We live in a world where we are often made out to feel like a very small piece of an enormous puzzle, where no change that we make in our lives will ever bare a substantial impact on the world as a whole. In reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. All change starts microcosmically, and it’s up to us to choose to empower rather than disempower ourselves. Here are some simple changes we can all implement to help save the planet as well as save ourselves some money at the same time!
Transportation & Energy
If you don’t already use public transport then now is the time to start. Reduce reliance on non-renewable resources, especially motor powered vehicles.
Try riding your bike to work, university or when shopping. To get started try once a week then increase the regularity. Eventually you will realize that you feel more alive by riding and may actually start to enjoy it. Not to mention you will feel and look better physically and you will have more energy.
Switch Energy Providers. If an energy provider in your area provides ‘green energy’ then switch to this option. It may cost a few cents more but it will send a message to other providers and retailers, eventually forcing them to source only renewable energy alternatives. If your current provider does not have a ‘renewable energy’ option then switch providers and let them know why you are switching.
Household energy. It was not that long ago that people use to carry around lanterns and candles and didn’t have grid connected electricity. If you are not Amish and don’t want to be completely green by having absolutely no power, you can still significantly reduce power consumption around the home. Heating and cooling are the largest consumer of energy used within the home. It is amazing how people will walk around the home in a t-shirt and pair of shorts while it is snowing outside. This makes absolutely no sense. Toughen up people or dress appropriately for the environment. By wearing the appropriate clothes you can reduce the temperature on the thermostat, save power and save yourself a fortune in heating bills…Also when not using essential items switch off and unplug appliances as this can still leak energy. It is also worth checking if your home is adequately insulated.
Around The Home
Another way to save the environment, money and get some exercise is to use good old fashioned garden tools. Not so long ago people use to use push lawn mowers, handheld clippers, brooms and dust bins to tidy up the house and garden. Nowadays it seems everyone has to use some petrol-powered tool that makes a lot of noise and uses fossil fuels. Go down to your garden store and have a look around and you will be amazed at what you can find that is inexpensive and practical to help you get some gardening done.
Learn to become self-sufficient by growing your own foods or partnering up with neighbours to do so. Eat only seasonally produced vegetables and fruits from your local area. Imported goods use significant amounts of fossil fuels to be transported, stored and distributed.
Grow your own vegetables, herbs and fruits. Even if you have limited space you can still be creative on a balcony, hallway or small space. Learn about that by clicking HERE.
Make your own compost. Use leftover organic food scraps and garden cuttings to build a backyard compost system.
Get some chickens in the backyard. If you have the space (and council approval) then chickens are great for disposing of vegetable scraps and are a great at helping out with the compost.
Collect your own rainwater. There are plenty of techniques to collect and store fresh rainwater. If you live in a city and the collection of rainwater is not feasible then tap water is the best option. Don’t buy bottled water as this has the most externalities associated with it.
Get rid of your lawn. Try to have the least amount of lawn as possible, grow vegetables, herbs, native plants and fruit trees in open spaces. If you have the need for a lawn, let it grow naturally and avoid cutting it short as this uses significantly less water and keeps moisture loss to a minimum.
Make a Greenhouse. If you live in a cool climate you can extend your growing season by months by understanding the power of greenhouses. By making a greenhouse we can significantly increase the growing season for all plants. They are easy to make and cost effective. Find out how to build a $50 greenhouse in your backyard by clicking HERE.
Food & Shopping
Try to eat less red meat and dairy or become a vegetarian. Cattle produce vast amounts of CO2 and consume large amounts of water in their production and add to deforestation. Keep an eye out for the soon to be released documentary ‘The Cowspiracy,’ to get a full picture of how much this impacts the state of our world. MORE INFO
Shop at second hand stores whenever possible. The popularity of the thrift shop has grown and now there are a number of alternatives for buying clothes, furniture and other household goods. This is a great way to help the environment as there is no wastage and no additional resources are used in production.
Shop locally. Whenever possible try to purchase goods and services from local providers as this helps the local community. Studies have shown that the impacts for shopping with locally owned stores increases employment and the circulation of resources within the community.
Limit your technology. Computers and technological gadgetry consume vast amounts energy and highly processed toxic metals and minerals in the production process. Don’t be conned by the next latest gimmick as this is all part of the system of planned obsolescence. The new i-whatever will not change your life…
Downsize your lifestyle and understand the implications and externalities of what you do as a consumer. How much stuff do you really need? I can guarantee that if you look in your closet at least 50% of the clothes you have in there you haven’t worn in 12 months or more…
Develop close community ties and foster participation and collaboration among neighbours and local government authorities. If you are really ambitious you can develop alternative currencies throughout your community. Simple bartering is a great way to start, then you can design more elaborate and equitable systems based on community needs.
Learn about permaculture and organic farming as these will pave the way for the future of agricultural production.
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