A clean and sustainable future is possible but we have to change a lot of things in our lives. The way we live is actually causing all these negative changes to our environment and the effects are dire. Climate change, extinct species, carbon credits, and pollution might seem like words coming from a TV screen but they are facts and we caused all this ourselves with our reckless ways. If you are new to green living then probably you have no idea what to do. For starters, you can try to follow these easy steps.
1. Get a bike
The bicycle is probably the most efficient form of transportation in creation. And the only thing it runs on is will power ... and calories. If life commuting can fit your lifestyle then this is definitely a step you should consider. Paying for a brand new bike might seem like a huge investment right now but in time it will pay for itself from money saved for gas and / or public transportation. Not only that but you exercise - any form of exercising adds years to your life. Having a bike does not mean that you have to forget about your car entirely but using it for short errands will prove to be very efficient.
2. Tune-up your car annually
It may sound pricey to fully tune-up your car but it is actually a good investment ... and nobody said that leading a green life is easy - the right choice is always the hardest. You can actually save money and fuel like this. For instance, a faulty oxygen sensor can penalize your car up to three miles per gallon. Or dirty air filters and worn out spark plugs can cost you another four miles per gallon. In the end, it all adds up and that is why you should give your vehicle the attention it requires. While you are at it, check that fuel cap as well. A loose cap is needlessly venting gasoline vapor, both costing you two miles per gallon and polluting the atmosphere.
3. Be smart about your driving
As part of your new green lifestyle, keeping your tires properly inflated is important not just from a safety point of view - you can also save gas this way. You can also use your cruise control on the highway for up to 15% improvement in mileage. Also, not driving so aggressively is another way to save fuel. Remember to accelerate out of lights gently and avoid rapid baking - always drive as fast as you must. Also, if your car starts reliably just shut it down at long red lights - turning your engine rather than idling excessively can make a huge difference.
4. Save water
There are many ways to save water, you just have to be creative about it. For instance, the simplest thing to do is to get yourself a low-flow shower head with a shut-off valve. Replacing an old-style shower head with a new model takes about 15 minutes. This way, not only that you save water but you save energy as well since less heat is needed. The benefits of this small change are not so small at all - statistics show that water heaters account for about 22 to 25% of domestic usage of energy. You will put some money back in your wallet annually and use minimum water.
5. Unplug idle electronics and appliances
You probably think that your cellphone charger is not drawing energy just because your phone is not connected to it but you're wrong. A TV can draw half the power it needs when turned on just by being plugged in. Moral of the story is: do not just turn things off, unplug them as well. A household can save a good amount of money annually just by pulling the plug of idle appliances and electronics.
6. Products to avoid
Another good way to embrace lighter living is to moderate your consumption. You can dramatically reduce the damage inflated upon our environment by avoiding some (if not all) of these products:
- Polystyrene foam - it is recyclable but most of it is discarded to the wilderness and landfills. Being made of petroleum, this is a non-renewable resource. Avoid using it whenever possible or recycle it.
- Tropical hardwood - it is beautiful, luxurious, and long lasting ... also, thousands of trees are being chopped down each year ... if not millions. Worldwide demand has triggered the irresponsible harvesting of tropical trees, resulting in the destruction of wildlife and biodiversity.
- Over-packed groceries - You buy a box of cookies, full of small packages of cookies ... well, that's redundant. Do not support such manufacturers by purchasing their goods.
- Paper towels, wet wipes, napkins - Sure, cleaning a mess is easier with paper towels but nothing is stopping you from using an old cloth instead. Paper is actually recyclable if managed properly but most of it is wasted resulting in more chopped trees for new paper.