The overall health of the environment we all live in depends on us all making better choices with regard to the consumption of resources, and with how we treat our surroundings every day. A prolonged period of somewhat irresponsible choices has endangered our environment to the point where we may soon be facing a 'tipping point', or a point of no return about damage done to the environment.
Thankfully, global leaders are now taking the problem seriously, and there are some positive steps being taken by countries to check and hopefully reverse the damage done so far. Each one of us can contribute to that same effort, by making better choices in our daily lives. Here are some of the things you can do to become more eco-friendly in your own way, thus adding your voice to the general outcry for kinder and gentler treatment of our environment.
Be more energy-conscious
There are lots of ways that everyone can conserve energy in the household, and it just requires a little thought and awareness to realize many of them. For instance, you can turn off lights when they're not being used, you can lower your air conditioning or heating level at night, and you can have energy-efficient appliances installed throughout the home. Once you get in the habit of thinking about this, you'll find tons of ways that you can save energy yourself, and contribute strongly to the general conservation effort.
Buy reusable items
here are a great many items which are designed for single use, i.e. you use them one time, and then dispose of them. This is a tremendous waste of the energy required to produce these items. You'd be doing our planet a big favor by choosing reusable items instead whenever possible, because these will help you avoid the need to purchase more single-use products. Any time you buy something, you should get in the habit of considering what its life expectancy is - is it something that you can use for a number of years, or will you be disposing of it after a single usage?
Be conscientious about recycling
The notion of recycling has been around for years now, and some people really are conscientious about it, and do it regularly. Others however, are either lukewarm about it, or are too lazy to adopt it in any form. If everyone were to be aggressive about recycling, the effect on conservation would be astounding. If you're already a good recycler, encourage others to get on board, and if you haven't fully committed yet, now is the time to do so.
Avoid bottled water
This is a big sticking point with a great many people, because they've been led to believe that bottled water is safer and healthier for you. The sad truth is that in many cases, bottled water comes from public water supplies just as tap water does. Public water supplies are as healthy for you as any bottled water, and they're also just as safe.
If you honestly believe that your favorite brand of bottled water tastes better than tap water, you can have a filter attached to your spigot that will eliminate any undesirable elements clouding up the water. With so many people currently thinking bottled water is superior to tap water, tons and tons of plastic bottles must be produced every year, all from non-renewable sources, and all sapping away at the planet's energy supply.
Drive your vehicle less frequently
Almost everyone can stand to drive their vehicle less frequently, and to thus save on energy usage. Anytime you're just making a trip to a nearby grocery store, you should leave the vehicle parked and just take a stroll there on foot. Doing so will provide you with a health benefit, since you'd be getting in some great exercise, and of course it's the more eco-friendly choice to make as well. If possible, join a carpool so that a whole group of colleagues can join in on the energy conservation effort. You can also choose any available mass transit systems in your area, so you can take one more car off the road. Every little bit helps!
Buy sustainable products
Ideally, you should look for the specific designation on products which are endorsed by the Fair Trade and Organic organization, because this will tell you that the product was made in a sustainable manner, and that local workers were fairly compensated for their efforts. Coffee drinkers should specifically look for the designation 'shade grown', because this indicates that no forests were harmed or cleared in the production of the coffee beans.
Have less meat in your diet
You probably never realized this, but the meat industry happens to be one of the most destructive on our entire planet. It routinely gobbles up enormous amounts of water, it contributes strongly to greenhouse gas emissions, it requires deforestation, and it adds a great deal of pollution and chemical runoff to our fragile environment. By including more plant-based food items such as fruits and vegetables, you can help avoid all those harmful impacts to the environment.
Stop buying plastics!
Every year, tons and tons of plastics are delivered to landfills around the globe - and they will never deteriorate. When plastics enter the oceans, as they often do, it causes havoc with marine life, often killing off creatures like seabirds, seals, and turtles. You can choose to purchase reusable items as opposed to buying the more harmful plastics, because there are almost always such options available. One big way you can avoid buying plastics is to stop drinking bottled water (see above), and to avoid buying sodas sold in plastic containers. Almost everything sold in plastic form is also available in some other less harmful material as well.
These are the kinds of choices you can make that will help to sustain our environment, and to help stop the breakneck pace of global warming on our planet.