So you want to move to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, but you’re not sure where to start? With global warming, disappearing habitats, increasingly common drought conditions and of course the ever present issues of pollution and environmental toxins, it’s hard to know what’s most important.
Switching to a greener lifestyle can feel overwhelming when you read about people who cook everything from scratch (from baking fresh bread to preserving their own fruit), grow their own fruit and vegetables, or source produce locally, make their own clothes, seem to walk or take public transport everywhere and somehow still have time to declutter their homes and install DIY solar roof panels.
It doesn’t have to be over whelming though. Just choose one or two areas to concentrate on at first. For instance, you might like to consider
- reducing your carbon footprint at home: start by turning off all your appliances at the wall when they are not in use, switching your old incandescent light bulbs for CFLs or LEDs, and washing your clothes in cold water; in the longer term consider getting insulation, solar hot water or even solar power; a home power audit is an excellent way of figuring out how best to reduce your power use. Look outside as well: you can use solar powered LED garden lights and security lights, and a solar swimming pool cover to keep your pool warm and reduce evaporation
- reducing your carbon footprint out of the home: shop weekly instead of driving out every day, and make a commitment to walk to the local shop if you forget to pick up one or two items in your weekly shop; decide to walk, ride your bike, or take public transport to work once or twice a week if you currently drive
- using less water: use an egg timer to help everyone in the house have shorter showers; make sure you wash clothes only when you have a full load, and see if you can wear some items one more time; don’t pre-rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher unless they really need it (and then use cold water)
- your food choices: commit to buying only in-season produce so it doesn’t have to be shipped half way across the world; choose some items to start buying organic, whether it’s certain fruit and vegetables, milk or perhaps meat; try growing some of your own – even if it’s just some herbs or lettuce to begin with.
Remember that going green doesn’t have to be an all or nothing affair. You can make a start in one or two areas, then, when you feel comfortable with those habits, make some more changes. Stop and evaluate every three months or so, perhaps around the start of each new season. Ask yourself how you are going with the changes you decided to make. Do you need to reevaluate those decisions, or are they going well? Is it time to move onto the next area? The only way to really fail at this is by doing nothing. You won’t be perfectly green overnight – but don’t let that stop you making changes right now. Make a small change today, and in a year you might be surprised to look back and see how far you’ve come.