Open any magazine or newspaper and you’ll find a variety of articles regarding green living. Although we’ve always been able to lead this sustainable way of life, the recent attention toward going green has many families rethinking their existence. In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, families are beginning to take more responsibility over their lifestyles, making a conscious effort to pre-cycle, recycle and ultimately lower carbon emissions. You don’t need a psychology degree to see that even a few small changes can make a difference, which is why so many individuals are eager to share their stories. They hope to inspire others to make the same changes and create a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle that will benefit the planet.
While the human race is making great strides, there’s one concern that experts have: Do we as humans recognize that living sustainably is more than just a lifestyle; it’s what we need to do to be humane? Many people consider being green as the trendy way to live, fitting in with today’s changing standards. Not only are individuals happy to reveal how they’re going green, but businesses also use this image to build up clientele and stand ahead of the competition. Although making eco-friendly changes is vital, it’s more important to know why we need to make them. The more we enjoy this sustainable lifestyle, the more we’ll be willing to stick to it.
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. Sustainability is a product of both the environment and the human race. For example, the wetlands and forests are sustainable biological systems. The long-term maintenance of our well-being is sustainability to humans. This means that in order to achieve sustainability, the planet and humanity need to have a mutually rewarding relationship. After all, we cannot survive without the Earth and the Earth will not survive without living things.
The history of the world is based on sustainability, as those who were successful lived on, while the rest declined. Furthermore, sustainability is not static, as our landscape is always evolving. Things that affect the planet’s sustainability include its inhabitants, as well as their occupations, lifestyles and behaviors. With these factors in mind, one can see just how pertinent the way we live is to the total welfare of our planet and humanity.
When humans are able to understand the concept that being green is more than just a way of life, but it’s what we need to do to sustain ourselves, making environmentally sound decisions will be that much easier. For instance, Environment 911 uses the example of planting a garden that not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your backyard, but also offers a sustainable way of life. Having your garden allows to grow your own fruits and vegetables, reducing the amount of chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides. Better yet, you won’t be promoting fruits and vegetables that aren’t fair trade.
So what are some effective ways that humans can collectively work together to ensure sustainability? Recycling is an important step to reducing waste and lowering our carbon footprint. While many families do choose to recycle, many are unaware of the diversity of products that can be recycled. Paper, plastics, aluminum cans, glass bottles, newspapers and paper bags are just some of the items that can be recycled. The WorldWatch Institute suggests also taking advantage of recycling programs for old computers, electronics and cell phones.
However it’s not just recycling you need to concern yourself with, but pre-cycling. When you pre-cycle, you think about how the product will need to be recycled before you make the purchase. In this way, you can avoid products that will create more waste, such as individually packaged bags of cookies, carrots, apple slices and fruit snacks. Buying in bulk and breaking down these items on your own will reduce even more waste. Other ways to recycle include reusing items, such as egg cartons for kids’ collections and empty plastic bins for storage.
When shopping, shop smart. Considering the product and the waste it will create is important, but you also want to think about where the product comes from. The Sefton Council recommends choosing locally grown produce and sticking to in-season varieties. This cuts down on having to ship produce from all around the world. Also look for the Fairtrade mark, ensuring your produce was sold at a fair price. Of course, the best option is to grow your own garden to reap the benefits of fresh grown fruits and veggies. Before you set out, also be sure to bring along reusable bags. Many states are working toward banning plastic bags, so get ahead of the movement and swap plastic with reusable alternatives.
Another way to be sustainable is to lower your energy usage. Unplug electronics when not in use, as anything that is plugged into an outlet is draining energy. Turn off computers and other electronic devices at the end of the day, as leaving them on standby mode drains just as much energy. Only turn on lights when you need them, and replace incandescent bulbs with energy efficient ones. Turn down your heat by a degree or two on a cold day and rely on warm blankets instead. On a warm day, open the windows instead of blasting the air and make use of fans. Still not satisfied? Try a quality set of curtains that block out cold air in the winter and keep cool air in during the summer.
Finally, make a real difference in your community by volunteering your time for clean-up efforts, such as picking up trash along the roadways. Encourage your children to ride their bikes or rollerblade to their destination instead of getting a ride. Compost your kitchen scraps and use the mixture to grow your own garden and improve your landscape. Avoid letting the water run, as water that goes down the drain doesn’t get recycled as easily as you may think. Take advantage of secondhand items that are sold online or through resale shops.
Clearly, just making a few small changes to your daily habits can allow you to live more sustainably and be a better person as well.
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