By Neil Stawski
Going green can mean many things, but in today’s world, it’s especially important to be educated and mindful in regards to living an environmentally conscious lifestyle.
Many scientists agree that global warming is a very real threat, with consequences that could change the way we live alarmingly soon, and the best way to prevent those changes is to make an effort to find eco-friendly habits and stick with them.
Fortunately, there are many simple ways you can go green and help your community do the same. It’s possible to start small and embrace environmentally conscious habits that won’t break the bank, and when you’re ready, you can make bigger decisions down the road, such as modifying your home.
Read on to find some tips on how to make these changes no matter what your budget is.
Hop on your bike
If you live relatively close to work or to the places you visit most often, hop on your bike when the weather is nice and leave the car at home. Transportation of all kinds is one of the biggest contributors to global warming due to carbon dioxide emissions, which get trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, so finding alternate ways to get to where you’re going is a huge step in going green.
If biking or walking to work is out of the question, consider trading in your car for a hybrid or electric model, or one that is more fuel-efficient. Or, think about asking nearby coworkers if they’d like to carpool.
Try a vegetarian lifestyle
Eliminating or reducing your red meat intake can actually help the Earth, according to a study done by the United Nations, and leading a vegetarian lifestyle is one way to go green and focus on healthier habits at the same time.
“The livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2,” reads the study.
Reduce your dependence on utilities
During summer and winter months, most families spend the majority of their utilities use by running the air conditioner and furnace, by running lots of water, and by using extra electricity (especially during the holidays). These are all activities that contribute to global warming, so it’s important to find ways to reduce your dependence on those utilities by adding solar panels, using natural light from the windows, sealing up cracks around windows and doors, and installing low-flush toilets and energy-efficient light bulbs and shower heads. The installation of solar panels is probably the most expensive addition–with an average cost of $19,510–but there are plenty of ways you can be more energy efficient at home. Check out this guide on home energy and get a feel for the costs involved.
Share your ideas
If you’ve found some sustainable green tips, share them with your family, friends, and community. Talk to the people around you and start a conversation about the best ways to help the planet, both locally and globally. You might just find that many of your friends and loved ones want to live a green lifestyle but just aren’t sure how to get started.
Remember that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to be more environmentally conscious; think of the best ways you and your family can contribute to eco-friendly living and whether there are alternative ways to achieve it if it doesn’t fit your budget.
Neil Stawski is with ClimateWise, a clearing house for the latest climate change developments with news stories to information about the latest research.