9 WAYS TO LEAD A MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY LIFESTYLE - part 2
To read Part 1 of this article, click here.
Are you worried about the state of our planet and the future of humanity? So are we. While we work hard to bring car ownership down and to make car-sharing and electric vehicles the norm, we also realise that transport is only one aspect of our lives which contributes to global warming.
There are a few easy steps to make our lives a little more environmentally-friendly. We think it’s important that we all make the effort of adjusting our lifestyle slightly, given that the sum of our individual actions could make a significant difference. So, we’ve put together a list of 9 things we can do towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Here are tips 4 to 6:
- 4. Limit your production of waste.
Organic waste is also generated everyday in huge quantities. This type of waste is made of all the biodegradable matter we put in our bins, such as food waste, garden waste, paper. Although organic waste does decompose, unlike plastics, it still contributes to climate change. When it breaks down, organic matter releases carbon dioxide and methane gas, both of which are greenhouse gases and play a significant part in climate change and global warming.
Yes. A global improvement of waste management and disposal process is needed and would make a massive impact on fighting our climate crisis. But there are things us individuals can do too. Mainly, we can contribute by 1) reduce the amount of waste we produce as much as possible, 2) by products wrapped in recyclable packages where possible, and 3) dispose of the waste we inevitably produce correctly.
Try to plan your meals ahead and never go food shopping without a list. Don’t buy more than you know you can consume just because there are 3-for-2 offers everywhere you look. Cook meals in bulk only if you are sure you will have the chance to eat all the leftovers before they go off. If you do have some items which are about to go past their eat-before-date, check if they are freezable and if they are, put them in the freezer and defrost them later when you actually will need them.Choose tins and glass jars over plastic ones wherever possible, choose loose vegetables instead of the packaged one when possible, switch your shower and bath product for loose solid shampoo, conditioner and soap bars. Swap your several, highly specific cleaning products for one or two multi-surface and universal cleaners. Wash plastic and glass containers and reuse them if you can. You can reuse jars to store homemade sauces, leftovers, on-the-go breakfasts and overnight oats, while bigger cans and tins can make cute pots for small house plants. If you can’t find how to reuse your containers, make sure you rinse them and recycle correctly. There are many websites and resources available if you want to learn more about recycling, if you need some tips or if you’re unsure how to recycle a specific item.
- 5. Watch out for indoor pollution.
Intuitively, indoor air quality should be better than outdoor air quality. Buildings should be a barrier dividing us from most well-known pollutants, such as cars’ exhaust fumes. However, more than 2/3 of the studies on the matter have found the opposite. Indoor air pollution allows for a higher concentration of harmful pollutants than outdoor pollution. People from developed countries spend upwards of 80% of their time indoors and during that time, some of their activities produce a mix of organic, inorganic and even radioactive pollutants. The effect of these on an individual’s health vary depending on the toxicity of these pollutants, their concentration in the environment and the exposure time.
The sources of these pollutants are mainly cooking stoves and fireplaces. Even toaster produce some of these. Excessive heating or air-cooling also have detrimental effects on the environment, and so do the excessive use of candles, air fresheners and incense. Poor ventilation and poor thermal insulation also contribute to the problem.
First of all, when choosing a flat to move into or when buying a property, it is important to consider the building’s insulation against hot and cold temperatures and that ventilation is sufficient. This will allow you to save money on heating and air conditioning in the long term while also helping the environment. Avoid cooking and heating your home with dirty fuels when possible (waste wood, charcoal and coal produce significant amounts of pollutants). Switch to renewable and green energy tariffs when possible. Open your windows and allow ventilation opting for the windows furthest from busy roads or choose a time when busy roads are the quietest. Lastly, try to keep the use of candles and air fresheners to a minimum and reduce the use of harsh chemicals, like bleach, when possible.
- 6. Ways to save water
Why is it important to save water? Because 2.1 billion people lack safe drinking water at home. Because 17 countries face extremely high water stress. Because the global climate crisis is inextricably linked to water.
It’s easy to come to think that water just magically appears out of the tap, because we are used to it always being it there when we need it. We don’t think twice about filling a glass of water when we’re thirsty or washing off a day’s hard work under a hot 10-minute long shower in the evening. But this isn’t the reality for everyone. Billions of people don’ have safe drinking water. And this staggering number will only increase as our climate crisis worsens and as water cycles around the globe are disturbed, with catastrophic consequences.
If you’ve read part 1 of this series, you will know how much the animal agriculture and fast-fashion industries are responsible for using unimaginable amounts of resources every day. One of these resources is water. So, the first suggestion for all of us to save water is to shop less. Less meat and less new clothes we don’t actually need. When we do need to shop, let’s do it as ethically as possible. It only takes little research to find sustainable products and businesses to support.
Fix the drips: “The average household's leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry.” Keep an eye on your shower head, taps and toilet flappers. It will save you money on your bills and make your lifestyle more sustainable. Wait until you have full loads of laundry before washing your clothes. Half-loads are wasteful. When you steam or boil your vegetables, save the water you use. Use it to cook your pasta, or let it cool and use it to water your plants. Turn the water off while you brush your teeth, take shorter shower. You can even buy showerheads that regulate the amount of water you’re using!
Share and comment this article using the buttons below to let us know what steps you take to help with the climate crisis. And keep an eye on our social media channels for the next 3 -and final- tips of this list!