The need for ecologically-responsible behavior is here and now. Each of us makes a difference, for better or worse, every day. Here are the five best habits for sustainability.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint When Traveling
The less you drive, the less fossil fuel you consume, and the fewer carbon emissions you vent into the atmosphere. One of the first habits to institute is to walk everywhere. Bicycle the longer distances. Take the bus; it uses less fuel per passenger than driving a car. Carpool when you have to drive. Offer to run your neighbor’s errands with your own. Invest in a smaller, more fuel-efficient car. Consider a hybrid. Work from home.
Turn Down the Lights
Reducing energy consumption is a powerful habit for sustainability. Make it a mindfulness exercise. In winter, insulate the windows. Turn down the thermostat. Wear a sweater.
Turning down the lights means conserving energy. When it gets dark, turn on compact fluorescent lights. Better yet, use the newest LED lighting, which uses one-tenth the electricity of incandescent bulbs. Turning down the lights also means reducing light pollution. Help re-establish natural nocturnal wildlife behavior and ecology. Reduce, shield, or abandon your outdoor lighting.
Use Green Products
Sustainability in manufacture and agriculture has many facets. Eating local foods reduces the carbon footprint of your diet. Buying organic foods, grown without toxic chemicals, helps create a healthy world. Cleaning with natural products protects you as well as the environment. Building with natural, sustainable materials preserves endangered species and protects endangered ecologies.
Reduce Reuse Recycle
Do with less. Find a new use for an old bottle. Plastic never degrades completely. It just breaks down into smaller and smaller bits, until the plankton eats it. Reuse what you can. Salvage what you can. Protect the environment by reducing waste.
As Jennifer Talbot, alumna of Unity College’s Environmental Studies program, put it, “I had never realized how little I knew about the natural world and how much there is to learn.” Take a course at a local community college about the medicinal and food plants growing in your own backyard. Visit a nature center. Did you know that feeding deer their summer food during the winter season can cause them to starve? Education comes in many forms. Never stop learning.
Practice conservation. These habits make you a leader in the global effort toward sustainability. With every step you become part of the solution and less of the problem.