By: Charlie Fletcher
Some may feel like all is lost and that it is far too late to make a change, but that is not the case. Although you can’t single-handedly fix the climate crisis on your own, there are many personal changes that you can make at home that could make a big difference for our environment, and your changes could inspire others to follow suit.
Let’s count them down. If you pay attention to the news or you’ve read the recent 2021 climate report, then you may be feeling a bit concerned about our environment and the dangerous effects of climate change. There’s no denying it. We must modify how we think or global warming and other negative changes to our environment may destroy the earth as we know it.
1. Grow Your Own Food
You may not realize just how many ways our everyday actions can contribute to climate change. Even the act of going to the grocery store requires gas emissions as you drive there and back and the food you buy is brought by large trucks that travel across the country, creating pollution along the way. This is just one example, but it shows why it is important to live a self-sustaining lifestyle that provides the sustenance you need but without the harmful side effects.
One way to do this is by planting a garden at home. Many of the vegetables and spices that make great food and keep us healthy can be grown in a garden, from carrots and lettuce to mustard and even Swiss chard. Not only will gardening prevent you from going to the store but the act of gardening can also keep you in great physical shape and seeing a small seed turn into a large plant is incredibly satisfying mentally as well.
2. Do More From Home
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been a tough experience for everyone, there was one good thing that came out of it and that was the positive effect on the environment. When businesses started having their employees work from home, there was a noticeable decrease in air pollution due to the lack of cars on the road.
You can continue that trend by asking your employers if you can remain working from home even after a return to normalcy. On top of that, think about other tasks you can do from your residence to reduce emissions, such as getting your medical care through a telehealth service instead of driving to the doctor’s office. Telehealth has grown by leaps and bounds over the years and you can now do check-ups, get prescriptions, and even receive mental health help, all without leaving your home.
3. Go Solar
Another way that you can help the environment is by installing solar panels on your home and reducing your dependency on the electric company. Standard electricity requires the burning of fossil fuels which emit dangerous chemicals into the air. By going solar, you will get your power naturally via the sun and take very little from the electric company. Solar panels can also improve the value of your home and will lower the cost of your utility bill.
While going solar is an amazing start, there are many other great ways that you can save energy and other resources within your home. Start by installing LEDs in your light fixtures, which will last longer and cost less. Also, turn off all electronics when you are not in the room, and if you work at home, place your desk near the windows so you can use natural light to complete your tasks. You can also save water by taking shorter showers and keeping the water faucet off as you brush your teeth.
4. Use Green Cleaning Products
Just because you are living a more sustainable life, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go about your normal routine, and cleaning your home is part of that. However, many common cleaning products contain unhealthy chemicals such as nitrogen and ammonia that can be dangerous when leaked into the air and our waterways.
To become part of the solution, consider turning to green cleaning products that do not contain these harmful chemicals. Not only do these products reduce pollutants and prevent allergies, but you can reuse the bottles over and over to prevent the need to buy new products that will be thrown out over time.
5. Make Your Own Products
The main culprits of climate change are the large companies that use massive factories to manufacture their products. The pollution created by these buildings is immense and makes an impact on our environment every day. You can help to reduce our dependence on these factories by making many everyday items at home.
And we aren’t just talking about making blankets and baskets, although those are helpful. With the right components and a little skill, you can make a bounty of products, from homemade toothpaste and laundry detergent to T-shirts, candles, and even your own cosmetics. By making your own things, you are doing your part to help the environment, and if you get good at it, you could even sell what you make as a side business. Instructions for creating these products can be found online.
6. Switch to Reusable Products
Every day, we throw out tons of garbage that ends up in landfills across the country. When the garbage sits there, it not only negatively affects the air but fluid from that trash can also leak into our waterways. You can do your part to limit this problem by skipping styrofoam and one-time use products, and instead, turn to reusable items like refillable water bottles, metal straws, fabric grocery bags, rechargeable batteries. If you need to purchase disposable items, be sure to recycle them if possible.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can live a cleaner, more sustainable lifestyle. All it takes is one person to make a difference, and by setting a good example, you could start a revolution that could help change the world as we know it.
Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer with a background in sociology, and a specific interest in sustainability practices, and how pollution affects certain groups of people.