Live Better: Easy Ways to Start Living a Greener Lifestyle

Live Better: Easy Ways to Start Living a Greener Lifestyle

Each and every of our lifestyle choice has a direct effect on our planet. The world is on the brink of an environmental catastrophe and unless each of us does their best to reduce their environmental impact, the planet may no longer be able to support the growing human population.

Taking care of the environment is a moral and social responsibility, so here’s what you can do to start living a greener lifestyle:

Reduce your plastic footprint

World population is expected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050, which means the already enormous amount of plastic waste produced by humans will by then reach alarming proportions. An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic are released into the world’s ocean via rivers every year and at least 267 different animal species have been affected by plastic pollution.

Plastic products are also detrimental to human health as chemicals released from plastic act as endocrine disruptors and increase the risk of a number of diseases, including breast and prostate cancer.

Reducing your plastic waste is much easier than you think. Instead of going through dozens of plastic water bottles every week, use a refillable stainless steel bottle, avoid buying plastic-wrapped convenience food, ditch plastic utensils, and switch to plastic-free beauty products.

Cut down on meat

Besides numerous health benefits of eating less meat, reducing the consumption of animal products is arguably the best way to reduce your ecological footprint.

Meat production is not only highly inefficient considering how much grains and water is consumed by livestock, but it’s also one of the main sources of methane emission. Methane is a greenhouse gas that, together with carbon dioxide, absorbs heat in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. In fact, intensive animal farming makes up for more combined greenhouse gas emissions than transport vehicles.

You don’t have to go 100% vegan to lessen your environmental impact. Every little bit counts, so start phasing out meat products gradually and replacing them with healthy plant-based protein sources like black beans, soy products, nuts, pumpkin seeds, lentils, chickpeas, and whole grains.

Swap the car for an electric bike

Live Better: Easy Ways to Start Living a Greener Lifestyle

Cars are one of the major sources of air pollution, responsible for around 15% of manmade carbon dioxide. According to a NASA study, motor vehicles are the number one net contributor to climate change pollution in the world.

While electric cars are more energy efficient than cars with an internal combustion engine, they’re not as eco-friendly as you may think. The production of electric cars requires large amounts of rare-earth elements such as neodymium. The extraction of neodymium has had a devastating environmental impact in places like China where 95% of the world’s rare earth are mined. So what’s the solution then?

Biking to work seems like an obvious choice, but regular bikes are simply not fast enough, so why not try a speedy electric bike like the ones available at Bicycle Online. E-bikes can travel up to 25km/h, whereas the average cycling speed on a regular bike is around 15 km/h.

The manufacture of electric bikes requires less energy and fewer materials than the production of electric cars and is comparable to that of traditional bikes. In facts, 80% of electric bike components are the same ones that traditional bicycles have.

Plus, running cost for electric bikes are much more affordable than those of electric cars and studies have shown that each time 1,000 people swap their car for an electric bike there is a $2 million saving to society.

Use jute bags

Live Better: Easy Ways to Start Living a Greener Lifestyle

Another way you can dramatically reduce your plastic waste is by using jute shopping bags instead of the plastic ones. Jute is a durable and affordable vegetable fiber that has a variety of uses, including making cloth for bags, clothes and shoes, curtains, carpets, and furniture.

Since jute can be grown quickly and cheaply with an enormous amount of cellulose extracted from the jute stems, it is considered one of the most sustainable fibers that can satisfy most of the world’s needs for wood. Research has shown that one hectare of jute plants can absorb up to 15 tons of carbon dioxide and release 11 tons of oxygen over the course of just 100 days, which is more than any other fiber.   

By replacing plastic shopping bags with bags made of jute, you’ll be doing a great service to the environment. Jute bags are not only reusable and can last for years, but they’re also biodegradable and compostable.

Save energy at home

The overuse of energy is one of the greatest environmental concerns facing the world. If the current rate of energy consumption continues, harmful gas emissions will increase by 70% by 2050, the global sea level will rise by 8–16 cm and the global average surface temperature will be 2.5 degrees Centigrade higher. This will cause 970 cities to be regularly exposed to the hottest three-month average maximum temperatures of at least 35°C. In other words, life on Earth will become close to unbearable.

Saving energy in your home is one of the most important steps to take if you want to help the environment in the long run. For starters, remember to shut off the lights and turn off all electrical appliances when you’re not using them, use energy-efficient light bulbs, and insulate your water heater to reduce energy consumption.

It’s also a good idea to invest in a programmable thermostat to cut down on your energy bill and use fans instead of air conditioning during summer months.

Make Your Own Cleaning Products

Household chemicals found in commercial cleaning products are one of the major sources of air pollution. These products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which evaporate at room temperatures and pose a serious threat, not only to human health but also to the environment. Some of the worst offenders among store-bought cleaning products include corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, acidic toilet bowl cleaners, glass and furniture sprays, and fragrant laundry detergents. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, chemicals in laundry detergents are toxic to marine animals and can lead to harmful freshwater algal blooms.

One solution to reducing the environmental impact of these toxic chemicals is to use DIY cleaning products. Start your spring cleaning by using a mixture of distilled water and white vinegar on all surfaces in your home. To remove those stubborn grease stains in your kitchen, wipe them with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil and then scrub off the residue with a sponge dipped in baking soda.

Other eco-friendly solutions for home cleaning include lemon juice, cornstarch, liquid Castile soap, borax, washing soda, hydrogen peroxide, pine oil, and salt.

Cut Back on Eating Out

People in industrialized societies are eating out more than ever and the decline of home cooking has led to a number of health issues among the general population, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Regular eating out is associated with dangerous levels of exposure to chemicals called phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals that disrupt hormones in the human body and are linked to numerous health problems, including infertility, breast cancer, ADHD, autism, and lower IQ.

But eating out is not only bad for your health, but it’s also killing our planet. Restaurants are one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, responsible for the high emission rates of organic aerosol into the atmosphere. Human-made aerosols caused by the burning of oil and coal absorb solar radiation and contribute to global warming. These tiny particles can travel enormous distances and can affect the behavior of clouds, leading to increased frequency of extreme weather events.

If you want to start cooking more sustainably at home, buy seasonal produce from a local farmer, reuse aluminum foil, invest in ceramic-based or cast iron cookware, and find ways to use your leftovers instead of throwing them out. By cutting back on eating out and preparing most of your meals at home you’ll reduce your consumption of harmful food additives, save money, and lessen your impact on the environment.

Reducing your intake of meat, ditching the car in favor of an electric bike, using less plastic and more environmentally-friendly materials like jute is just some of the easy ways you can contribute to saving our planet. By saving energy in your home, cleaning with homemade products, and cooking your own meals you will be doing your part in protecting the environment. After all, we’ve only got one planet and it’s our responsibility to keep it safe and clean for our own and the sake of future generations.

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