Use this year to change your lifestyle and care about and protect the planet you have been given. If it cannot be done voluntarily, world governments are going to be forced to mandate very strict laws for human survival far worse than these fairly simple changes. Think less about self and more about generations to come.
Excellent voluntary green steps to take now in July 2014:
- If you are building a new home, make it green-built or LEED-certified.
- Buy a stainless steel coffee mug and a BPA-free water bottle and carry them with you for drinking your own organic coffee made at home and tap water instead of bottled water, soda, and juices.
- Eliminate paper waste. Change all possible billings to paperless only and pay bills using online banking. Let all paper magazine and newspaper subscriptions expire and do not renew them, reading only electronic versions. Cancel memberships in any organizations which cannot stop mailings and send electronic ones instead. Some will balk at first, but they will set up electronic communication in place of losing members. Take time to report mailings of advertisements you want cancelled. Do not use bulk mailings for your own business. All junk mail must be stopped and it does take an effort. At very minimum, recycle the paper mail that continues.
- Make purchases locally at local owners’ stores instead of big box stores and online.
- Buy and eat organic produce from local farmers’ markets and co-ops. Join a CSA. Better yet, start a garden and/or greenhouse and grow your own.
- Buy in bulk when possible and store extra in glass canning jars. Boycott items with extra packaging. Remove packaging from necessary items at the store as you purchase them and make your objections to the extra packaging known to store managers. Choose the items with the least waste. Avoid individual serving wrapped items like crackers or juice boxes.
- Do not just have cloth shopping bags at home. Carry them with you and use them in all stores when shopping. Buy less stuff.
- Become a serious vegetarian. Read the article below on reasons why.
- Minimize electricity use. Check on solar credits and free installations and install solar if possible. Install motion detector lights that turn off when no one is in the room. Install computer-controlled thermostats. Buy energy efficient appliances and on-demand hot water heaters. Buy surge protector plugs to shut down with one switch and eliminate electronic phantom load users such as televisions, computers, DVD players, printers, and cell phone chargers that continue to draw power when turned off or in sleep mode. Hang clothes on hangers to dry and use drying racks instead of clothes dryers. Use cold water for laundry with no detergents. Switch to LED light bulbs.
- Minimize water use. Install low-flow plumbing. Put closed bottles of sand in toilet backs to lessen water use in flushing. Install shower timers. Wash only full loads. Repair plumbing leaks and running toilets. Change lawns to native plants and gardens and do not irrigate, mow, fertilize or use pesticides. Use rain barrels or cisterns to collect rainwater. Install permeable driveways, patios and sidewalks to avoid stormwater runoff.
- Switch to rechargeable batteries. Do not buy toys and electronics that require batteries.
- Get a couple recycling bins from local waste disposal or locate a recycling center near you and strictly recycle everything. Get children involved in it. Read below for different types of recycling places for electronics, shoes, appliances, ink cartridges. Donate items to charity thrift shops.
- Do not waste food. Compost kitchen scraps and add the compost to garden soil to grow your own food.
- Eliminate as much individual car use as possible. Use public transportation. Get schedules so you know what is available and when. If you must travel by plane and train, buy carbon offsets on their websites. Locate near walking/bicycling trails close enough to food supplies and other necessary stores and walk or bicycle there if possible. Carpool. Replace SUVs and other gas guzzlers with fuel economy cars or bicycles.
- Support organizations that educate the public on ways to have smaller environmental impacts. Get on emailing lists for petitions, sign them and ask friends in social media and emails to sign as well. Stay abreast of latest environmental news.
Thank you for any steps you actually take right now.