Given the level of damage our environment has been forced to bear, it often seems as if our personal efforts toward sustainability have little effect. But, it’s worth noting that lasting change rarely comes quickly. Instead, it is the aggregate result of millions of people doing small things to preserve the ecology and environment. That requires identifying areas within our lives to eliminate waste and live more sustainably.
The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to live a sustainable life and reduce your personal carbon footprint. Below, we’ll share four of them. While each item in the list may seem insignificant, they can have a substantial influence on the ecology and environment if millions of people implement them.
#1 – Review Your Consumption Needs
Look around your home and consider each item in the context of whether you truly need it. While a case can be made for recycling or retiring your plasma television screens, multiple computers, and other indulgences, that’s an exercise for another time. For now, simply think about why you are motivated to purchase things. Many people shop to satisfy some deep level of discontent or dissatisfaction. Others do so as an outward manifestation of their inner restlessness.
Overconsumption exacts an unnecessary toll on the environment. Before you purchase a new product, determine whether you’re fulfilling a true need or merely satisfying a craving.
#2 – Limit Your Use Of Plastic
A single plastic container seems relatively benign. Most people are unaware that plastic bags and containers litter our oceans, rivers, and streams. Their presence endangers the fish and other animals living beneath the water’s surface. Making matters worse, there is evidence that some of the chemicals used to manufacture some plastic items contribute to obesity, cancer, and other health conditions. Limiting your use of plastic not only helps to sustain the environment, but also preserves your own health.
#3 – Replace Meat With Fruits And Vegetables
For decades, nutritionists have extolled the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. Over the last ten years, many of these experts have gone further to suggest that reducing your meat consumption will prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It has recently become clear that limiting your meat intake also has a positive effect on the environment. Scientists have discovered that livestock raised for food contribute heavily to greenhouse gas emissions. If you replace meat with fruits and vegetables, you’ll preserve your health and the environment.
#4 – Leave Your Vehicle At Home
Most of us have grown accustomed to driving to work each day even though public transportation, carpools, and other options are widely available. The problem is that our cars produce an enormous amount of emissions. While automotive engine technology has advanced and catalytic converters have successfully reduced the volume of harmful emissions, it is not enough. Our vehicles continue to contribute a sizable portion of greenhouse gases.
Consider taking public transportation to work. Or, if you live near the office, consider walking or biking each day. You’ll enjoy the health benefits of the exercise and reduce your personal impact on the environment. Plus, you’ll save money on gas and insurance. Given the advantages, this is one of the most effective changes you can make toward environmental sustainability.
There are many other things you can do to live a sustainable life; we’ll cover them in the future. For now, the key is to examine your daily life from the perspective of how your choices impact the ecology and environment. Making small changes, while seemingly trivial, can have a tremendous effect over time.