Going green in your everyday life is a great way to conserve energy and help stop global warming. There are a lot of things you can do to live green, and we’ve put together a list of 9 ways to reduce your carbon footprint to help you get started.
Choosing green options in your everyday life is a great way to help fight climate change and improving your own life in tangible ways very quickly. It can improve your health and save you money.
1. Make Your Own Meals
Benefit for you:You are in control of the ingredients and therefore what you put into your body. Research shows you are likely to consume less sugar and processed food which means your diet is likely to be much healthier. Home-cooked meals are also linked to increased overall happiness which comes from feeling in control, being creative and gets another boost when eating in company.
Benefits for the environment: Food production involves a lot of transportation. Think of ingredients flown in from the other side of the world. Buying locally grown food or grow your own and you’ll make an even bigger impact on the environment by significantly reducing the amount of transportation required to get food to your plate.
2. Eat Less Meat – Meatless Mondays
Benefit for you: A plant-based diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes and nuts, is rich in fiber, vitamins and a wealth of other nutrients. And people who don’t eat meat — vegetarians — generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than non-vegetarians.
Benefit for the environment: It’s the single most effective action you can take to combat climate change. Large scale animal production is one of the most destructive forces to our environment. Avoiding meat is often cited as the most important and biggest way to reduce your impact on earth.
3. Buy food from local sources
Benefit for you: You can make sure your food comes from sources you agree with: organic, in season, happy and healthy animals. You are also very likely to have less packaging to dispose off.
Benefit for the environment: A fair amount of the greenhouse gas emissions involved in the production of your food come from its transportation. Look around in the supermarket and you’ll notice tons of products flown in from other States and countries from all over the world. When you buy directly from farms and coops closest to you, you reduce the emissions it takes to transport the food to your grocery store or favorite restaurant. Even better: grow your own food! It could be as simple as growing some herbs on your window sill.
4. Plan ahead and only buy groceries you need
Benefit for you: Planning your meals for several days and sticking to your shopping list will save you time (your most valuable irreplaceable asset) and money. This way you minimize waste. Only buy in bulk when you are sure you will be able to use and eat it all or if it’s a staple you regularly use in your cooking.
Benefit for the environment: Less Waste, less need for transport and production of food equals less carbon emissions
5. Donate excess food
If you end up with more food than you can eat, it doesn’t need to go to waste. You can donate it to a local soup kitchen or someone in need, especially if it will go bad within the next few days.
Benefits for you: Contributing to other people is one of the best ways to enhance your own life.
Benefits for the environment: This helps reduce someone else’s carbon footprint.
6. Grow your own food
Benefits for you: Growing your own food has a lot of indirect health benefits: it’s a great calming activity, stress relief and good for your mental health. You’ll enjoy fresh food free from pesticides and damaging chemicals. If it isn’t ideal to transition to full vegetarianism, try cooking vegetarian at least one day a week. It will get you into the habit of cooking at home without relying on chicken or red meat. It also gives you the ability to prepare vegetables in the way you prefer or even create your own dishes, lowering your meat consumption and your carbon footprint.
Benefit for the environment: Growing food at your doorstep reduces your own carbon footprint enormously. Small scale gardening also allows you to reduce the use of artificial fertilizers (use your own compost instead). Most gardeners grow a variety of crops and herbs in a fairly small space. This decreases the chance of plant diseases. You can really up your game by using permaculture principles in your garden to create a sustainable garden that encourages not just healthy plants but a more varied wildlife, smart use of water resources and the creation of beneficial micro-climates.
7. Eat at sustainable restaurants
Find a ‘farm to table’ restaurant. These are restaurants that get their food directly from local farms, or as close to one as they can get. If you decide to go out to eat, choose to go to places that serve sustainably sourced food.
Benefit for you: You can be assured that your food is fresh and healthy.
Benefit for the environment: This cuts down on carbon emissions from transportation and from irresponsible farm practices.
8. Buy food that is in season
Certain produce requires a lot more time and energy to get to your local grocery store. To help cut down on these emissions from transportation, consider shopping for food that is in season.
9. Start your own compost
Composting helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that come from the decomposition of organic matter that takes place in landfills. You can start your own compost at home with a worm composter. That way you can produce highly nutritious compost for your own house plants or herb and vegetable garden. Alternatively, if you don’t have any use for compost yourself you will find a gardener who will be more than happy to use the compost for his plants. And who knows, this might open up a new food supply for you in return.
Benefit for you: Composting your organic waste is a great way to supplement or replace synthetic fertilizers. You could even start a community composting project through your apartment building or neighborhood.
Benefit for the environment: This cuts down the amount of trash needing to first be transported and then going into landfill. Instead you create a resource for new growth.