The modern temptations of consumerism and ever-growing number of choices in every aspect of our lives has led to an increasing confusion on whether or not we are living in an eco-friendly manner. False positives attached to certain terms such as “organic” seem to transcend the overall value of a product, even if those organic, healthy apple slices are packed in a plastic, non-bio-degradable bag.
So in that sea of falsely advertised choices and hidden dangers of our contemporary lifestyles, how can you tell if your life is tailored in the true spirit of going green and protecting our environment? Let’s take a look at a few typically overlooked choices that might affect your eco-footprint.
What’s in your fridge?
A hectic pace of life leads to hasty choices, and most would rather buy pre-made, pre-chopped, pre-everything groceries and meals, believing that they are saving time, space and energy (including, but not limited to electric energy), making them a health-conscious buyer. Unfortunately, few brands will sacrifice convenience and profit for our Mother Nature’s well-being, including our own.
On the other hand, buying fresh groceries from your nearest farmers’ market and sustainably-produced meat might require a few extra trips, but in the end, it’s worth your while. Not only will you cut your unhealthy exposure to plastic packaging and the toxins it contains, you will also stop contributing to global waste production, and you’ll help your local economy flourish.
If you’re ready to take it a step further, you can grow your own little garden, which is possible even indoors with a few pots, seeds and regular care. We also encourage you to consider vegetarianism and veganism to reduce your eco footprint drastically. And of course, composting your food waste and scraps!
Related Post: Top 5 Tips for Taking Up the Vegan Challenge
Eco-friendly body art
While there are still many people who choose tattoos as a form of self-expression and adornment, few are aware of the environmental and health consequences commonly associated with inking. Many pigments contain the same ingredients, including heavy metals that are present in car paint, which is far from eco-friendly or skin-friendly, to put it mildly.
Certain black ink pigments even contain animal bone, which is another reason to opt for less harmful ways of decorating your body, especially if your lifestyle includes choices that reflect beliefs regarding animal cruelty.
Raising awareness among the young has led to an increase in laser tattoo removal as they understand the importance of embracing the natural look again, since this is not just about being trendy, but staying healthy. They are also being educated about the content of the ink predominantly used in the industry. Perhaps you can find a different, less harmful way of making a statement and ornamenting your body.
Rethink your water consumption
People who are more ‘privileged’ often don’t consider water a resource that needs conserving. Taking long showers and frequent baths is a luxury some people don’t want to give up. Unfortunately, this entitlement mentality is at odds with the objective of sustainable living.
Even the smallest of deeds can make a difference when it comes to taking action on a daily basis to help protect the environment, and water usage is a perfect case in point. So if you want to make more significant changes, you can redesign your bathroom and kitchen to install water-efficient faucets and shower-heads, particularly if you don’t want to give up your water ‘luxuries’.
But if you are serious about reducing the impact of your urban lifestyle, try to take brief showers, make sure you have no leaks, wash your dishes without leaving the water running, and brush your teeth with the same principle in mind. Little changes like these can save gallons of water on a monthly and annual basis, so never underestimate the power of baby steps!
Cleanse with care
From your basic soap bar, dish detergent, oven cleaner, all the way to your facial masks and scrubs, if your kitchen and bathroom cabinets are filled with bottles and tubes of store-bought products, you’re likely exposing yourself to numerous toxins, and producing excess waste.
You can ask your grandma or Google (both seem to have an equal amount of useful information), but baking soda, apple cider vinegar and plain water can do wonders for cleaning your home, while coconut oil, bananas, honey, yoghurt and active charcoal are all magnificent for your skin health.
Instead of continuous exposure to toxic fumes and other harmful chemicals, you can detox your home and your skincare regime with a few simple changes. And better yet, why not adopt a no make-up routine and vow only to wear it on special occasions? This is by far the best way to reduce the environmental impact of your beauty regime.
Brighten up the right way
While recycling and second-hand stores have become an accepted part of our lives, another habit that can have a negative impact on the environment is often overlooked – the light bulbs in your home. We tend to buy the incandescent ones, but they use too much electricity, and most of it for heat as opposed to light, and they have a very short lifespan.
On the flipside, LEDs and CFLs are much more energy-efficient, durable, safer and healthier, both for you and the environment. They are slightly pricier, but with the reduction of your electricity bill, let alone the priceless value of their durability and safety, you will end up saving money, energy and the planet.
And don’t forget to turn lights off if not in use and while you’re at it, make sure to reduce your eco footprint in other ways as well. Check out our article ‘11 Easy Ways to Keep Your Carbon Footprint Down Everyday‘ for specific tips.
How many choices on this list can you start making even today? With just a little more conscious decision-making and more awareness, there’s so much we can do on a daily basis to safeguard the environment and ensure a worthy legacy for the generations that will inhabit this pale blue dot we call home.