Green Living for a beautiful planet and life! Read through our green living tips.
What is Green Living?
Green living, also known as sustainable living or eco-friendly living, is a lifestyle and mindset focused on minimizing one’s environmental impact and promoting the well-being of the planet. It involves making conscious choices and adopting practices that reduce harm to the environment, conserve natural resources, and promote a healthier and more sustainable way of life.
Green Living Tips: Eco-friendly, Practical & Easy Ideas that Make a Difference for Everyone
Every day, your actions impact the environment and the world you live in. From your morning shower to the clothes you dress in, and the coffee you pick up as you commute to work, these are all choices that play a role in whether you are caring for or harming the planet. In addition to affecting the environment, your choices can also affect your health and that of your pocketbook.
It is a well-known fact that the planet is warming and that humans are responsible for the changes occurring. Preservation of the environment for generations to come, as well as for your health and that of your children’s children, should be paramount to your existence on Earth.
Here are some immediate “green” actions that will help protect us and our planet and are very easy to do:
- Stop the Lawn Chemicals. Have an Eco-Friendly Organic Lawn – stop the use of toxic lawn chemicals that cause cancer and end up in our waterways.
- Do not spray for Mosquitoes – this kills all bugs and our pollinators. (bugs are baby bird food!)
- Grow Native Plants. Learn all about Native Plants, Trees and Native Flowers and how Important they are for the food chain and our environment.
- Waste Less Food – 10 ways to Avoid Wasting Food and Save Money
- Stop the use of Single-use Plastic – this includes plastic bags and plastic bottles.
- Eat less Red Meat. Limit red meat consumption to once a week and help the environment by reducing methane gas. Beef production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas.
- Consider Solar Panels – Clean and Renewable Energy Source: Solar panels generate electricity using sunlight, which is an abundant and renewable resource. Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy production does not release greenhouse gases or other pollutants that contribute to climate change and air pollution.
- Grow your Own Vegetables – Home gardening reduces the carbon footprint associated with the transportation and distribution of food. It also allows you to use organic and sustainable gardening practices, minimizing the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
- Turn off Lights as Much as Possible – When lights are left on unnecessarily, they continue to consume electricity. By turning off lights when they are not needed, you reduce the demand for energy production. Most electricity generation methods, such as burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, oil), release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Reducing energy consumption lessens the environmental impact associated with electricity production.
- Leave the Leaves! Leave areas of leaves in the fall for insects and pollinators to over-winter.
- Get a Rake or an Electric Leaf Blower – gas powered leaf blowers are bad for the environment.
- Carry your Own Reusable to-go Containers. Skip the Styrofoam to-go containers at your local restaurant and bring your own.
- Recycle or Reuse – Minimizing Waste: Green living encourages waste reduction by practicing recycling, composting, and reducing single-use items and packaging. It also involves making conscious choices to purchase products with minimal packaging.
- Use Unscented laundry Detergent and Skip the Fabric Softeners – Fabric softeners typically contain a variety of chemicals, including surfactants, fragrances, and preservatives. Some of these chemicals are not easily biodegradable and can persist in the environment for extended periods. When they are washed out of fabrics in the laundry, they can end up in wastewater and eventually in natural water bodies.
We Need to Make Daily Eco-Friendly Decisions
By making conscious eco-friendly decisions on a daily basis, you can play your part in minimizing your impact on the environment and reducing your exposure to chemicals.
Perhaps you have already implemented a few methods for leading a more eco-friendly, green existence, however you are looking for more ways. If that is the case, then you will want to keep reading.
What Can You Do?
Following is a number of realistic, practical tips that you can begin to use immediately that will result in a positive impact for you, your family, and future generations.
Stop the Use of Lawn Chemicals
Lawn chemicals are the chemicals that are sprayed on lawns to maintain a weed-free yard. But what if those lawn chemicals are dangerous to us, our children, our pets and the environment? New evidence is now coming out that these lawn chemicals may not be as safe as originally thought. The overuse of pesticides has led partly to the loss of insect populations around the world. Loss of insects is alarming because insects are at the bottom base of our food web. Insects also feed baby birds and we have lost 30% of our birds in the last 30 years. We can’t afford to lose birds at that alarming rate. There is also evidence that these chemicals are partly responsible for the near extinction of the Monarch butterflies.
