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Want to be green? Our guide to environmentally sustainable living will get you started...
It will show you how to slash your impact on the planet with little or no pain, and real gains for your wallet and health.
Preventing global warming and other environmental problems is a big challenge. So big it's tempting to give up before you start. But big challenges demand big solutions, and rising to this particular challenge means a green revolution that will transform society in exciting, unexpected and positive ways.
Being greener can transform your own life in positive ways too. Doing something positive helps you to feel positive. Learning to live with less can be liberating, allowing you to step off the consumer treadmill. Buying less and using less energy will save you money. Joining local trading systems, community gardens and green networks will help you feel part of your local community. Walking, cycling, avoiding synthetic chemicals and eating less meat will make you healthier. And spending more time enjoying nature, whether in your garden or in the bush, reduces stress.
Being green seems hard (at first) because we live in a society that isn't (yet) green. But being green is easy, because you're working with nature, not trying to fight it. It's not rocket science: mostly common sense and changing a few habits.
You're unlikely to do everything in this guide all at once. That's OK. Even if you only do one thing, it's better than doing nothing.
Global environmental problems can seem overwhelming but the best place to start is by taking responsibility for your own actions. It may seem a small contribution but, as the old saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
This guide helps you take that first, green, step.
make it a habit
It takes three weeks to break or change a habit. If you make an effort to establish each new green habit for three weeks, after that it will just come naturally and you'll stop even noticing you are "being green".
Grasp these underlying principles and
you're on your way to being green...
Everything begins with this principle, because until we start to value nature for itself - and not simply because of how it affects us - we'll keep creating new environmental problems even if we solve our current ones. A sustainable society has to work with nature, not against it.
be happy with less
Making all those new cars, computers, plasma TVs, clothes and so on eats up raw materials and energy, so the less new things we buy the better for the planet. Buying and using less need not mean being miserable or less fulfilled. Quite the opposite. Once you realise you don't need these things to be happy, it can make your life simpler, save you money and give you more time to enjoy life.
reduce, reuse, recycle
Practise the green "three R" - in that order. Reduce (that is, buying less things, as above) is best and easiest. After all, if you don't have it, it isn't a problem. But obviously there are things you really do need. For these, try to reuse. Repairing, adapting, swapping, borrowing or buying second-hand are all forms of reuse, keeping goods in circulation for longer and breaking the "throw away and replace" cycle. And if you can't reuse, then recycle. Buying recycled goods and recycling things yourself is a lot kinder to the planet than using natural resources to make goods from scratch.
three global warming hotspot
The three main ways most of us contribute to global warming are our homes' energy use; our food and our travel, especially driving and flying.
four key cuts
The four key areas in which we can limit our environmental impact are by cutting down on energy, water, chemicals and waste.
what is green
Something is likely to be "green" if it is natural, reusable, biodegradable, renewable, locally produced and energy or water efficient. The more of these boxes something ticks, the more environmentally friendly it will be.
- Switch to GreenPower
- energy-saving light bulbs
- Insulate walls and ceiling and shade windows
- Turn appliances off at the wall
- Install solar hot water
- Fit a water-saving showerhead and take shorter showers.
- Install water-saving showerhead, dishwasher, washing machine and taps
- Take shorter showers
- Install a dual-flush toilet or fit a water-saving device to your cistern
- Fix leaking pipes and dripping taps
- Put plugs in sinks.
- Use natural cleaning, bodycare and pest control
- Garden organically.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle.
- Eat locally grown
- Eat organic
- Eat less meat
- Avoid overfished fish.
- Drive less.
- Buy less
- Buy second-hand and recycled.
- Fly less.
- Invest ethically.
- Vote "green"... Join a green organisation.
Read our EcoGuide for more...
© Mark Mann / EcoDirectory