There probably are very few, if any, of us who have not heard of, read about, or seen and experienced first hand how our own kind litters, exploits, and wastes away our homes, city streets, parks, other species, forests, and oceans. We cannot control what others do or think, but we can take action ourselves and in the process both educate others and set examples for others to follow. Whether physically able or not, there are ways in which we all have the power to clean and green our environment, and though many of us can’t afford to put solar panels on our roofs or go out and buy a new hybrid vehicle, there are definitely simple and inexpensive things that all of us can do to be less wasteful and live sustainably:
1) Unplug electronics and appliances when not in use.
Though some newer computers and gadgets go into energy-saving mode while still plugged in, most electronics, such as TV’s, stereos, and computers do not. Go around your home or office and touch all the electronics and appliances. If they feel warm, they are using up energy when not in use. Unplug and save!
2) Take shorter showers.
The average shower lasts 10-30 minutes! Now, it may be unreasonable for everyone to cut down to a 3-5 minute shower, but each of us could probably shave a few minutes off of our shower time. With most shower heads flowing at 2.5-4 gallons per minute, just cutting down our shower time by 5 minutes, could easily save 12.5-20 gallons of water per person each day. That’s a lot of savings of our most precious resource!
3) Walk or ride a bicycle if you can.
It’s easy to get into the habit of driving everywhere, but if you are physically able and you have the time, try walking or riding a bicycle to get coffee, run errands, or meet a friend. Decide on a certain radius of what you consider walking/biking distance, and try to stick to walking or biking to places within your radius. For one person that may be a few blocks, another a few miles. Whatever it is, it will be good both for your health and the environment!
4) Buy locally grown foods.
A lot of gas and oil is used transporting foods from distant locations. Buying locally grown foods and other products can reduce this waste and encourage producers to sell more locally. Our food choices and demands can influence how the environment is used – holisticly and sustainably, or wastefully. Also, eating locally and in season food is better for your health!
5) Grow some herbs and veggies.
There’s nothing like picking and eating fresh herbs, fruits, or vegetables from your own garden. Growing your own food saves on energy, packaging, and consuming in general. It also tastes delicious! Even if you don’t have a garden, a couple of window boxes and pots are enough to grow some basic herbs and greens.
6) Clean up.
Pick up trash you see on hiking trails, in bushes, or on your street. It could be a random act of kindness, or you could set aside just twenty minutes a week or month to help clean up.
Volunteer with environment work parties in your area, or organize your own.
8) Donate Money or Time.
Donate to or volunteer with nature conservancy and animal rights and conservancy groups. We are all part of this great web of life. When strands are cut, lost, or weakened, it creates a domino effect on the other strands in the web.
9) Live Consciously.
Expressing respect for the environment through actions, words, thoughts, and intentions can also have a great impact on the world at large. Set an example of love by how you live your life. It just might be contagious!
10) The Power of Energy.
If you are not physically able to volunteer in some way, harness the power of intention though meditation and visualization. Visualize the good, help, cleaning, greening, and love you wish to be for the world…sort of like biofeedback for the planet.
If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.
There are steps all of us can take, even if just tiny baby steps, to help out the planet and the environment. Our actions, however small, can have an impact, for it is also the energy and intentions that we put out into the world that can bring about positive change. We all have the power to help clean and green our environments: our homes, our cities, and beyond all the way to the depths of the seas. Intentions from the heart do have the power to change the world.