinations - it'll keep you fit, keep the air clean, and save you money!
- Carpool or take public transit when walking or cycling isn't possible.
- Buy Local: get your produce at your local farmer's market or CSA whenever possible. Shipping food from Costa Rica for example is a waste of money and fossil fuel - the "product of" labels at your grocery store will tell you how unnecessarily far this food has come.
- Use warm or ideally cold water for your laundry - it saves the energy used to heat and it's also easier on your clothes.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room, and turn off the computer when you're not using it.
- Use a rake and a snow shovel instead of a leaf-blower or snow-blower. You might even be able to find a push mower, which'll keep you fit and help keep nutrients in your lawn.
- Use a clothesline instead of an electric dryer. Sheets feel especially nice when you let them dry in the wind.
- All the heat you feel on a standard lightbulb is wasted energy. Replace your old light bulbs with the energy-efficient variety, which will pay for themselves and more over their lifetime.
- Bundle up in the winter rather than cranking up the thermostat, and use fans in the summer rather than air conditioning. It's tempting to have a house that's freezing in the summer and hot in the winter, but comfortably cool or warm saves a lot of energy and doesn't confuse your body quite so much. You can turn the heating down a few degrees while you're away as well, maybe with the help of a programmable thermostat.
- Shading your house with blinds is an energy-free way to keep it cool in the summer, and to keep warmth in on winter nights. Better yet, deciduous trees on the sunny side of your house will shade it in the summer and shed their leaves to let light in in the winter.
- Save your refridgerator some work by letting hot foods cool before you put them in. Also help the fridge cool down by letting frozen foods thaw inside.
- If you're going to water your lawn, do it in the morning or evening when the hot sun won't make it evaporate pointlessly .
- Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, and turn the shower off while you lather up with soap. You might also try showering in pairs. =)
- Observe the old rural creed of "if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down." If you're not into that, a nice alternative is to set some bottles full of water in your toilet tank, to reduce the volume of water used in a flush. A third alternative for guys is to go outside.
- Collect water in a rain barrel, and use if for anything that doesn't require crystal cleanliness or clarity.
- Let the rain wash your car.
- Save your laundry and dishes until you have a full (but not overfull) load.
- Don't bother rinsing dishes before the dishwasher; just scrape off the excess food. If you're doing dishes by hand, start with shallow water and a slow stream that'll let you rinse the first dishes as the sink continues to fill.
- Use a broom rather than a hose to clean your driveway or deck.
- Fix leaky faucets as soon as possible.
- Choose re-usable products whenever possible. Bring cloth grocery bags or a backpack to the grocery store, fill them up and leave the plastic behind. Buy cloth diapers and sign up for a cleaning service, instead of helping to build a mountain of pooey plastic. Use cloth napkins at dinner. Buy coffee in your own travel mug and drink water from a reusable bottle. Use a hankerchief to blow your runny nose, and save the facial tissue for chunky bits only. Women can use a Diva Cup instead of pads or tampons. Men can use a straight razor to shave.
- Separate your garbage properly according to your city's by-laws. Find out what the recycling facility will accept and give it to them. If your city is even smarter they'll collect food waste separately too, and if they don't you can start your own compost bin to keep waste out of the landfills and nutrients in the soil.
- Pick up one piece of litter every day.
- Eat meatless meals more often. Earth has a growing population and a finite amount of farmable land, and it's important that we use that land effficiently, especially since rapid urbanization and unsustainable farming practices are reducing the amount of land available. Livestock use 90% of the food energy that they consume, leaving only 10% available to humans; this ensures that our land is used to feed cattle instead of people. Visit the vegetarian page for more information.
- Plenty of perfectly good food goes straight to the dumpster when bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores close. If it's safe and legal where you are, you might consider a rescue mission.
Change your lifestyle.
- Buy a more fuel-efficient car. Smart cars and motorcycles are excellent.
- Consider some simple renovations (such as the addition of double-paned windows) to improve energy efficiency in your home. Replacing old appliances with newer more energy-efficient ones can make a big difference as well. The cost of both of these investments is often offset by government incentives for energy conservation, as well as by dramatically reduced hydro bills.
- Grow your own food - it's enjoyable, saves you money, and helps the environment. If you're in an urban area, your rooftop might be a good spot for a garden. You can learn to preserve food for the winter and make healthy sprouts indoors. Volunteering at your local community garden or CSA is a great way to learn some gardening fundamentals.
- Live closer to work. As anyone who does it knows, commuting is a big waste of time and fossil fuel. Next time you move, consider relocating closer to where you work.
- Get involved. At election times, take the time to research where your candidates stand on things like water and energy policy, urban sprawl, and climate change reduction. The Green Party of Canada has some good examples of progressive ideas that you can consider for yourself. Your local public interest group or litter clean-up could also be a great place to meet some new people and do the world some good.
- Question materialism. Our society and media promote an unfulfilling lifestyle of acquisition, consumption, and waste. If you see though this and realize the greater value of things like good health, interpersonal relationships, and a positive contribution to the world, you'll begin to live more easily on the environment, and you might even be happier with your life. Be well...