Most of us are familiar with what climate change is — be it from school textbooks or our daily scroll through Twitter, climate change comes up often, and with it, the harmful impacts it can have on our beloved Planet Earth. We often hear about people adopting a ‘sustainable lifestyle’, but looking for ways to live sustainably and reduce your carbon footprint can seem intimidating, and more importantly, expensive.
There is a lot of misconception about how the only ways to truly live your best eco-friendly life necessarily requires buying highly-priced organic foods or driving electric vehicles. Thankfully, we have plenty of choices that are far more affordable, accessible and in fact, can help you save money while also helping the planet! Starting out with small and easy steps can be highly rewarding.
Here’s how you can do your part:
Conserve electricity by making little changes in your habits
Did you know that your electronic equipment such as televisions and laptops can consume power even when they are not being used and are switched off? This phenomenon is called vampire power, and unplugging your electronics after use can save almost 10% of your energy bill! Make it a habit to turn the lights and fans off when leaving a room. The more you get used to it, the more it cuts down your electricity use.
During daytime, instead of using artificial light, open up your curtains and let the sunlight in. Not only does it reduce your consumption and save you a lot of money on those pesky bills, but natural sunlight is also scientifically proven to improve your mental well-being and boost your immune system!
Change your methods of transportation
With the soaring fuel prices, there is no time like now to think of ways to minimize the use of your private car. Carpooling or availing public transport such as buses and trains are some of the best ways to reduce harmful emissions, but in a pandemic-ridden world, walking and biking to work are great options to look into.
Not only do these significantly decrease your carbon footprint, they can also substitute all your cardio needs and keep you super healthy! Biking to work is also an efficient method to beat traffic and can considerably lessen the time it takes on your daily commute.
Find easy ways to preserve water
There are innumerable ways in which we waste water that don't even cross our minds, but if you look around, there are some effortless ways in which you can cut down the wastage of water. We all love enacting whole concerts during our showers, but making an effort to limit your showers to a certain period of time can curtail your water usage. Fixing the leaky faucets that drip water all night and running your washing machines only when you have a full load of laundry are other little changes that can make a big difference.
Another easy habit to get into is making sure to turn off the tap while brushing, shaving, or washing your hands — this has more of an impact than we realise. Every drop counts!
Rethink your shopping habits
Every product that we purchase has an environmental footprint, from the manufacturing of the material to its disposal in the landfills. The best thing you can do that is both eco-friendly and budget-friendly is to just think hard before you buy — ask yourself if you really need something or if you are just shopping impulsively. If you do indeed need to shop, steer clear of fast fashion. Fast fashion brands offer trendy clothes at low prices and high discounts, which can be very tempting as most of our consumer behaviour is based on rapidly evolving trends, but that comes at a heavy cost to the environment and is often rooted in unethical exploitation of labour.
Fortunately, there are plenty of home-grown sustainable lifestyle brands cropping up all over the country, including yours truly. You can also look at second-hand thrift stores online for all your fashion needs. Another fun way to spice up your wardrobe is trading clothes with your friends - that way both of you get some fresh new pieces without spending a dime!
Disposable items such as single-use water bottles and plastic straws often end up in landfills and clog up our environment. Investing in reusable items is a pocket and environment friendly alternative that you should definitely look into. Buying a cute tote bag to carry your groceries in instead of taking plastic bags (which are much less sturdy and and ultimately end up costing you a lot more bucks) every time you visit the store is a great way to get started.
Carry your own reusable water bottle when stepping out of the house on a sunny day instead of buying bottled water every time you need to quench your thirst. Invest in a metal straw and your morning iced coffee will taste all the more sweet with the added bonus of living more sustainably.
Sadly, a huge chunk of harmful emissions come from large corporations and it is easy to feel like individual actions do not matter, but every bit of effort counts. These simple changes are thrifty and easy, but they can make a huge difference to the environment in the long run. So rope in your friends and family, and get started on your sustainability journey!