In the chaos of our modern lives, most of us rarely have time to look around and recognize our place in the world- to consider how heavily we as a species rely upon our fragile ecosystem.
It’s a heavy burden to bear. Having risen to the top of the food chain to become masters of our surroundings, we humans have taken on a significant role as the keepers of our planet. The air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the resources we use for clothing, medicine, shelter and transportation are not only finite, but intricately intertwined. Where one element is effected, others follow suit.
Since the start of the “eco movement” in the 1960’s, there has been a greater effort to reduce air and water pollution on a national scale. But societies are (of course) made up of individuals. Movements are made and progress is determined by the small decisions we make each and every day. So what can one person do to help preserve the planet for future generations?
Well, in honor of Earth Day we’ve rounded up a series of simple, practical ways to reduce your impact on the environment. Take a few moments to browse and see how easy it can be to go green in 2017…
1- Make your own cleaning products. Harsh chemical cleaners like the ones commonly used across the U.S. may keep our homes sparkling, but they can also have a detrimental effect on our environment. Nowadays there are some plant-based eco-friendly alternatives on the market, but why pay top dollar for something you can make yourself?
Dump the plastic scrub brushes, and try sewing your own re-usable dust cloths, crochet your own dish rag, or mix up a homemade batch of natural cleaning spray (you’ll be amazed what a few basic pantry supplies can do)! Making these items at home not only ensures that you’re working with safe, non-toxic ingredients, but also reduces waste and pollution from large-scale manufacturing processes.
2- Avoid plastics. While plastic has become one of the most commonly used materials on the planet, it is also one of the most damaging to our environment. Aside from the pollutants required to produce plastics in large quantities, there is also concern about decomposition (or lack thereof). Styrofoam requires around 50 years to break down in a landfill, while plastic water bottles can take nearly 500 years to fully degrade.
The quickest way to help reduce this impact is to eliminate unnecessary plastic use. Start by identifying all the plastics in your home, and whenever possible, think of ways they might be replaced with reusable or biodegradable products. Canvas shopping bags are an easy and stylish alternative, and there are many other disposable products which can be replaced by cloth. Keep a set of wooden or metal utensils in your lunch box, invest in a high quality reusable water bottle, look for ceramic, metal, or glass storage containers, and ditch the flimsy plastic.
3- Shop local or earth-friendly brands. Every dollar you spend as a consumer acts as a vote in favor of a company’s products and policies. By choosing to invest in environmentally conscious companies and their products, you help to support their efforts, and encourage other companies to do the same.
Back in 2014, Forbes took the time to evaluate top U.S. companies by their efforts to operate by eco-friendly ethics, among the highest ranking were Seventh Generation, Method, New Belgium, Patagonia and more. Since then, other companies have taken up the trend of environmental consciousness, so do your research before making a purchase. In general, beware of over processed or over packaged products, not only are they a drain on our planet’s natural resources, more often than not these items aren’t good for your short-term health either.
4- Recycle whenever possible. Even the most sincere attempts to live a “zero-waste” lifestyle will likely fall short of perfection- and that’s okay. From time to time, we are bound to wind up with a tin can or plastic packaging which needs to be disposed of. Fortunately, recycling programs have become more and more common across the country in the past few decades, providing an important alternative to landfills.
So find out what kinds of items are collected in your area, and take advantage! If you live in a town that still does not collect recyclables, take a moment to write to your representative with the suggestion. A little citizen initiative can go a long way. Beware that recycling policies will vary by municipality: some plants do not accept items in plastic trash bags, while others only accept pre-sorted items. Be sure to read your municipal policies carefully before partaking.
5- Plant something! Plants are tremendously important to the preservation of our planet and our species. They produce life-giving oxygen, foods, and medicines, many of which remain rare or as yet undiscovered. They prevent erosion and regulate the water cycle, helping to maintain the delicate balance of ecosystems. And yet, according to the World Wildlife Foundation, ever-expanding development means that between forty six and fifty eight thousand square miles of vegetation are destroyed every year.
This Earth Day, give a little green back to the globe by planting something (anything)! Trees offer a great source of clean air and shade, while providing real-estate for nearby wildlife. Flowers can create a beautiful landscape for you and your neighbors to enjoy, while helping to support the world’s dwindling bee population. If you’re feeling truly ambitious, go for a full garden and gain the added satisfaction of being able to pluck your produce straight out of the backyard.
6- Unplug electronics when not in use. We’re all familiar with the old routine of switching off the lights when leaving a room, or opening a window instead of cranking down the AC– assuming it’s not the middle of summer in Phoenix. But it’s just as easy to reduce your draw on the grid (and your electric bill) by unplugging items that are not in use.
Phone chargers are among the most common culprits. Like many other power supplies, before the DOE Level VI compliance laws, they continue to draw power even when they’re not being used. Try establishing an “empty outlet” policy in your home or business. Designate specific drawers or cupboards where power cords can be stored when not in use, and offer incentives for those who choose to use them. Practice makes perfect, of course, and the more you get into this habit, the easier it will be!
7- Make the switch to LEDs. Another great way to minimize your energy requirements is to make the switch from incandescent bulbs to LEDs. These light emitting diodes run far more efficiently and last much longer than traditional lights- which can waste more than 90% of their energy in the form of heat, while producing an average of just 16 lumens per watt. By comparison LEDs boast more than 100 luments per watt and can last up to 100,000 hours (around 10 years) before needing to be replaced.
Take advantage of our Earth Day sale by using the coupon code GREEN15 to save 15% on any purchase of Inspired LED products Saturday April 22nd and Sunday April 23rd. It’s the perfect time to brighten up your home, and save the earth!
As consumers, it’s important to remember the impact that our environment has on our lives, and in turn, the impact that our lives have on the environment. This Earth Day, make a choice to make a change, and help to preserve the globe for many years to come.
For more information on making the switch to eco-friendly LEDs, check out our website or contact us directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to take advantage of our FREE design services to get your optimized lighting layout and quote today!