Insights

Think Environmentally Friendly Doesn’t Matter To You? Think Again!

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It’s safe to say that humans have certainly made their mark on the planet, but unfortunately it hasn’t always been in an environmentally friendly and beneficial way. For something so delicately balanced and perfectly suited for our very survival we sure do give it a beating!

Every day we pump tons and tons of pollution into the atmosphere. We dump chemical waste in rivers, spew fumes out into the air and spray harmful substances on our crops. This contaminates and disrupts the ecological equilibrium of our planet, and can have a detrimental effect on a whole variety of organisms.

The toxicity doesn’t just stop at base level either – it spreads up the food chain effecting thousands more – we even put our own health at risk. Long term exposure to air pollution for example has been proven to increase cardiovascular diseases and the chance of mortality.

When we are not environmentally friendly, we damage the ecosystems we have been blessed with. We fell the very trees that supply us with oxygen to breathe, and even add insult to injury we then release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere instead.

By lowering the biodiversity of areas we conversely decrease our own crop yields as well, as we alter the natural flow of predation on the pests that plague them. Our solution to that is manmade pesticides, which worsens the natural balance makes products we consume less than desirable for our health.

The fact is, we can’t carry on living the way we do without experiencing some major melt down in the near future. There’s only so far we can push the boundaries of Earth before she fights back in some way. Ask yourself this question: am I environmentally friendly, and more importantly, am I leaving behind an environment that will be healthy for my children and grandchildren?

An interesting wakeup call is to calculate your own ecological footprint and see the ‘amount of earths’ you would need to sustain your lifestyle if everyone lived like you. The results are pretty shocking.

What can I do about it to become more environmentally friendly?

While we can’t reverse what’s already been done, we can certainly make a change to our behavior now. As individuals, even the smallest of acts can make a difference, and here are ten of them for you:

1)      Recycle. Bet you’ve heard that before – but seriously, taking a few seconds to put paper, plastic and cans in separate boxes has such a good effect on our rubbish problems that it’s almost criminal not to these days.

2)      Switch to LED light bulbs. LED bulbs and LED Light fixtures may cost you a few extra pennies to purchase, but they last longer and use less energy than regular bulbs so you’re actually saving in the long run

3)      Unplug the appliances. Be energywise. Just ‘turning them off’ usually isn’t enough, they actually still use power while being plugged into that socket. Look out for leaving lights on when you leave the room and putting your TV on ‘standby’ as well (your purse will be just as grateful as the planet).

4)      Reuse plastic bags and boxes. Don’t just bin them after your weekly shop, keep them for next time, or better yet invest in a bag for life. Plastic containers from takeaways and ice-cream are always handy for lunchboxes and storage too.

5)       Use rechargeable batteries. Again, you might have to splash out a little more, but it’s an investment. You don’t have to keep buying and throwing out the regular ones when you can just reboot the rechargeable ones.

6)      Ride or walk whenever you can. Better for the waistline, planet and your pocket!

7)      Put on layers, not the heating. Why crank up the thermostat on a chilly evening when you have a whole wardrobe of jumpers and socks waiting to be showcased?

8)      Use water efficiently. Have a shower instead of a bath, refrain from sprinkling your flowerbeds every night, and don’t leave the tap running when you brush your teeth!

9)      Take notice of the products you buy. Weigh up your options instead of going for the first thing on the shelf – look for the items with recyclable packaging and that aren’t flown in from Timbuktu. Support environmentally-friendly companies too, a great example being David Salisbury’s low CO2 emission conservatory.

10)  Brush up on your sewing. A few holes shouldn’t be the end of a socks’ life – get the needle and thread out and darn away. (Perhaps when it becomes more patchwork than original item you could possibly consider replacing them).

Of course, spreading the word about going green is a step in the right direction too. This is something that everybody has to take responsibility for.

Do you have any other tips for helping the environment? Visit Energywise on Facebook to share some ideas.

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Lauren enjoys writing and photography. She is lucky enough to have some great countryside on her doorstep, and so knows appreciates the rewards of being kind to nature.

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