In today’s world, there is more pressure to live sustainably than ever before. As concern grows about climate change, many people are taking a hard look at their habits and lifestyle and finding ways to be more eco-friendly.
And you probably should be too.
While it may feel overwhelming to overhaul your life in favor of a more sustainable existence, there are plenty of small changes you can make in just one week. Within these seven days, you can adjust certain facets of your life to conserve energy and vote for a cleaner planet. The following are just some changes that you can implement this week.
1. Drive less
Relying less on your car is one of the best ways to reduce your energy consumption and carbon footprint. While not everyone can splurge on an electric vehicle, there are other green ways to get around. Try hopping on your bike, taking the bus, or walking to work during a few of your commutes this week. You can also try carpooling with others if you work far away from home. By making this small adjustment, you are reducing emissions and potentially encouraging others to do the same.
2. Upgrade your home appliances
You can also reduce your carbon footprint by changing your home energy consumption. There are several ways that you can make your home more energy efficient. If you are using an outdated heating and air conditioning system, consider investing in more efficient units. You can also purchase a smart thermostat to help you conserve energy. Business owners should call a commercial HVAC contractor to make these same changes in their business. You can also upgrade your refrigerator, washer, and dryer to control your energy consumption.
3. Eat local
The food industry plays a significant role in climate change, and you can vote with your dollar by buying local. Much of the food in the grocery store is harvested in faraway places, which means it takes significant energy to transport and store. Consider purchasing as much food as you can at your local farmers market. By doing so, you are not only making a more conscious choice for the environment, but supporting a local grower as well.
4. Minimize wasteful packaging
Even if you recycle, one of the best ways to live a more sustainable life is to reduce your consumption altogether. Plastic and styrofoam are common packaging materials that are not easily recycled and can pollute the environment. During this week’s grocery shopping trip, think about packaging as you buy. Bring reusable shopping bags, place your bulk foods and vegetables in reusable bags, and opt for cardboard over styrofoam. While it might be tricky at first, low-waste shopping will eventually become second nature.
5. Improve your waste management
Remember that not everything in your home can go in the trash or curbside recycling. Items like electronics, batteries, and empty fuel tanks should go to special recycling centers. You can also order used cooking oil collection to keep grease out of your trash and drains. If you aren’t sure how to dispose of certain items, call your local waste management department.
6. Find a philanthropic venture to get involved with
Finding passion and purpose in life are linked to higher overall life satisfaction and health. Consider joining a local charity that aligns with your values and perspective. Howard Fensterman talks about the concept of ‘tzedakah’ and doing goodwill unto others. Look for local meet-ups happening in your area where you can find a cause you care about.
Living a sustainable life certainly takes more than just one week of adjustments. However, you need to start somewhere. As you start to turn changes into habits, you will realize all of the areas of your life where you can be more consciously. Whether you are walking to work more often or purchasing second-hand clothing, each choice you make is a vote for a cleaner world. And that is certainly worth the effort.