Global climate change is already having an effect on the environment. Glaciers are shrinking, water levels are on the rise, plants and animal species are disappearing. Being eco-conscious is not just about plastic waste. It is about making a lifestyle choice that - quite honestly - determines our success and failure as a species on the Earth. Not everyone can afford solar panels or other expensive alternatives, but with small actions and changes in our daily lives, you can become more eco-friendly.
Recently, a new model, which is based on historical climate data, has projected that the planet will cross the threshold for dangerous warming (+1.5 C) in the next seven years. If the global temperature rises above that level, scientists say that it will be the point of no return, and the planet will face the devastating impacts of more extreme events like wildfires, droughts and loss of coral reefs. According to a poll, almost two-thirds of people in the world believe that climate change is a global emergency. This is why over the years, we are observing mass protests and children going on strike!
Scary, isn’t it? Well, there’s good news. We can meet this challenge and change our fate, but we have no time to waste. It is important to wake up to the reality of the damage that human activities are causing to the planet and take action.
Perhaps you’re wondering, how can I be more eco friendly? What can I do to reverse the damage? It might seem overwhelming, but all it takes is small steps to start living an eco-friendly lifestyle.
After all, it is up to us to make eco-friendly changes to the way we live. I know that adopting an entirely eco-friendly lifestyle does not happen immediately, so it’s best to adapt small, conscious changes that you can slowly transition into your daily, eco-friendly habits. It simply begins by learning how you make simple and easy changes to be more eco friendly. This blog gives an in-depth answer to 'How to live an eco-friendly lifestyle?' and 'how to have an eco-friendly lifestyle at home and work?'. Read more about eco-friendly changes and eco tips and tricks for sustainable living.
Let us start by understanding the mindset to recognise ways to live more eco friendly.
What is an eco-friendly lifestyle? What is it like to living more sustainable lifestyle?
Being eco-friendly or living an eco-friendly lifestyle is gaining a lot of attention. Going green is the new mantra where protecting nature is becoming a priority. An eco-friendly lifestyle is a way of living life with intent and consciousness. This intent is primarily concerned with not harming the environment through our daily interactions with it. It is much more than just eco-friendly living - it extends to actual green practices that influence how communities, the public and businesses align with eco-friendly living. Being eco-friendly is much more than just turning off the lights and separating your waste - it is about changing your mindset and approach to the way you live.
How can you start living an eco-friendly lifestyle?
You have made a good decision - for yourself and the planet. But before you start, take note of the basic principles of life. To make a conscious change, a person needs to have the willingness to make new choices and a positive attitude towards the planet and the environment.
Being aware of the lifestyle: a person can begin their eco-friendly practices by being aware of basic lifestyle routines. Be conscious about how you travel, how you use water on a daily basis or even which toothbrushes you use. Awareness is the first step to conscious and eco-friendly change. It will automatically help you make environmentally friendly choices.
How can I be more eco friendly? The Checklist
Now that you are aware of the resources, the next step is action. With all the negativity in the media about the planet and the current state of climate change, let’s focus on taking action and becoming more eco-friendly through lifestyle changes that are relatively easy to follow!
First, stop beating yourself up if you forget to take your reusable cup or cloth bag for shopping - it only adds to eco-anxiety. Remember: you don’t need to be perfect or go zero-waste all at once. It is unrealistic and simply not necessary - it’s much better to start small and stick to the habit than do everything at once, get overwhelmed and give up. After a while, just like with your keys and mobile, you’ll get used to grabbing your water bottle and reusable bag when leaving the house! It will eventually become a habit.
There are three foundational stages to becoming eco-friendly:
- Learn which items cause less harm to the environment
- Identify your carbon footprint and take actions to reduce it.
- Support others who work to produce eco-friendly products and work for sustainable communities.
The first step is immediately acting to shift your consumption of resources - changing your habits while cooking, disposing waste, the type of packaging you use and how you use natural resources. I will share a bunch of eco-tips and ways to live an eco-friendly lifestyle later in this blog.
The second aspect is to look into your carbon footprint. You might not be able to fully eliminate it, but you can look into ways to act responsibly to reduce your carbon footprint to the best of your ability.
Carbon emissions from lifestyle choices like diet to transportation have an impact on the climate. This is a global problem, but you can be a part of its solution. Use a carbon footprint calculator to see how much carbon your lifestyle emits. Do what you can to reduce your carbon footprint and offset the rest if possible.
The last step on the checklist is to engage with other eco-conscious people, communities and businesses. Find a community that feels comfortable that promotes sustainable living. You don't have to do it right away, making it the last aspect of the eco-friendly lifestyle checklist. Other eco-friendly people, communities, and groups can help you make progress in your eco-friendly lifestyle journey, supporting you with helpful practices and ideas.
Feel free to start with adapting comfortable and easy changes; otherwise, these practices might seem overwhelming and can result in eco-anxiety. So do as much you can and transition to one new eco-friendly habit at a time.
Simple and easy changes to be more eco-friendly
Eco-friendly practices can sometimes get overwhelming, especially for someone who is just starting on the journey to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Please see the list below of simple and easy changes you can make to be more eco-friendly.
