6 Ways to Live Green in 2019 - Guest Post by Abby Golder
Living a green lifestyle is about more than just using the right water bottle or separating your recyclable goods from the garbage. There are so many steps you can take in 2019 to minimize your impact on the environment.
Try active transit
Automobiles are responsible for 14-percent of air pollution and also create greenhouse gases that help drive climate change. Shipping and refining fuel has a huge environmental impact on the amount of carbon released into the air.
On the contrary, using your feet or a bicycle has a minimal impact. Try walking or cycling to your errands and to work. Check in with the human resources department at your job to see if your company has a bike room or any incentives to use active transit.
The Bike League sponsors a national Bike-to-Work Day in May, celebrating and sharing the benefits of not using a car for commuting. If you do have to drive, research cars to find the most fuel-efficient one that fits your needs, and plan your errands to minimize your time in the car.
Enjoy local, in-season food
Shipping food across the country, ocean, or the globe uses so much fuel. Plan menus to try to use food that is in-season, as it not only limits the environmental impact but tastes so much better. Visit local farmers markets to ensure local, fresh produce, or perhaps start your own garden to enjoy homegrown vegetables and herbs from your own backyard.
You can even compost to cut down on waste and enrich your garden's soil. Even if you don't have a green thumb, try adding meatless Monday to your weekly meal planning, as raising livestock uses up fossil fuels and water.
In fact, the global food system, which includes agriculture, accounts for 30-percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than double what the transportation industry produces. Buying local produce ensure that your food doesn’t have to travel nearly as far to reach you. Also try to purchase minimally processed and organic foods. Not only will you be healthier, you’ll be living greener and supporting local business!
Consider every use of plastic
The news on plastic is dire. Not all plastic can be recycled and most plastic can live forever. Plastic litter is everywhere and so much of it has ended up in the ocean that there is an island of plastic trash floating in the Pacific that weighs 80,000 metric tons.
The main way to fight is to not add to it. Use reusable grocery bags, vegetable bags, and a reusable water bottle. Bring a cup with you to your favorite coffee shop. When you are cleaning your home, make sure to discard materials responsibly. Try compostable tableware instead of plastic, and cloth tablecloths instead of disposable plastic ones. When packing up leftovers, use glass or durable plastic containers instead of throwaway types. If you're reading this, you probably already know not to litter, but be sure to teach that lesson to your children, family, and friends.
Think secondhand first
The onset of fast fashion, the cheap clothing available at big box and online retailers, means clothing is bought more -- and discarded more. Clothing takes up water and fossil fuels and transporting it from factories in Asia to stores across the U.S. creates greenhouse gases.
To cut down on this cycle, try buying clothing secondhand. Check out consignment and thrift stores in your area. If you prefer to shop online, sites like ThredUp, Poshmark and the RealReal specialize in gently used clothing. Learn how to mend small rips and lost buttons to prolong clothing. When you want to clean out your closet, donate your clothes, or bring them to a thrift shop to make sure you are not adding to a landfill.
Limit the chemicals you use by going DIY
Whether cleaning your house, cleaning your clothes or cleaning yourself, there's a good chance you're using chemicals that go down the drain. Natural alternatives can be cheaper and just as effective.
Try using vinegar as a rinse to remove smells from clothing. Vinegar also works to clean your home services and windows. While the smell isn’t appealing at first, it doesn’t stick around long and is a much healthier alternative – for both you and the environment - to chemical-based cleaning products.
Take advantage of these other alternatives to household cleaners:
Oven cleaning products are chock full of hazardous chemicals. Use a paste of water and baking soda to loosen the grime from your oven.
Instead of stocking your shower with chemically produced soaps and scrubs, make a scrub using olive oil and brown sugar for an exfoliant as good as anything you can buy in a store.
Reuse and cut down on paper use
Recycling paper and limiting paper usage can save energy, cut down on greenhouse gases and keep paper from a landfill. Start by limiting the amount of paper that shows up on your front door by opting out at DMA Choice, and stopping pre-approved credit card offers at Opt Out PreScreen. Next, consider how you use paper throughout the day. When printing and copying, use both sides of the paper and reuse printed paper as scrap before buying a set of notepads. You'll save money and help the environment.
The key to every tip is being mindful of how you consume. Thinking about where the items you eat, wear and use come from, and where they go when you are done using them, is the first and most important step to living green.
Note from Bruce’s Roots
Thank you so much Abby for making time to write this piece for our blog. We truly appreciate you! I agree with her thoughts and that sustainability must be a topic we’re all thinking about it. Doing every bit helps, but I do think it’s very important to point out that the animal agriculture industry impacts the planet more than all of transportation combined. I have an entire 75 minute presentation on why I advocate plant-based eating and the impacts on the planet. It just doesn’t make sense to give most of the food farmers are growing to animals so humans can eat them, mainly soy and corn.
Also, please check out L/L Supply as they’re a sustainable BC brand making clothing from up-cycled pre-consumer waste. Code BRUCESROOTS for a discount! I love their hats and tees.
I’d love to hear your comments below and please share with your community to get the conversation started. Thank you, Jordan