There are currently 7.6 billion people in the world, each one utilizing a fraction of the planet’s limited resources every day to survive. Numerous environmental organizations have categorically established that we are consuming Earth’s resources at a much faster rate than they are replenished.

Given our voracious culture of mass consumption, it’s only a matter of time before we run out of food, water, energy, and land to sustain our needs. There is a growing need to make proactive changes to our individual lifestyles because being aware and talking about the issue is no longer sufficient. Measuring and reducing your ecological footprint is an excellent place to start. Here’s how:

Reduce Waste

Immediately switching to a waste-free life may be too overwhelming so it would be better to take on a gradual change by initially using less of it. Utilizing reusable shopping bags and carry your meals in stainless containers or cloth bags. You can also bring reusable coffee cups to your office or to your favorite local cafe. In fact, many coffee shops offer discounts to customers who bring their own tumblers. This is just a sample of the ways you can help in reducing the amount of disposable waste dumped into landfills every year.

Eat Local

Support your local farmers’ market by buying locally grown foods. Most items in supermarkets are shipped across long distances. Buying local food cuts down on fuel consumption, air pollution, and the overall ecological impact behind the transportation of goods. Because local foods usually aren’t mass produced, there is less waste generated. Many local farmers also keep their products organic and free from hormones and pesticides. This helps keep both you and the environment in better health.

Reduce Energy Consumption

Unplug idle devices like televisions, printers, chargers, and microwaves that use standby electricity even when they’re not in use.  To control these “energy vampires”, use a power strip or install a common switch that turns off remote outlets with just one flip. Choose energy-efficient appliances such as LED bulbs and low-flow shower heads. Lower your thermostat in the winter and regulate your air conditioning use in the summer. Better yet, invest in programmable thermostats that automatically track and follow your heating and cooling habits. Dry your clothes naturally, if possible, as tumble dryers are exceptionally energy-intensive.

Ditch the Car

Air pollution is one of the leading causes of early deaths worldwide. In the U.S., more than 50% of air pollution can be attributed to vehicles. To lessen your impact, switch to a greener mode of transportation whenever possible. Take the bus or train to reduce the number of individual cars on the road and keep your city’s air cleaner. Try walking or riding a bicycle when taking short trips. If you need a car, invest in those that are small, light, and energy-efficient such as micro electric cars which have recently gained popularity among city dwellers.

Buy Sustainably Produced Products

Check for eco-labels when buying products. For personal care, choose organic products or use natural homemade remedies as alternatives to chemical-laden cosmetics. Use handkerchiefs instead of tissue paper. Always opt for products that have less packaging. Being an informed and selective consumer can create a significant impact on the growing ecological crisis. By choosing environment-friendly products, you are in your own way encouraging more companies to make the big switch.  

Addressing all the world’s environmental problems requires collective action. It’s high time we internalize that fact that such global effort starts with ourselves. The most significant change stems from the smallest gestures.

Incredible Planet Staff

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