One of the biggest ways we impact our world is physically: environmental impact. Some of the smallest choices you make daily add up to create a huge impact, sometimes positive, sometimes detrimental. As we face daunting temperature increases, polluted air and rising ocean levels worldwide, it's imperative that we all stop and consider the ways in which we can help make the world a better place for the sake of our health and our children's future. Don't know where to start? These are 10 small changes you can make today to reduce your ecological footprint on the earth with minimal effort.
1. Recycle: Paper, plastic, aluminum, clothing - be mindful of what you can and can't recycle. If something can't be recycled, such as styrofoam or foil, reconsider even buying or using it.
2. Bio-degradable products: When it comes to cleaning products, always get bio-degradable products. Not only are they better for your family's health, they'll also break down in the environment more easily once they enter the waterways. Did you know some of the best non-toxic cleaning products are baking soda and vinegar?
3. Choose organic: Better for you. Better for the planet. A short term investment in your food is a longterm investment in your health.
4. Shop local: Not only will you be supporting your neighbors and your local economy, but you'll also be cutting down on carbon emissions. When your fruits and veggies come from a nearby farm, they don't have to be shipped by means of planes, trains and automobiles.
5. Buy bulk: When you buy bulk, you get more product with less packaging, and therefore it creates less waste in the long run.
6. Compost food: You don't have to throw away bits of fruits and veggies you don't end up eating. Instead, put your organic waste in a compost bin so you can recycle your leftovers and create nutrient rich soil for your plants.
7. Scavenge for vintage: Even if you're not a "vintage" fan, you'd be amazed at how many things you can find out there that are in great condition but are slightly pre-loved. Visit thrift shops, local consignment stores, eBay, Craigslist and more for anything from clothing to a gently used washing machine. When you commit to shopping pre-owned, you'll be saving money and creating less waste.
8. Ditch the car: When it's beautiful outside and you don't have far to go, make yourself walk or take a bike to reduce carbon emissions. Carpooling with a friend to work or taking public transportation is also a good way to do your part for the planet.
9. Reusable bottle: Disposable water bottles are a completely unnecessary source of waste in the world, so replace them with a reusable water bottle.
10. Neutral temperatures: At home, one of the best ways you can save money on your electric bill is to keep a neutral temperature whenever and wherever you can. In the summer, don't crank up the AC too high. In the winter, use heat as minimally as possible. Wash your clothes in cold water, and try hanging them to dry. Keep the blinds down to deflect the sun in the summer, and to insulate the windows in the winter.
What are your daily rituals for reducing your ecological footprint?