Five ways to reduce your environmental footprint AND enhance your lifestyle

A couple weeks ago I read an article called “5 easy ways to help fight climate change without changing your lifestyle“. There are several good ideas – I particularly like the meatless Monday one – and it got me thinking about other steps that can help reducing one’s environmental footprint while also making life more enjoyable. Read on for five ideas you can implement in the coming days!

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Upgrade your commute

You don’t need to completely overhaul your life, sell your car or commit to anything, but shaking things up doesn’t hurt (the planet, your waistline or your spending money). This coming week, try walking / cycling / taking the bus once to work.  Autumn colours make pedal-powered commutes particularly lovely, whereas commuting by bus has given me the time to enjoy more books and podcasts. Google map alternatives to your usual commute and get things ready the night before (dig out your bike lights for example) – no excuses!

Another way to reduce emissions is to eliminate your commute entirely. Tim Ferriss created a blueprint to negotiate working from home – if this is something you’re interested in, try implementing some of his strategies from his now-infamous 4-Hour Work Week book.

What is the soupe du jour?

What you eat very much contributes to your health and the health of our planet. There is a lot written on the topic, so if you want more info just google “climate change and meat”. By tweaking what you eat, you significantly reduce your environmental footprint, save lives and add several years to your life!

If you’re already a Meatless Monday superstar, you can try making the rest of your week a bit healthier by focusing on plant-based meals. For instance you could decide that on workdays you get your lunch from the salad and soup bar. Where I work it’s actually cheaper to have a soup and a salad, than to eat a smaller meat-based cooked meal. I also feel better and avoid the sluggishness caused by digesting animal products.

I personally focus on getting more fruit and vegetables when choosing between lunch options. Decide on a way to prioritise healthy meals that works for you, then try to stick to it this coming week! Please share your “rules” in the comments below.

Watch less, read more

Switching off our televisions has more benefits than just the electricity saved. News stories make you anxious, “perfect” celebrities make you feel inadequate, then adverts swoop in to sell you a way to relieve your negative emotions. Our current levels of consumption and production are unsustainable: they deplete the Earth of finite resources and emit greenhouse gases. By being more intentional with your leisure time, you can shut out the noise and feel better. This weekend, turn your telly off and read a chapter of a book you’ve been stalling on instead – bonus points if it’s borrowed or second-hand.

Slow fashion

Speaking of second hand, next time you feel the retail therapy itch, check out your local second-hand shops or find something enjoyable to do instead (a nature bath?). The impact of fast fashion is horrendous, not just on the planet, but also on the people who work in inhumane conditions to produce the latest trends. Reduce the waste, reduce the guilt.

To the moon and back

Speaking of waste, menstrual pads and tampons create a lot of it, and generally end up in landfill or in the sea, for instance: “Ocean Conservancy volunteers collected 27,938 used tampons and applicators on our world’s beaches on a single day” (Mooncup website). There are alternatives however: a menstrual cup is healthier, cheaper, more convenient and more sustainable than using piles of tampons and pads. I have been using mine for the past three years and would never go back!

If you do not menstruate, you can still recommend them to your close ones or do a bit of reading about how menstrual cups can change lives and maybe support a charity that distributes them.

 

There are many other ways to enrich your life, while caring for the planet, these are just a few that came to mind! Do you already do any of them? Any other ideas? Share them below!

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  1. Pingback: Friday five: Fall in love with autumn! – J. L. Goodenough

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