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10 Tips on How to Decrease Your Environmental Impact
Our carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide we produce on a day to day basis. The size of our home, the food we buy (is it from a different country or continent?) and our excess spending can get out of control. I will admit that the most difficult things for me is not buying too much at the grocery store for the amount we will actually eat. There is also the guilt of using single use plastic items, but sometimes I don’t know how to get around it! So to feel a bit better about our carbon footprint on the planet, here are some ideas for us in today’s society that are practical. Saving money is also a long term benefit to making these changes in our day to day lives.
- Buy local. Not only food and other produce, but supporting local businesses. Check out hashtags to find them around you. (ie; #shoplocal).
- Have a “Meatless Monday” routine. Industrial farming is extremely toxic to the environment and avoiding meat in diet for one day can actually make a strong impact! Check out the stats from this quick video on methane from animals. It’s shocking.
- Composting at home. Make sure to decide where your compost will be in mostly sun and away from outdoor seating areas because it can get stinky! Composting is a difficult hobby and that always confuses me. In my mind, I think, ‘composting’ should be as easy as throwing away trash. Trash is so EASY to make, throw, chuck, dispose of, spoil and other descriptive words about throwing garbage away. It even gets picked up often by different companies so its out of sight out of mind. Composting can be difficult because it is a chore but once you get in the habit, you’ll love seeing your garbage smell less and your compost dirt will be full of nutrients for your gardens! Here is what you can compost!
- Get reusable shopping bags and fabric produce bags. Did you know Hawaii has banned plastic bags since 2013!? Amazing.
- If you have a baby use cloth diapers. There are so many amazing covers and services that will save you so much money too! The amount of diapers in landfills is astonishing! “Diapering a child in generic disposables costs over $1,400 over 2.5 years. With some premium earth-friendly options, this cost can go to almost $2,500. A full time cloth diapering system can cost as little as $300.” quote from The Natural Baby Co.
- Bring utensils with you and a reusable straw to avoid ‘single use’ plastic! There are large retailers selling bamboo and other easy to transport products. Many take out restaurants are encouraging this too because it saves them money as well!
- For females, using a silicone menstrual cup will also save you thousands of dollars over time. This silicon menstrual cup lasts up to 10 years! How much do you spend on tampons or pads in a ten-year span? No garbage is associated with them, and you buy them once, not over and over. See the pros and cons here.
- Need new clothing? Try a second hand shop in your area. Not only are you given a wide variety of options for clothing, many of these companies employ people in our communities that find it difficult to find employment and have struggled with their mental health or are starting over from difficult situations. You can also sell your gently used items at consignment stores, on kijiji and Facebook marketplace or host a clothing swap with your friends!
- Only have one vehicle. There are so many times that you can plan to take alternative ways of transportation to where you need to get. Plan out your week and communicate with your family about who needs to use the car. The cost of a vehicle is a huge part of what you make so only having to pay for one car and one insurance policy is a huge cost saving. Also, you are helping the environment! Win-win!
- Watch different documentaries to get better informed about the environment. Trigger warning, they are dark and have a doomsday effect to them so I would suggest watching them if you are in the mood.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful or at least something for you to think about. I find that not only for the physical state of our Earth needs our help with small steps and changes, but that many of these steps save us the hard earned money we make. Generations before us spent excessively, going into major debt, without thinking of the financial impact it would have on them or their children. And large corporations took advantage of our growing societies and the want of newer and better and more and more. Now we are at a time in our planet’s history to stop this disposable society and harm to the environment and animal species. This is our time to appreciate our money by purchasing well made products that last, respect that we have an impact on others in so many different ways and we do this by respecting our environment. I am always hopeful for our future and am jumping on the bandwagon of making my carbon footprint smaller! Join me!
Marnie is the Engagement and Partnership Coordinator and has been happily working front line in the mental health field for over a decade. She enjoys a good joke, working at mindyourmind and spending time at home relaxing.
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