Conserving the environment doesn’t always mean litter picking at a beach clean, contributing £3 a month to a charity or taking part in annual wildlife surveys, it starts with your everyday life.
We are constantly making decisions; what should I eat for lunch? Is a Netflix account really necessary? (Yes) And arguably the environment needs to be taken into account for a lot of these daily dilemmas (maybe not one concerning Netflix).
So here’s 5 easy ways to ease your conscience:
1) Eco-friendly searching
We all use the Internet and the VAST majority of us use Google to navigate it. Apart from a brief unexplainable period of using Ask Jeeves, when I was 13, I have been fiercely loyal to our multi-coloured overlords. However, there’s a new search engine in town!
Ecosia earns a buck just like any other search engine; websites pay to be on top of the list, where you’re more likely to click.
The difference with Ecosia is that 80% of its profits go towards planting trees in Burkina Faso. It even tells you how many trees you’ve personally helped to plant (top right in the image below) and the total tress from all users (below the search bar). So why not help create a forest whilst you search?
2) You are what you don’t eat
Food costs a lot of time and resources to produce and, in some cases, it travels the world to arrive and then decay in your fridge. For example, 1kg of avocado (which is just 2-3 of the things) can need up to 272litres of water to grow.
So instead of making ‘If it’s yellow let it mellow…’ a priority when saving water, how about thinking about your food instead?
What I find helps is planning for meals two or three days ahead so you’ve got the stuff in and you know when you’re going to use it. Anymore than that and I run the danger of soggy salad because life has this way of popping up and changing your plans!
Also, I freeze everything I can! Recently I ventured into the world of frozen herbs, fruits and vegetables. No more buying a pack of fresh mint just to use two leaves!
3) Big up the booze
I never thought I’d say this but – good on you Wetherspoons! Recently I walked into a ‘spoons in Camden and adorning the wall behind the bar was a beautiful booze menu that advertised how far each tipple had travelled.
I approached the bar with a hankering for a smooth IPA but after seeing the voyage it had taken from its homeland I couldn’t justify the purchase. Instead I chose an ale from the not too far away Windsor racking up just 20 miles to the pint.
I guess buying locally isn’t just for pork sausages!
4) Lay off the Landfill
We’ve all heard of a bag for life, right? The success of the 5p tax highlighted that people just need that small push into the path of righteousness.
Hopefully now that we can all see the benefits of carrying a tote we can apply the same principle into other areas of our lives:
- Carry a refillable water bottle instead of buying disposables on the go.
- Store things in Tupperware or glass tubs rather than plastic single-use sandwich bags.
- Use a thermos flask instead of takeaway coffee cups- you might even get a discount.
If you can think of any more ways to replace disposables with a reusable alternative then comment below!
5) Check that label
This one is so easy because labels, certificates, logos, whatever you want to call them, are on everything: The Soil Association, Fair Trade, MSC, FSC the list goes on…
All denote something important, they set out a list of criteria that the producers and distributers have to adhere to and encourage companies to go above and beyond.
Want to make sure the birthday card you’re buying doesn’t destroy the home of your favourite monkey? There’s a logo for that. Want to know that your tuna hasn’t been hauled from depleted stocks? There’s a logo for that.
They’re there to make our lives easier and they sure do lessen that environmental burden on your shoulders.
I’m in no way suggesting that these bite-sized tips are the only ways you can help the wider world, but they’re definitely a start. Now that I always carry a tote bag and a refillable bottle in my rucksack I can’t imagine going out without them!
It’s my view that teeny-tiny daily choices make us more aware of our impact on the planet and can contribute to the larger decisions we make in the future.