environmental problems that are happening in today’s world, we can easily become overwhelmed. This is understandable, but the truth is that collectively, we can all make a difference with helping the environment regarding choices that we make every day.
The following are 10 simple things that you can do to help the environment. What other ways can you think of to help the environment?
- Plant a garden. By planting a garden in your yard, in containers on your patio, or in a community garden, you will not only get the freshest, healthiest, and tastiest produce available, you will also dramatically reduce the energy and water resources that it takes to produce and transport all of that food on a commercial scale.
When you grow your own garden, you can also employ many ecological gardening methods that aren’t typically used on a commercial-scale, such as sheet mulching, and hugelkultur that efficiently save water and build healthy soil.
- Support your local farmers. By purchasing food directly from local farmers in your area, such as at a farmers market, you invest in your local community’s economy and reduce most of the distance that your food has to travel before you eat it. You also have the opportunity to get to know the people who are producing the food that you eat, and you can ask them if they produce it in environmentally-friendly ways such as grass-fed meat or biodynamic growing methods.
- Compost your food waste or keep a worm bin. Organic waste is a major part of the waste stream, and when it decomposes in landfills, it produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is 84 times more potent in global warming potential than carbon dioxide is¹.
By composting your fruit and vegetable scraps in your backyard or in a vermicompost (worm composting) bin (You can even keep one indoors all year round below your sink or in your basement!), you will keep a great deal of your organic waste out of the waste stream, and create a nutrient-rich compost that your garden or lawn will absolutely thrive with! Your houseplants might appreciate some of that great compost as well!
- Recycle and choose to purchase products with a high post-consumer content. When we recycle all of those newspapers, soda cans, plastic butter tubs, and glass spaghetti sauce jars, we reduce the energy, water, trees, and other natural resources that are required to produce more of them from raw materials.
Choosing to purchase products made from recycled materials helps to ensure that the cycle of recycling is completed and creates a demand for these products.
- Keep your tires properly inflated. Keeping your tires inflated not only ensures that they they will last longer, but you will realize much better fuel efficiency for your vehicle.
- Choose to reuse. Buy used or share the abundance! This is a very important part of the recycling cycle that we don’t tend to focus on nearly enough. If you must purchase something brand new, choose quality so that the product will last for a long time. If you can, try to creatively reuse products for different purposes, such as using a plastic milk or soda jug as a bird feeder.
Also, if you can lend an item to your neighbor or a member of your community, such as a gardening tool or a wrench, this will prevent the need for each person or family to buy the same thing.
- Turn down your thermostat. By turning down your thermostat by a few degrees in the winter and up by a few degrees in the summer for your air conditioning, you will use less electricity, save on your energy bills, and reduce your carbon footprint.
- Take shorter showers. Even reducing your shower time by a few minutes can save a lot of water and energy that is used to heat the shower water.
- Be fashionable with a reusable water bottle. Plastic disposable water bottles are becoming a big problem in the waste stream and are littering the landscape all over the world. Avoid your contribution to this problem by buying your own reusable water bottle that you will use over and over again.
- Use reusable shopping bags. Disposable plastic shopping bags are a huge waste of finite fossil fuel resources and they are also a large source of litter in the environment. Even when they are properly recycled, plastics can only be recycled so many times before they become unusable as a material.
The answer to this problem is to use reusable bags that you take with you when you go shopping. You can even make or decorate your own reusable bag- a great craft project for children!