Your Top 16 Ways To Go Green
Alright, so you've read about the definition of green living, and the differences between green and sustainable. You might have even delved into the environmental health issues or reasons why people go green, if you're really courageous. Ready for your first action steps??
The following ways to go green are among the first and most impactful steps you can take toward sustainable (and meaningful) living. Most of these ideas are simple to implement, cost little to no money, and can have a huge impact on the environment and our natural resources. Some are rather big, take time to implement, and can't be done overnight.
If this feels like it's too much, I'd recommend breaking it down further with my free 7 Day Treehugger Kickstart...it will really give you the easiest but most impactful steps you can take in one week or less!
Or go through this list one at a time, see what you're already doing and what you can implement or increase:
Stop Junk Mail
This only takes about 10 minutes and saves an average of 69 lbs of junk mail sent to your home each year! It's super simple with a couple clicks now, and some preemptive choices later on. Learn how to stop receiving junk mail, as well as ideas on what to do with all that junk mail you've already received here.
Read More: How to Stop Receiving Junk Mail
Give Up Bottled Water
Nearly 30 billion plastic water bottles are sold annually in the U.S. with less than 20% of them being recycled (and even recycling them wastes unnecssary energy). Ironically, many bottled water companies use municipal water sources - that's right, tap water. See how to save resources and money by drinking from your own tap or home filtration system with a reusable water bottle.
Reduce Your Waste
Reducing the amount of waste you bring in and the amount of trash that goes to the landfill is an important part of any green lifestyle. But there's a lot more to it than just recycling plastic or throwing your trash in a bin. Although nearly everything on this site covers ways to go green by reducing waste, I have a collection of specific ideas at this link.
Read More: Ideas to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
From oil to natural gas, energy is getting harder to produce and more costly. It accounts for 21.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year and over 90% of all greenhouse gasses. Do your part to conserve energy and save money (you could reduce your bills by 50%!) by reading the articles linked on the ways to go green below.
Read More: 85+ Energy Saving Tips
An estimated 50% of all household water usage is wasted. (!!) It goes down the drain while we wait for it to warm up or evaporates more quickly than it needs to. In an era when our fresh water supply is diminishing due to pollution and drought, it's important to conserve all the water we can, as well as learn about and put to use greywater recycling practices.
Read More: 110+ Ways To Conserve or Recycle Water
Green Your Transportation
Bicycling, walking, carpooling or riding the bus are the best ways to commute sustainably. Inflating your car tires, driving slower, and combining trips will all help you save gas when driving is necessary. And for long distance travel, take the train or purchase carbon offsets which invest your money into alternative energies.
Eat Local, Organic Foods
With food being a huge part of our existence, this is one of the most important ways to go green. Most of our meals come from a minimum of 1,500 miles away. Some of what ends up on your plate has traveled around the world to reach you. And way too much of it is unhealthy to begin with.
Forego toxic chemicals and choose sustainable options. You'll not only limit disposable containers and save money, you'll create a healthy living environment for your family at the same time. There's a LOT to this topic, but here are a couple popular place to start...
Green Your Personal Care
Simplify your personal care with natural products. Take sink baths to reduce water, use organic products or no products at all, opt for an easy to manage haircut (or learn to cut it yourself at home). Also remember that healthy food leads to healthy skin and body.
Read More: Natural and Organic Personal Care
Raise Healthy, Eco-Conscious Children
Okay, let's zoom out to some bigger choices we can make. Raising our kids to be healthy and aware of the environment is crucial. Model with your actions and talk about the choices you make. Don't nag or lecture, but instead make it interesting and interactive. Everything from healthy living to good relationships are included in ways to go green with your kids.
Read More: Simple Living Tips for Families (and Pets)
Support Locally-Owned Businesses
Small businesses are more likely to support other businesses within the community, care for their environment, and conduct business in an environmentally-responsible way. They also work harder for your business, contribute more to charitable causes, create more jobs, limit outsourcing, and keep money circulating within a community, among many other things.
Read More: Why You Should Think Global, Act Local
Continue to Educate Yourself
As you're practicing these ways to go green you'll likely spark a lot of conversations. Get familiar with the reasons why green living matters with the articles listed in the Start Here section of the website, as well as many other resources to continue educating yourself.
Educate Others (Gently)
The biggest influence you can have on others is through your actions and your attitude. Be open and honest about your choices, but without judgment. Work the topic into conversations without overdoing it. Don't push the matter. Just let your example be inspiration and keep the lines of communication open so that friends or family will have a seasoned pro to turn to when they are looking for ways to go green.
Build A Strong Community
We live within a very disconnected culture. We're overscheduled and rushed and have among the lowest life satisfaction in the world. But those living a sustainable lifestyle often say the opposite while giving credit to the interconnectedness of their lives. Make time to care for yourself and find enjoyment in your life. Make talking and laughing with loved ones a priority. Volunteer and help those in need. Be a part of your community. And rediscover the wonders of the world by enjoying nature walks, planting trees, organizing neighborhood cleanups, and so on all as ways to go green.
Contact Your Representatives
Write or call your local city officials and ask them what your city or town is doing to go green. Do the same for state and federal leaders, demanding they hear you out on the environmental issues that matter most. Remain in contact with them, attend local or state meetings, and vote with your conscience instead of your party line. Encourage others to do the same. And stay involved in political matters with websites, such as Friends of the Earth.
Invest in Carbon Offsets
Even the greenest lifestyle still has an impact. Lessen yours by investing in carbon offsets. The money you spend purchasing carbon offset credits will be invested into alternative energies or other sustainable ventures.