Many of the changes that are necessary for environmental sustainability require big lifestyle changes. These often seem daunting and overwhelming. So instead of trying to make these high-impact changes all at once, try starting off with small, sustainable changes. Here are some ideas.
Purchasing food from local farmers supports your local economy and allows you to eat seasonal, fresh foods. When food is bought from local farmers, it has less of an environmental impact. It doesn’t have to travel as far, so it produces less pollution. And you’re not supporting the environmental effects of large-scale food production. The environmental benefits of locally grown food are pretty obvious, but the economic benefits might not be as apparent.
Buying food directly from local farmers means that it isn’t being produced on a large scale. This type of farming is more sustainable and less damaging to the environment than mass-produced agricultural methods, like large industrialized farms with tons of equipment like giant tractors that create soil erosion and kill wildlife. You can learn more with TRVST and see how you can make a difference. As well, buying food directly from local farmers supports the local economy rather than having money go to a huge corporation based in another state.
Try carpooling or taking public transportation to reduce your driving. If your job is too far away to walk or bike, try working a few days a week from home. If you don’t have a long commute to work, consider biking or walking to run errands instead of driving everywhere. Driving less helps prevent climate change and reduces the greenhouse gasses that are created by your car. It also saves you money at the gas pump.
When you reduce your driving, you also avoid the costs of owning a car. Between vehicle registration fees, oil changes and new tires, cars are expensive to maintain. If getting rid of your car allows you to avoid these expenses while still being able to get around, that’s more money in your pocket. Driving less will also reduce the wear and tear on your car, which means you’ll have to spend less money getting it serviced, which goes back to saving the environment.
One of the easiest ways to reduce your environmental impact is by cutting down on waste. Reducing waste starts with buying less stuff in the first place. So try going through your possessions and getting rid of items you don’t use anymore. For things that can be resold, like clothing or books, check out a resale shop in your area, so you can consign or donate them instead of throwing them away. If a product can be recycled when it’s no longer needed, see if there’s a recycling program for that material in your city.
Some products have an easier time being recycled than others, though, so do some research into what specific kinds of materials are accepted in your city. Regularly sorting trash and recycling saves money too. If you have a small business, changing your purchasing practices to favor items that are recyclable is also a great way to reduce waste. Instead of buying plastic water bottles, opt for a reusable bottle and fill it up from the tap instead.
Use eco-friendly products whenever possible
By choosing eco-friendly options for household cleaning supplies, personal care products, and other things you use regularly, you can cut down on pollution that affects the environment. According to The Natural Step USA, every consumer choice has an impact on society and the environment. So rather than buying products made with harmful ingredients, look for eco-friendly options. You can even make a few small changes to your daily routine that have a big impact on the environment.
Replace your toothpaste with an all-natural paste made from baking soda and hydrogen peroxide instead of fluoride, which is better for the environment. Instead of throwing away paper towels when you get messy while cooking or cleaning, opt for reusable rags or dishcloths instead. Your local grocery store probably has any household products you need in order to reduce waste and be more environmentally conscious. It’s also a good idea to check out the product labels and do some research online to find safe and healthy products for you and your family.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the dire state of our environment, but each small change you make helps. Take it one step at a time, and remember that any change is better than none. When you’re trying to get your friends or family on board with eco-friendly changes too, offer to take the lead, so they can see your lifestyle changes in action. By making these changes and choosing eco-friendly businesses in your everyday life, there’s no doubt that you’re having a positive effect on the environment.