How Can I Make Simple Changes That Positively Impact the Environment?
It’s almost time for the New Year. Again. Many of us decide to make changes in our lives around this time — that’s no surprise. Often, the resolutions we create for ourselves are dramatic, powerful, even overwhelming. Losing lots of weight, going vegetarian, quitting smoking — we all have our Ace in the hole. Too many years pass, however, when we lose sight of these lofty goals and before the end of the first quarter, we’re already off our game and back to smoking, back to sleeping in, off the daily scheme of going to the gym.
This isn’t a post about how to stay on track with your goals. This isn’t about making smaller steps in between milestones or pinning up a huge calendar to your wall and filling it up with black X’s every time you complete another day on the plus side.
That said, here is a list of ten tiny, realistic steps that I am going to take this year to go more green. If we all do what we can to even uphold a few of these things, the positive impact on our environment would be huge.
Four Easy Ways to Positively Impact the Environment
1.) Support Farmer’s Markets
Buying local has a dramatic impact on both your health and the environment. While you achieve the goal of supporting local, organic, independent farmers, you also have the opportunity to eat seasonally and raise the bar for yourself in terms of healthy eating habits. By the way — have you ever tasted a plum, or a tomato, or even locally grown, organic salad greens? You’ll never shop at the super market again if you have taste buds.
You’ll be filling your body with produce that is at its freshest, and increasing your consumption of organic produce is incredibly beneficial. The National Resources Defense Council notes that much of the U.S. produce will travel an average of around 1,500 miles before it makes its way into your super market. The negative impact on the planet is huge — think of the pollution alone that is created in that transport.
2.) Toilet Paper
Seriously. Find it online or at your super market, local Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. If your super market doesn’t have it — take a second and speak to customer service about ordering it, and do it every time you shop there. They’ll stock it eventually. We’re talking about toilet paper made with recycled paper. The impact on the environment in terms of the total number of trees saved each year is huge. Your bumm won’t know the difference.
3.) Cold Water Wash
Don’t personalize your laundry — sure, you like to take a warm bath, but do your old sweat socks, boxer shorts and yoga pants know the difference? A really simple thing to change in your daily or weekly routine, and the environmental impact is great. Procter & Gamble notes that if we all started to use cold water in the washing machines, we could save enough energy to light two and a half million homes for a year.
4.) Bad Bottled Water Habits
How’s this for facts: According to National Geographic magazine, Americans buy approximately 7 billion gallons of bottled water a year. This amounts to roughly 22 billion plastic bottles that eventually get thrown away, and often not in the recycling bin. Consider the (yearly) 1.5 million barrels of oil that it takes to produce those plastic bottles — this amount is enough to fuel nearly 100,000 cars for an entire year. Ways to improve? Buy a water filter and drink tap water that has been properly filtered. Order large bottle service from an organization like Arrowhead or Sparkletts, and drink from a glass at home or at work. At the very least, recycle the plastic bottles that you do use — always.
Stay tuned next week for another set of 5 or 6 more great ways to positively change the planet!