As global citizens, we can all do our part in keeping the planet (and ourselves, for that matter,) as healthy as possible by living a more natural lifestyle. With billions of creatures relying on the same ecosystem, it’s imperative that we all make decisions which protect our most precious resource: this planet. This may seem like a big responsibility, and it is, but it’s often the smallest decisions you make that can have the largest impacts.
Tis the season, right? With a new year upon us, it’s a wonderful time to create new, and better better habits. Especially habits that your body, soul and mind will benefit from. (Not to mention, the planet.)
So, are you ready to start? Here’s over 30 ways you can live more naturally and love the planet more in 2017, starting with:
Stop Drinking Bottled Water
First of all, many bottled water sources quite literally use tap water. True story, and there’s more.
· Bottled water companies are not required to meet the same standards as municipal water.
Therefore it can be safer to drink water straight from the tap because you at least know what you’re getting. If that’s not enough, check out these facts:
· 30 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away each year.
· It takes roughly 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce that amount of plastic.
· It takes plastic bottles about 1,000 years to decompose.
That’s scary. What’s a better option?
· Invest in several stainless steel water bottles and use filtered water to fill them up.
It’s significantly healthier due to not being exposed to plastic-laden endocrine disruptors linked to cancer, diabetes, and neurological issues such as BPA (bisphenol A) and it’s much, much cheaper. Even though the initial investment is higher, using filtered water and stainless steel water bottles will very quickly pay for itself.
Reduce Your Amount of Waste
Recycling plastic, paper, metals, and anything else that can be recycled is a must if you’re going to go green.
· Reuse anything you can
Finding ways to reuse items is also a great way to make an impact. For example, use a reusable razor.
It’s estimated that 2 billion razors are disposed of each year by Americans alone.
That’s roughly 1 billion pounds of waste.
· Use alternative food storage as opposed to plastic containers.
Try using glass jars of varying sizes or stainless steel containers instead of plastics.
· Use reusable shopping bags instead of the plastic bags you get at the supermarket.
· Use fabrics to wrap your gifts instead of paper wrapping (it’s a great approach that’s gathering more and more converts).
In essence, find ways to reuse everything you can and recycle as often as possible. Plastic = No.
Stop Unwanted Junkmail
Stopping unwanted junk mail from being sent to your home is a giant step in the right direction in terms of going green. These numbers are scary:
· The average American household receives approximately 69 pounds of junk mail every single year.
· It takes roughly 24 trees to produce each pound of junk mail which adds up to approximately 96 million trees per year in America alone.
· It is estimated that about 50% of all junk mail is not recycled which suggests that about 48 million trees are carelessly discarded each year.
· Roughly 2,500 to 6,000 gallons of water are used for every ton of paper meaning that the junk mail industry is guilty of using anywhere from 10 to 24 billion gallons of water every year.
So, how do you help combat this atrocity? Opt out of receiving junk mail!
There are several ways to do this:
1) Go to the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) website which represents nearly 3,600 companies and use their opt-out service for a dollar (their website is very easy to navigate) and you can:
2) Visit www.OptOutPrescreen.com to be removed from the three major credit reporting agencies for 5-year terms.
An enormous amount of unwanted junk mail comes in the form of pre-approved credit card companies so visiting this website and opting out is a good move.
Find Ways to conserve energy
Conserving energy will not only reduce your carbon footprint but will also expand your pocketbook. Some simple ways to cut back are:
· Turn off your lights. When you’re not in a room, turn the lights off.
· Find ways to benefit from natural light and windows instead of having multiple lights on in every room.
· Switch to energy efficient bulbs. They’re more expensive at first, but they save you tons of money on your electrical bill, and they last much longer than conventional bulbs do.
· For those of you really wanting to cut energy usage, use an oil lantern instead of traditional lighting. It sets a great mood and is incredibly efficient. Just make sure you’re taking all the necessary safety precautions when using oil.
