As people who inhabit this earth, part of our innate duty is to help protect this planet so that all future generations will be able to enjoy it as well. This doesn’t mean each of us necessarily needs to morph into super eco-warriors, however. There are many changes that can be made that will have a low impact to your lifestyle while having a high impact on lessening your carbon footprint.
Plastic is a huge problem in our ecosystem, clogging up our oceans and causing destruction to many marine species. With this knowledge, it’s important to be very cognizant of our plastic usage and to try to reduce it as much as possible. Cutting out one-time use plastic (such as disposable silverware) as much as possible is ideal, as well as aiming to purchase items that are packaged in recycled material. When grocery shopping, try to remember to bring reusable grocery bags, or choose paper bags which are more easily recycled. With a renewed focus on environmental responsibility, there is also a plethora of options online for reusable snack bags and sandwich containers which you can use to replace one-use plastic sandwich and snack bags. An invisible way to reduce waste in your kitchen is to use a reusable coffee filter instead of disposable coffee filters. You could also skip the filter all together and use a French press for your morning dose of energy.
Many people who are embarking on this journey of reducing their family’s carbon footprint are also choosing to switch away from paper napkins and paper towels, and instead purchasing machine washable napkins and microfiber towels. Microfiber towels are not only better for the environment; they are more absorbent than their disposable counterparts. Fabric napkins are much more stylish, and can be made at home by the craftier people in the house using recycled sheets. Within this line of thought, making do with the clothes you have instead of running out to buy new clothes all the time is another way to help the environment. While clothing is an absolute necessity, it’s important to know when we can fix clothes instead of throwing them away. You can make a big difference on the environment and the amount of trash in our landfills simply by learning a few home economic skills such as replacing a zipper and buttons or updating a hem.
The temperature of our homes can make a surprisingly large difference on our environmental impact as well. The harder our air conditioning and heating systems have to work, the more electricity they use. By setting your heat a few degrees lower than normal or your air conditioning a few degrees higher than normal, you will not only help the environment, you will barely notice the difference and save money, too.
Another way to save money while reducing your carbon footprint is to grow a vegetable garden. When you purchase food in the grocery store, the unseen effect on the environment is the food needing to be trucked in from often hundreds of miles away in order to make it to you. When you grow your own food, you reduce the emissions from the trucks, you can control how it is grown (if you like it to be organic, this is the best way to know for sure that it is) and it will taste better. There is no better taste than a tomato on a sandwich that you just picked off the vine. If it isn’t feasible to grow your own garden, buy local produce from a farmer’s market instead. By making all of these little changes, the future of the earth, as well as your budget, will thank you.