“Going green”, “go green” and “living the eco way” are expressions we hear almost every day. We live in the 21st century and we can no longer use nature’s resources in an abusive way. Humanity now has to deal with global warming, pollution, greenhouse gases, animal and plant species becoming extinct, people dying of thirst and hunger. It’s alarming to find out every day how our consumerist way of living is destroying the planet we live on and, implicitly, has dramatic effects on human life too.
It’s no wonder more and more people are becoming aware of these environmental health hazards and starting to take measures in order to reduce them and protect the planet. Generally speaking, going green means to implement certain changes in the everyday life to help save the world and environment, thus protecting our own life and health.
What does going green actually mean?
Going green is considered to be a lifestyle, filtering through all parts of our daily life and with practice it becomes really simple. From eating to the way we clean our houses, wash our hands or choose to travel. Living the eco friendly way means to reduce the impact we have on the environment as a result of inhabiting this planet.
Going green means to become more environmentally aware and to implement certain lifestyle habits designed to protect the planet with all its resources and lifeforms. It’s about respect and altruism for nature, animals and humans; it’s about reducing the amount of pollution and waste we generate. It all comes down to three basic rules we can implement in our everyday life:
- conserve the planet’s resources (energy, water, minerals, oils etc.)
- reduce any kind of pollution (air, light, noise, water pollution etc.)
- respect and protect nature and all its lifeforms.
Easy steps for going green
The beauty of finding ways to go green is that you don’t have to suddenly change your lifestyle, completely and drastically. You can take small easy steps, knowing that any “green” action you take will have in some way a positive impact on the environment. Here are some approachable everyday steps you can take to start living the green way:
- Save water
Our planet is becoming more and more arid, with huge amounts of water being used every day for our “comfort”. The bottled water debate is growing with situations like the ground water in Pakistan being drained by Nestle to feed their growing bottled water business. Local villages are left with nothing in their wells but sludge… avoid bottled water and use a refillable bottle that you fill from home and take with you. Keep the distribution of this vital resource fair.
If we look at statistics, it seems pretty incredible we still have water on this planet. For example, the making of a single T-shirt requires 20.000 litres of water! Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to stop wearing T-shirts, but what you can do is stop buying a new one every week. What you can also do is save the water you use on a daily basis: turn off the tap when you brush your teeth or when you are in the shower, shampooing your hair; don’t use the washing machine when you have only two plates and some cutlery to wash; choose showering instead of long baths in the bathtub.
- Save electricity
Wasting light and heat is not only bad for the planet, but for your finances too. You can seriously cut the household expenses if you turn on the lights only when you really need them, unplug any device you are not using (even in standby, the computer and TV are consuming electricity!) and use energy saving light bulbs instead of the classic bulb – they last up to 10 years and consume 80% less energy!
- Save paper
Don’t throw the books, newspapers, bags and other objects made of paper in the dumpster. Collect the waste paper and take it to a collection and recycling center. You will save a tree and if you convince your friends to do the same, together you can save a whole forest! Also, write on both sides of the paper sheet and, whenever you get the chance, buy products made from recycled paper.
- Protect nature, animals and plants
Unfortunately, there are still many people who treat nature as their own trash container. They go camping in a beautiful forest and leave behind tons of plastic bottles and bags, napkins, juice and tin cans, cigarette butts etc. Never ever throw anything, no matter how small, on the pavement or anywhere else for that matters, especially if it’s plastic – this synthetic material is not biodegradable and it takes more than 200 years to decompose! Always collect your waste and throw it in trash cans.
To go green means reducing your meat consumption, so you could consider becoming vegetarian or vegan. The meat industry is extemely polluting and consumes natural resources to artificially grow animals and slaughter them for consumption. People can live without meat and numerous studies have revealed that vegan and vegetarian diets can reduce the chances of developing different types of chronic dietary related diseases.
- Protect the atmosphere
The greenest way to travel is to walk or to ride a bike. It’s healthy for you and this way you don’t pollute the air. When you need to travel long distance, opt for trains, buses or cars, but try to avoid travelling by plane. For a 100 mile flight, the plane releases into the atmosphere more carbon dioxide than a fridge during a whole year! You can always plant a tree in order to clean the air you are breathing. It’s a simple gesture that will do so much for the planet, and for you as well: a mature tree can provide the oxygen two people need in order to breath for one year. Try joining a land care group and plant lots of trees and help re-vegetate over grazed and damaged areas of your city or town.
- Eat green
The green way of eating means to exclude (or at least reduce as much as possible) meat from your diet and to buy mainly locally grown fruits and vegetables. This way, you can help reduce the demand for shipments of processed food products, which means less greenhouse emissions in the atmosphere. Also, buy eco, bio or organic fruits, vegetables and foods whenever you get the chance. One of the fastest growing movements is the 100 mile (160 km) diet. It means you only source and consume food found within that distance from your home. It can have make a huge difference.
- Dress green
Think of all the animals that are hunted or bred and killed for their skin, fur or hair, and then decide not to be a part of this ugly face of the fashion industry. There are many brands that use Eco leather or faux fur to make clothes and accessories that look no less beautiful than the ones made of genuine leather. Also, apply the “reuse & recycle” process to your clothing too. Don’t throw your clothes away, always donate them to charity or find some other ways to use them – an old T-shirt, for example, can become a good duster or dog bed or coat.
Why go green?
All these little things we do in our everyday life matter so much for the health of the planet! They can help slow down global warming, air pollution, wasting water or de-forestation. It’s short sighted to live our life completely ignoring the harmful effects our lifestyle has on the environment and on our children and the generations to come. It’s in our power to live green and healthy for our sake, and for the sake of our planet as well. Our little everyday gestures can be incredibly helpful for the world we live in.