It seems these days that the word “green” is everywhere. I don’t just mean the colour; it is a lifestyle that respects the environment by purchasing and using products that won’t hurt our environment. There are simple ways for families to begin to ease into green living. It is possible to find a way to make healthy choices and protect the planet within the resources we have at our disposal.
Here are some ideas of things we can do every day to create good eco-habits.
Take showers, don’t take baths. You will on average save about half the amount of water showering that you would if you were taking a bath.
Turn down the thermostat on your hot water cylinder – A setting of 50-60 degree C is recommended.
Turn your appliances off! Learn to unplug every appliance that is not in use. Don’t leave the washing machine plugged in if you aren’t using it, don’t leave a cell phone charger plugged in when not in use. Energy consumption can be reduced by turning off the dishwasher after the final rinse and before the drying cycle. The clean dishes can then be wiped with a dry cloth. Also, don’t use a tumble dryer to dry your clothes. Take advantage of our good weather and dry your clothes outside.
Change your light bulbs. A compact fluorescent light bulb is more energy-efficient and will save your money in the long run. CFL light bulbs are energy smart; they’re more expensive, but they’ll last longer. Most of our energy comes from coal-fired Power stations that emit large amounts of pollution into the air.
Use green cleaning products. Switch from toxic to non-toxic, natural cleaning products. They contain no harsh chemicals and are much better for your family’s health.
Veg Out. Try eating less meat — especially red meat. Cows require a lot of feed or grass to survive; they pollute water with their waste and produce a large amount of greenhouse gases. The added advantage is that your health will benefit.
Purchase fruits and vegetables that are organic. Organic foods avoid the use of pesticides. This is better for the environment as the produce is grown naturally.
Avoid buying bottled water – Instead get a reusable container (BPA- free) to carry water. You will save a fortune and most importantly, you’ll be helping to save the environment by reducing the amount of plastic that is discarded.
Plant a tree. Not only does planting a tree beautify the area, it also provides a home for creatures and absorbs carbon dioxide, a major cause of global warming. Visit your local garden centre with your children to pick out a tree that will grow well in your garden. Children will enjoy helping you plant the tree and watching it grow.
Start your own compost heap. You’ll have a free supply of mulch from the compost that can be used on your lawn and garden. Compost is organic and non-toxic, extremely healthy for plants and the soil and gives back to the planet with minimal effort from you. It is also a great alternative to man-made fertilizers.
Recycle as much as you can. Create an easy way for everyone at home to sort their rubbish into one of these five areas – paper, plastic, glass, cans and tins. Then drop them off at the recycling bins or depots at your nearest school or supermarket.
Of course, there are multiple other ways to help protect the environment and this is just a small list of the things you can start doing right now. Take time to research other ways that you can “go green.”, and not only will you help the environment for tomorrow, you might even save yourself some money for today.
– Sharon Atkins