This year’s topic for Blog Action Day is climate change, bringing me to the subject of that all-important carbon footprint. I’d (genuinely) love to be offsetting mine by donating loads to Greenpeace or buying up acres of rainforest to preserve. But at this point, I’m at a small-step stage. In the pursuit of “first, do no harm,” here are a few of my fave strategies:
- Make the local farmers’ market your first stop for groceries: These farmers often use organic methods, plus you’re avoiding the environmental cost of groceries that have been shipped hundreds or thousands of miles.
- Buy food in its least processed form: This is generally best for both your health and the environment.
- Reuse containers: Large yogurt containers are great for freezing soup. Olive oil bottles are just right for chilling water. Bread loaf bags work well for packing sandwiches.
- Use the whole sheet of paper: Turn it over for scrap. (Quarter-sheets left by the phone are great for messages.) Recycle it when it’s done. Complete the cycle and buy recycled paper. While you’re at it, save some cash and buy refurbished (refilled) printer cartridges instead of the uber-expensive brand name ones.
- If you’re done with something (clothing, furniture, etc), sell it or give it away – don’t just toss it. (Craigslist is a great resource for this.)
- If you need something new, try a thrift shop first – even better if the shop’s proceeds go to charity.
- Adapt to the season: Eat lightly and wear loose light clothing in hot weather; pack in some comfort food and wear layers in cold weather.
- Walk to get places. If you can’t walk there, try to use mass transit. Try to live near where you work.
- Turn off/unplug appliances when not in use.
- Forget the chemicals: Most surfaces in your house can be cleaned effectively with vinegar and water or a baking soda-water paste.
As an added bonus, most of these steps make my life simpler and more affordable. It isn’t so difficult, many days, to be eco friendly. As I see it, we’ve evolved to be part of this environment, not to trample all over it. So with a little mindfulness and reassessing of habits, treading lightly can be the path of least resistance.