Photo credit: woodleywonderworks
Chances are, you already do quite a few of these already. These ideas certainly arenâ€™t new or ingenious. However, they are simple, easy and attainable. So if you see something new on the list, give it a go. There are always things we can work on.
Your Two New Best Friends...
...are your reusable shopping bag and stainless steel thermos, of course. The thing about shopping trips and coffee runsÂ is that theyâ€™re often unplanned, so you canâ€™t realistically say no to plastic bags or paper cups. The problem is that these one time slip-ups really add up for the planet. But its easy to avoid if you always keep these two essentials with you. Never leave home without them!
Go Veggie Once a Week
Itâ€™s probably no surprise that meat production and processing requires an immense amount of water and landâ€”more than is required to produce any other form of food. So even if itâ€™s just once a week, eating a vegetarian meal makes a difference. As an added bonus, a plant-based diet has countless health benefits, including lower cholesterol and a reduced chance of heart disease.
If fussy family members donâ€™t approve, try to make it exciting for them. Homemade pizzas (meat free), tacos and falafels are all great options that are both fun to make and eat.
At school and work, printing can often be unavoidable. But there are ways of making it a little better. First, try to suggest ways of avoiding printing to your boss or teacher. Other suggestions: go for recycled paper if you have the choice; print on both sides of the page; set your printer on the â€œdraftâ€ mode so it uses less ink; copy and paste only the essential parts of the document you want to print; and make sure to carefully proofread your work beforehand, so you wonâ€™t have to print it all out again.
Although shopping really isnâ€™t eco-friendly, at some point, things do need to be purchased. So replace your essential items (when they need to be replaced) with environmentally-friendly alternatives. Â
For food, get to know your community by visiting farmers markets and sampling local eggs, produce, baking and more. Clothing can be purchased second-hand, produced locally, or made with environmentally friendly hemp, soy, bamboo, or organic cotton. Clothing-swap parties are also a fun way to get new clothes free and have fun in the process. Of course, choosing new appliances that use less energy is essential. Finally, try to purchase things (clothing, accessories, appliances, etc) that are meant to stand the test of time. The motto â€œQuality over Quantityâ€ may not be part of our disposable society, but itâ€™s important to embrace this values of previous generations.
No More Junk Mail!
Say no to paper junk mail by adding a simple red dot sticker to your mailbox. Check out the Red Dot Campaignâ€™s website to get involved: http://www.reddotcampaign.ca/
Try Container Gardening
Even if you live in a condo. Even if theyâ€™re just herbs. Even if its just one container on your windowsill. There are tons of low-maintenance plants that require little water, and very little space. No green thumb required! Plus, thereâ€™s nothing like sprinkling your own parsley on top of your favourite spaghetti, knowing exactly where it came from, and that itâ€™s 100% pesticide-free. Start with herbs like basil and chives, and veggies like cherry tomatoes and peppers.
Hang Dry Your Laundry
Why waste the energy when itâ€™s so easy to let your clothes hang dry? Thereâ€™s something charming about that rustic, country look of a clothes line flapping in the summer breeze. Plus, it saves money.
Talk About It!
This may be the most important one. Itâ€™s great if we make choices ourselves, but we have to promote these ideas to others. And since youâ€™re reading this blog, you probably already know that. So spread the word and try to get others involved.
Preaching and nagging can get annoying, so attempt it in fun, creative ways. Have family members over for an organic, 100-mile, vegetarian meal; ask your friend to help you garden; brag to your co-workers about the awesome organic cotton t-shirt you just bought; or ask your neighbour if sheâ€™d like some free-range eggs you got from the local farmer.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and green new year!