How to make your house more eco-friendly
Consciousness doesn't make much difference unless we work together to take action. We are the masses and have the power to make a difference. Due to the global pandemic, we are all spending a lot of time indoors at home, so why not start with making your home more environmentally friendly?
- Reduce your consumption: the bitter truth is that we consume far too many items. Put real thought into asking yourself if you truly need a new item before buying. Think about its purpose and the reason for buying it. By taking the time to think about what you buy, you may find that you buy less, save money and also reduce waste.
- Use cold water to wash clothes: according to Energy Star, 90% of the energy in a washing machine is used to heat the water. You can skip the heating by choosing to wash in cold water. This way, you are not only reducing carbon emissions but also extending the life of your clothes. Hot water can harm the fabric and fade the color faster. You can also skip using the dryer during hot and sunny days.
- Swap regular bulbs with LEDs: investing in the right energy-efficient bulbs makes a big difference! You can save a lot of electricity while making your home more environmentally friendly. LED bulbs are better alternatives to conventional ones: they last longer, are sustainable and help save a lot of money.
- Get a compost bin: a compost bin can help you avoid wet waste and you also get free fertilizer for your plants! Nowadays, compost bins are designed to be neat and odor-free.
- Get smarter with your kitchen: this step requires another blog post itself, but I would like to highlight a few eco-friendly practices in the kitchen. To be more eco-friendly in the kitchen, you can swap a pod coffee maker for a drip coffee maker. Switch to the toaster if you want to make a toast because the toaster is quicker and uses less energy than an oven. Try to reduce food waste by learning how to store food, creating a sustainable meal plan and only buying food once your fridge is empty.
- Use natural cleaning products: natural cleaning agents are just as effective as conventional ones. The best part is - they don't contain any harmful chemicals that are bad for your health and the environment. If you find the eco-friendly cleaning products expensive, you can actually make your own using ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, lemon and some essential oils.
How to be eco friendly in everyday life?
One eco-friendly change is living a minimal lifestyle - cutting down on needless purchases. It might sound hard, but we need to go back to this practice. Ask your grandparents and they can teach you a lot about reducing waste and repurposing. Items and objects won’t bring you happiness and buying things that you don’t need brings more clutter into your life while also unnecessarily uses resources.
How can fashion be more eco friendly?
- Try vintage clothes: you can explore some second-hand and vintage shops or visit a local charity shop. You can also buy thrift vintage clothes online. Ditch fashion trends and go evergreen with your style.
- Buy less: if you can, reduce how often and how much you shop. You can try creating a capsule wardrobe - a set of evergreen clothing pieces with neutral tones that can help you create thousands of looks with a limited number of items.
- Look out for eco-friendly materials: invest in clothes made from natural fibers like cotton. These materials are comfortable and have no microfibres that get into our waterways after washing.
- Learn to DIY: it is not rocket science to learn how to hand-sew or stitch fabrics. You can cut and sew to transform your old clothes into something new or fix items when they rip or break
How to be eco friendly with food?
- Consider a plant-based diet: you don't have to become a vegan overnight to make a big impact. Realistically, the majority of people just need to cut down meat consumption to a couple of days a week. A shift in your diet can quickly help you become more sustainable.
- Eat locally: it is not sustainable to consume ingredients that are sourced from other countries halfway around the world. If you buy food locally, you are also supporting small-scale local farmers' markets that tend to be a more sustainable option.
- Think about packaging: you can explore zero-waste shops that offer unpacked food products. In the supermarket, you can opt to buy unpacked fruits and vegetables or shop from local markets where food is not packaged and often fresher!
How to be eco-friendly at work?
Being eco-friendly is not limited to just the home. There are plenty of things that you can do in your office today to be more eco-friendly at work (once we can all return to the office!).
Check out some of our recommendations and see what fits in your busy schedule below:
- Recycling bins: first, learn about what is and what isn’t recyclable. If your office does not provide any recycling bins, talk to your manager or someone from the HR team and suggest getting some.
- Cycle/Walk/Carpool to work: this has a massive positive impact on the planet and your health too! Transportation accounts for a significant portion of carbon emissions.
- Go paperless: printouts aren’t as common as they used to be. If your office tends to use a lot of paper, suggest going paperless or printing double-sided to reduce the amount of paper used.
- Bring a thermos for coffee/tea and reusable containers with your lunch: do you drink coffee/tea at the office regularly? Consider getting a flask instead of using paper or plastic cups. Bring your lunch in a reusable container that you can wash and take back home.
- Turn off the power: our devices consume a lot of energy, even when they are not being used. Unplug the charger when it’s not in use. Small adjustments like lowering the screen brightness, reducing the number of tabs on the screen and downsizing the number of applications you have can help you become more sustainable and eco-friendly at work.
Food for thought
Be mindful and aware of your actions and their influence on the environment in your daily decisions and actions. Whether it is the amount of plastic, paper or water you use or reducing your consumption, you have the potential to make a big impact to protect and heal the planet. There are so many ways to get started with eco-friendly living! Just remember, you don’t need to do everything all at once: start with one sustainable habit at a time.