Today's eco-conscious movement is having a moment as everything from the realities of climate change to the push for tiny houses have people thinking carefully about how and what they consume. As many people push back on industrial practices and embrace efforts to leave a smaller environmental footprint, there are some key habits of a modern "green" practitioner.
One easy way that eco-conscious people make a greener choice is by bringing their own bags with them to the grocery store. Once seen as a somewhat fringe practice, today it's completely normal to see someone toting their own bags, largely thanks to efforts like California's plastic bag ban. In fact, after the ban, there was a 210% increase in the use of reusable totes. In addition to saving the environment, you can also keep your house from filling up with annoying plastic bags. It's a win-win!
While the easiest way to go green when it comes to mobility is to rely on nothing more than your own two feet, walking is not always a practical or attractive solution. Luckily, modern technology is catching up and catching on to consumers' desires to leave a smaller footprint. Every choice to take an alternative form of transportation that doesn't require gasoline helps to reduce pollution. So, why not choose to eliminate the stress of commuting and take a StarkBoard to work. It feels like surfing on the street. As an added bonus, the more people who see you taking alternative transportation, the more likely the habit is to catch on.
Not everyone can become a full-on homesteader and raise their own meat and vegetables in the backyard, but even those with limited space and time can bring a little of the DIY spirit into their lives, and many of today's eco-friendly home chefs are doing exactly that. Whether it's a window herb garden, a beehive creating fresh honey, or a couple of urban chickens that provide eggs from the back porch, green conscious people are finding ways to reduce trips to the grocery store, packaging, and the impact of agricultural industry by finding ways to produce their food themselves.
P.S. Did you know that cutting down your meat consumption can significantly curb your eco-footprint? In fact, beef and lamb are leading contributors of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that can largely contribute to global warming. So, if you’re a meat eater, take baby steps. Try to go one day without meat.
One of the greatest drains on environmental resources comes from the "fast" fashion industry. A perfect storm of marketing efforts and consumers' penchant for cheap products, fast fashion refers to the practice of creating clothes that aren't designed to last. Instead of cycling through two seasons of clothes (cold weather and warm weather), today's consumers are pressured to chase more than a dozen "seasons" that each requires new purchases of what's "in" for the moment, often discarding last season's purchases to a landfill. Fast fashion is a disaster for the environment.
On a mission to change this is YOOX, the luxury fashion retail site, that have a whole section dubbed “YOOXGEN” dedicated to responsible fashion. Today's eco-friendly consumers reject the fast fashion cycle and opt for long-lasting clothes with more regard to fit and durability than fashion trends.
There has been a rise in outdoor clotheslines for drying clothes, and we largely have the eco-conscious among us to thank for it. In fact, this practice grew so fast that some states had to acquiesce to line dryers demands and lift existing bans. Now many people are going back to traditional practices for their laundry, hanging their clothes out to dry instead of relying on expensive and energy-hungry dryers.
Well...not really. But, the dryer isn't the only place we're seeing a green rebellion. Many people are balking at both the utility bills and the ecological impact of hot-water cycles on the washing machine. They're opting for a cold wash cycle instead, and now even mainstream detergents are meeting the demand by providing formulas that work well in cold conditions. Out with the hot and in with the cold!
Where there was once a trend toward spreading out and moving away from the central corridor of a community, many people now prefer to live in a walkable city. Making a conscious choice to live somewhere close to grocery stores, restaurants, schools, and work is a green decision with a rippling effect. The more local business a place can get, the denser and more convenient a community will become, allowing even more people to work where they live.
Perhaps this one should go without saying, but the eco-conscious among us pay attention to where their waste goes, and they make sure to recycle everything they can. They're the ones who are collecting the cans at the party and making sure they go in the right bin. It's a small way to make a big difference.
Lawns are America's biggest crop, and they don't provide food or fabric. They're simply expensive, thirsty decorations. Not only that, but a truly lush lawn that will be the talk of the town often requires ongoing applications of fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals. While they might literally be green, they aren't very "green," so many people are rethinking this status symbol and opting for plants indigenous to the region, planting vegetables in place of grass, or coming up with other natural solutions that don't require so much energy.
One-time use plastic water bottles are a HUGE waste of resources and a major contributor to pollution, particularly in oceans. A very easy eco-friendly choice is to carry a reusable bottle with you wherever you go. As an added bonus, today's technological advances allow you to keep your drink cold for hours at a time. Help the planet and yourself and buy a Hydroflask. You will be one step closer to helping those of us who don't want to live on this beautiful planet and save the polar bears.
Unfortunately very few of us are perfect in our eco-conscious choices every day, but if we continue to strive for awareness and better choices, we'll incrementally set new habits and redesign our world. Like John Muir said, one tug at nature is connected to the rest of the world, so our one little choice has the opportunity to ripple out and make changes far beyond what we can see.
If you're looking to transform your own life and the world around you at the same time, pick one or two changes to implement into at a time. Before you know it, you'll be living green!
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