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Seven Small Steps to Make a Big Impact on the Environment
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Seven Small Steps to Make a Big Impact on the Environment

by
May 12th, 2016

You care about the environment and you’d like your actions to show it. But you also like the amenities and comforts you know, and you don’t have a lot of extra time or money to actively conserve energy. If you’re nodding along to these sentiments, we have good news for you. Living a more sustainable life doesn’t necessarily require a lot of effort, time, or money. Often, the environmentally friendly thing is even cheaper than the alternative.

Here are a seven simple steps you can take to have a big impact on the environment.

Drive a Little Less

Do you live near a well-served public transit station or stop? Is your office within walking or cycling distance of your eco-conscious luxury apartment? Do you drive your pet to the nearest dog park when walking would only take a minute or two longer? If you often drive somewhere you could just as easily get to by foot, bicycle, or public transit, put the brakes on your driving habits. You can set a goal (i.e. I will drive 100 fewer miles each month) or just make an effort to drive less often when a convenient and inexpensive alternative exists. Either way, you’ll benefit the environment. You’ll probably even get some extra exercise while you’re at it.

Shop Farmers Markets

Farmers markets may be trendy, but they’re one of the most environmentally friendly trends consumers have embraced in recent years. Directly or indirectly, shopping at farmers markets saves fuel, packaging materials, and regional green space. Shopping at farmers markets should also make your diet tastier and more nutritious, as well as benefit your local economy and workforce.

Eat Less Red Meat

Numbers vary, but the production of a single pound of beef is certainly resource-intensive. If you consume a lot of red meat, consider eating one less burger, rack of ribs, or steak per month. You’ll save water and grain, likely improve your health, and make each bite of red meat you do consume that much more special.

If you don’t eat red meat or indulge only once in a while, don’t worry so much about this. But see if you can’t think of another way to green your eating habits, such as eating less dairy and fewer foods imported from far away.

Unsubscribe from Junk Mail Listings

Junk mail is a nuisance. It’s a hassle for you, and it wreaks havoc on the environment. Take a few minutes to unsubscribe from lists you’ve been on for years and visit junk mail opt-out websites like cataloguechoice.org and optoutprescreen.com. You’ll still receive all mail you actually care about, and will drastically reduce the volume of mail you receive and the paper wasted in the process.

Go Paperless

If you haven’t already, take all of your accounts paperless. Start having receipts emailed to you rather than printed whenever its a choice. You can even file your taxes more or less entirely online now.

Power Down Your Computer

Do you leave your laptop open and running for hours, or days, without using it? Do the environment a simple favor and start powering your computer off when you’re done using it. A computer in sleep mode uses more energy than you might think, but is still much more energy-efficient than a computer left open with the screen on. To make even more of a difference, go a step further and power down other electronic devices you often leave on or in a standby mode.

Say No to Plastic

Plastic is hardly biodegradable. The earth and its populations are already stuck with a lot of it, and we’ll all benefit from keeping the additional plastic we leave behind to a minimum. Not only is plastic waste harmful to the environment. Its production emits pollutants that degrade the quality of the air we breathe. Start bringing reusable bags to the grocery store if you don’t already; make an effort to purchase as few plastic bottles as possible; and be mindful of anything else you buy that comes in a plastic container.

Unlike investing in expensive eco-friendly technologies, these sustainable steps are more likely to help you save money than spend more. Make a few minor changes and feel good about yourself and your role in conserving the environment. If you’re looking for even more ways to benefit the environment, check out the green living archives on our blog.

What’s one simple practice you’ve adopted or change you’ve made for the benefit of the environment? Share with a comment!

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View All Posts by Jason Ernst
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