· Use appliances in the kitchen that are energy efficient.
· Keep the fridge closed.
· Use a programmable thermostat for the house and dress appropriately for the season.
· When washing laundry, wait until a full load can be washed before washing.
· Use cold water and find ways to air-dry your clothes.
Use Energy Efficient Transportation
Using your transportation more efficiently is a major step towards going green. Here are a few ways to keep Mother Earth smiling while traveling:
· Walk! Taking an extra few minutes and walking to the market can save significantly on gas and energy.
· Don’t be afraid to ride a bicycle when getting around in town.
· When driving, make sure your tires are properly inflated.
About 1/3 of vehicles are traveling the streets every day with under-inflated tires resulting in roughly a 10% decrease in their overall fuel economy.
· Use public transportation when possible.
· When driving, use hyper-milling techniques. Many people have increased their fuel economy significantly by using these techniques (I’ll be writing an entire article about these techniques soon).
· When traveling a longer distance, try to travel by train or bus instead of a plane for the sake of reducing CO2 emissions.
· Keep the oil changed in your car and do not drive aggressively. This combination will destroy gas mileage.
· Carpool when possible and partake in rideshares.
Support Your Local Farmers
· When possible, eat local organic foods. Most of our meals come from an average of 1,500 miles away. Eating locally will significantly cut down on pollutants caused by transportation.
· It helps keep plants healthy. Due to the fact there are no pesticides added, there are no superbug strains that come along and devastate a particular crop.
· It helps keep the animals healthy as there is no chemical exposure resulting from chemically engineered foods.
· It helps keep living conditions more natural and organic here on Earth by helping to minimize pollution, erosion, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and nutrient depletion.
Incorporate Green Into Your Personal Products and Routines
Going green with your personal care products is a huge part of an organic lifestyle.
· When using skin-care products, try and stick to natural products such as coconut oil. Our skin being the largest organ of our bodies plays a significant role in what we take it. Coconut oil is a wonderful, natural alternative to expensive creams and other products. It’s also great for your hair!
· When going out into the sun for extended periods of time, opt for a safe and natural sunscreen. This is very important because many popular sunscreens are chalked full of poisons for our bodies.
· It’s equally important to eat well! This is arguably the most important aspect of healthy skin.
· Using natural deodorants is becoming more and more popular among folks of all ages that are tired of poisoning their bodies with the increasing toxicity found in modern deodorants.
· Try natural shampoo recipes and try using natural mascaras and other all-natural makeup products as well.
Raise your children to be environmentally conscious
This is very important for all you parents, uncles, aunts, etc., out there. Adopting an all-natural way of life is a beautiful and wonderful thing. It’s a major step to a healthier lifestyle that will benefit you, your loved ones, and the planet itself. However, to make sure that the lifestyle continues down the road, you need to make sure your children are aware of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how you’re doing it. Raising your children to be eco-conscious is a major player in the game of organic living. Talk about the choices you make with your kids. Lead by example and be a role model for your children. It’s important to remember not to lecture, but instead, to make it fun, interactive, and interesting.
Continuing Your Green Education
We’re always growing and evolving. Therefore, it’s important to be constantly learning. A green lifestyle is no different.
· Continue to learn more and more ways, search for more and more avenues, and become familiar as to why green living matters to you.
· Be open and honest about your choices. This plays a major role in the influence you have upon others regarding your lifestyle choices.
· Educate others through your actions and conversations without being judgmental or pushy. This is a powerful to expand awareness and education.
· Always be open to talking about the subject of organic living or answer questions from people on the subject happily and without scrutiny.
So, armed with this “starter-kit” of ways to go green and show the planet love, go ahead and dive right in and start incorporating these bullet points one by one into your daily lives for a more organic way of life. Your bodies will thank you. Your minds will thank you. The environment will thank you. The planet will thank you. And, let’s not forget the fact that the future will thank you.