The effects of global warming and diminishing reserves of fossil fuels and other primary resources presents an unprecedented challenge to us all to make good choices for our environment. Conserving our dwindling resources and reducing the impact that we are having on the environment begins with how we use them and individuals can have a positive influence by making sustainable choices in their own homes.
There are many things common to most households which can have their impact on the environment reduced by developing environmentally friendly habits and making more informed choices. Often adopting these strategies is also beneficial in other ways as well; and making sustainable choices can often save you money and may even be a step towards a healthier lifestyle. Making sustainable choices for everyday things like where we get our energy, how far the food that we eat has travelled and how we use our vehicles all contribute to making a larger shift towards an environmentally sustainable future.
Energy consumption in the industrialized world has risen steadily since the industrial revolution and until recently not much thought was given to where we were getting that energy from. This mindset still continues today in the way that we use energy and Americans are easily among the highest consumers of electricity in the world. This makes saving power an excellent place for every household to reduce their carbon footprint by adopting environmentally friendly habits and making sustainable choices. Introducing simple habits around the house like unplugging appliances and using the sleep mode on the computers can reduce the amount of electricity that is used significantly. Changing to energy efficient fluorescent lights and replacing old appliances with modern efficient ones will pay for itself in the long term by reducing the household energy bills. To further reduce your carbon footprint it is now possible in many places to buy electricity from sustainable sources such as wind farms while adding solar panels to your roof can often put electricity back into the grid and reduce power bills to almost nil at the same time.
Food is an area where we have a big impact on our environment that may not be immediately apparent. The most obvious environmental concerns around our food are the amount of chemicals and hormones that are being used to produce them. Not only are many of these artificial production methods bad for the environment but they may also be having a cumulatively negative effect on our general health as well. Choosing organically USDA certified meat and produce and only purchasing sustainably farmed fish and seafood has become a popular option and there is a trend towards eating seasonal local food that reduces the distance that your food travels to get to you and decreases the energy used to keep it in storage as well. Of course growing as much of your own food as possible is the best way to reduce the food miles of the produce that you are eating and it is healthier too.
Anyone that commutes in the peak hours will immediately recognize the environmental impact that our vehicles have. We can all reduce the pollution from our vehicles simply by keeping them properly maintained and adopting a smooth driving style that encourages us to step on the gas pedal less. But the fact remains that there are still too many cars on the roads of the major cities all over the world and just using them less could have a profound impact on the environment. Carpooling or becoming involved in a car sharing scheme and even consolidating our errands so that we make less trips in our vehicles can reduce the amount that we use them by quite a lot. Finding alternative forms of transport for the many occasions when we don’t really need our cars not only helps the environment but also encourages us to get out and walk or ride a bike and so it also saves us money. It may also lead to the start of being healthier and living a happier more sustainable life too.
Also check out this very cool infographic.
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