When you think of the many things that bring enjoyment to your life, your surroundings may not be at the top of the list. However, it probably has a big impact on your quality of life. Whether you spend most of your time looking out over a bustling city or a peaceful mountain lake, the natural environment affects you every day. Protecting the earth’s natural resources is something that everyone can do with a few simple habits.
1. Reduce Water Use
One of the simplest, and most impactful, steps you can take is to reduce the amount of water you use. For example, take a slightly shorter shower and swap out your old showerhead for a low-flow option. Don’t let the water run when you shave or brush your teeth. Fix any leaking faucets or pipes. Use your dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand. You could also consider recycling some of the water you use in your home.
2. Learn To Recycle
Of course, recycling, in general, is a wonderful way to reduce your carbon footprint. If you aren’t already recycling through your municipal garbage disposal company, ask about recycling services. You could have a recycling bin next to your garbage cans. If this isn’t a possibility, check your local community for other options.
Many of the things that move through your home could be recycled rather than tossed into the trash. The list of items includes, but isn’t limited to paper, plastics, glass, batteries, used automobile oil, tires, and household hazardous waste. You can also use vegetable and fruit scraps, and some other foods, in your garden to improve the quality of the soil.
3. Remember to Reduce and Reuse
Within the waste-reduction triad, often begins with recycling and ends there. However, it’s important to focus on reducing and reusing as well. You can make a commitment to buy less stuff. Consider buying clothes from a thrift store and learn how to repurpose old items rather than throwing them out and replacing them. There are a lot of great ideas online for turning your old items into useful tools around your home. When you can’t use something, donate it to your local thrift shop rather than sending it out with the trash. When you must buy something, look for reusable options rather than single-use items (such as straws, water bottles, and grocery bags.)
4. Cut Down Food Waste
It isn’t uncommon for homeowners to toss out stale ends of bread and moldy leftovers at the end of the week. When you learn how to cut down on food waste, you’re making positive changes for the environment, and you’re keeping waste out of your food budget as well. Some examples of how to do this include freezing bread to use as breadcrumbs or reusing last night’s leftover chicken in a chicken salad sandwich today.
5. Support Local Vendors
When you buy meat, vegetables, fruit, bakery items, and dairy products from local vendors, you’re cutting out a lot of transportation pollution and unnecessary packaging. Of course, you’re also supporting local farmers, ranchers, and dairy owners. You may also find that there are local artists, clothing vendors, and other producers in your area, supplying the products you use each day. For example, if you’re in the Dallas area, this Ashley Longshore bathing suit supports local artists and puts money back into the community through a scholarship fund.
6. Use Your Car Less
One of the guiltiest culprits when it comes to reduced air quality is the current transportation system. Cars send a lot of greenhouse gasses into the air, impacting climate change and filling the air with harmful pollutants. There are a lot of options for cutting down your portion of gas emissions:
- Take the bus
- Work from home
If everyone made even a small change in this area, the combined effort would be a huge step in the right direction.
7. Reduce Energy Consumption
It can be hard to imagine how leaving the lights on negatively impacts the earth, but the truth is that energy use does affect the environment. There are many simple things you can do to reduce energy consumption at home:
- Turn off lights you aren’t using
- Unplug electronics
- Turn the heat down by one or two degrees in cold weather
- Turn the thermostat up by a degree or two in warm weather
- Air dry your clothes
- Only run appliances when they are full
You can also look into the use of solar, wind, and geothermal methods of heating, cooling and lighting your home. An initial investment could lead to financial savings in the long run.
Focus on Conservation
The more you develop a conservation mindset, the better you’ll recognize opportunities to make positive changes. Once you’ve developed a habit of using reusable shopping bags, for instance, you may find it easier to recognize other reusable products. You may recognize products with natural ingredients as opposed to questionable chemicals. If you start today and consistently learn to decrease your impact on your natural environment, the repercussions could be widespread.