The gifts that abound by simply living on planet Earth are easy to take for granted. And for people living in areas of the country with seemingly endless resources, convenience can quickly surpass environmentalism. But if it’s time for a shift, there are several easy ways to do good for Mother Earth while enjoying a modern life. With a mindful approach, careful planning, and willingness to adjust your habits, you’ll upgrade to a more Earth-friendly lifestyle.
Placing an online order with a swipe of a thumb is so easy, kids literally do it. But the ease of use and access to more than you could ever want or need has major impacts. Monstrous warehouses are swallowing up areas of formerly unassuming farmland. While convenience, accessibility, and economic growth are important, it’s possible that the “add to cart” generation has its drawbacks.
However, it’s relatively unreasonable to expect that you can cut out online ordering completely. Many people have managed to dial in their cyclical purchases like toilet paper, cleaning products, and medications and save money. Putting these essentials on auto-delivery can net guaranteed savings and eliminate a panicked run to the store.
If you’re an online ordering fan, focus on making your buys smart instead of reactionary. Flippant orders for fads can result in a bothersome return, requiring both time and resources to get a refund. Nix the unnecessary delivery and its carbon footprint by focusing online purchases to things you won’t return. Daily medications like birth control, go-to snacks, and the aforementioned cleaning products are Earth-friendly orders you can feel good about.
Beyond the time efficiency gain you’ll get from smart online ordering, you can do so with energy efficiency. Consider your living situation and take a walking tour inside and outside your residence. Bring a notebook to log any identified energy losses like cracked caulk, drafty doors and windows, and leaky faucets. Many of these silent energy thieves can be corrected for just a few dollars, so don’t be intimidated by a long list.
Log on to your electric company’s webpage to see if they offer free energy audits. If they do, get on the schedule as soon as you can. Qualified representatives make a visit to your home and audit your efficiency level. If there are opportunities for improvement, they can provide tips and sometimes even perform modest upgrades on the spot. Funded by utility surcharges paid by every customer, these energy efficiency programs don’t cost you anything to use.
Some upgrades include wrapping the pipes around your hot water heater, exchanging your light bulbs for LEDs, and adding low-flow showerheads. Generally, these little adjustments in water flow, electric use, and conservation of stored energy result in cash savings. Plus, with each customer who utilizes the service, your local electric utility will experience less demand. And less demand on the energy grid means less generation and fewer emissions.
Our tech-based lifestyle often means that how we spend our free time is eerily similar to our work time. Step away from the screens and into the outdoors as you consider trying a new hobby. Time spent outside can boost your appreciation for nature, decrease stress, and even improve your air quality. Plus, taking on a hobby like gardening can fulfill a need in your household — food.
Apartment dwellers, condo-devotees, and homeowners can start gardening with just a few tools and tips. Start small with container gardening, planting beginner-friendly options like tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries. Planting these widely-enjoyed and consumable fruits and vegetables can boost your confidence in the garden. Plus, since these options are used in many recipes across cultures and culinary preferences, your gardening efforts won’t go to waste.
Include everyone in your household in your gardening endeavor to create a new shared interest to enjoy. Partners, children, and roommates alike can be encouraged by the daily progress seen in the garden. Sometimes, you find yourself with a bumper crop and an overflowing basket of produce. Consider freezing or canning your abundance or share with others to pass along the Earth’s gift.
The time you spend on Earth is miniscule, so it’s important to respect it. Think of your long-time impact on the planet and how your legacy could look after you’re gone. If your current behavior has you trending toward a legacy you’re less than proud of, focus on consistent improvements. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to start living off the grid for the sake of environmentalism. Instead, focus on developing a symbiotic relationship with the planet over the course of your life.
This may manifest through your daily habits like batching car trips to reduce fuel usage. Or, you could commit to river cleanups and invasive species clearing as an act of service. Another legacy-building act could be focusing your landscaping additions on native plantings and trees that thrive in your area. No matter your take on an environmental life, your mindfulness today makes strides toward ensuring a healthy planet tomorrow.