So, what to Do to Help?
Stop the use of lawn chemicals to protect every living thing. Improve the health of your soil and your grass will grow naturally thick and lush. Organic lawn care is so important for many, many reasons. We have been led to believe that the ONLY way to get grass that is envied by our neighbors is by pumping it full of toxic chemicals. We can change that.
Buy and Plant Native Plants
Native plants are the basis for all life on earth. It’s from native plants that we get most of our food. Plants are what feeds us and also feeds the foods that we eat, like turkey, chicken and even fish. Native plants are plants that have co-evolved with the insects and birds in that particular area. They provide food for insects, which in turn feeds our bids and also feeds our important pollinators. Native plants are essential to life on this planet.
When developer develop land, they typically remove all of the native plants and trees. Retailers and big box stores then sell us Exotic Plants that our insects and birds do not recognize as food starving out or birds. Many native plants are also a HOST PLANT for many different butterflies. For example – the Monarch Butterfly will only lay her eggs on native MILK WEED. The eggs hatch into beautiful little caterpillars that quickly get busy eating the milk weed. (Caterpillars are also food for most baby birds.)
So, what to Do to Help
Find a local native plant nursey that sells only native plants. These plants must be grown naturally without any neonicotinoids or without any chemicals. Native plants need very little care once planted and watered-in, and you will be amazed at the life that comes to your yard. Keep in mind that if you are bringing butterflies and fireflies back to life in your yard then you need to go with an organic lawn care approach. Take an interest in native plants and you will fall in love.
Check out Your States Native Plant Society
A great Book to Read or Give as A Gift is Natures Best Hope by Doug Tallamy https://amzn.to/3EtYpNx
Here is a great Green Living Graphic That You Can Share – It’s easy to read and has some awesome Green Living Tips!
Reducing Food Waste is also Big on The List
By cutting down on food waste, you will:
* Save money
* Cut down on the resources related to growing and producing your food (fuel, water, etc).
* Decrease greenhouse gases related to methane emissions coming from landfills. This is why composting is so essential.
Reducing Food Waste
When you think of becoming more environmentally friendly, you may think of switching to detergents that do not contain harmful phosphates that result in algae blooms in the lakes. You may also think about riding your bike more rather than driving everywhere. However, did you know that if you pay more attention to food waste and its disposal, that you are also doing something good for the environment?
How is this so? Food waste that ends up rotting in landfills results in the production of greenhouse gases thought to be responsible for global warming. This does not even take into consideration all the fuel, land usage, and other resources involved in creating that food. As a result, it is important to find ways to reduce how much food ends up in the landfills so that you can do your part in ensuring that future generations can benefit from the natural resources of Mother Earth.
Here are some tips:
1. Compost –
Buy yourself a compost bin, and put it in the backyard in a sunny location to speed up the process of composting. In fact, many cities offer incentives for backyard composting. Keep an empty ice cream pail and lid under your sink where you can discard food scraps, and empty them into the compost bin when it gets full. Compost makes great material to add to your garden and flower beds.
- READ MORE BELOW ON COMPOSTING –
YES COMPOSTING NO COMPOSTING
2. Reduce the number of perishables you buy at any given time –
It is better to go shopping more often or a few times per week and buy small amounts each time. This will reduce the chances of perishables going bad before you use them. We need to eat the food we buy.
3. Freeze what can be frozen –
As an example, a big bag of spinach can begin to go bad quite quickly, so be sure to freeze it before this happens. You can then use the frozen spinach in fruit and vegetable smoothies.
If you are going away for the weekend and there is a chance that your gallon of milk is going to spoil, you can freeze it and then thaw it out when you return home. If you do not like the taste when it thaws, consider using it in baking or in smoothies as well. Using food that we have is critical to stopping food waste.
Even over-ripe bananas can be frozen and saved for baking banana bread later.
4. Make soups, stew, or casseroles –
To reduce your waste of leftovers, use them to create variety dishes such as soups, stews, or casseroles. This is also a great way to use up those vegetables that are no longer crunchy or have begun to wilt. Make a pot of soup!
A Few Reasons Why We Waste Food
* Consumers are picky – People do not like seeing bruises on their apples or other fruits. In fact, a lot of food and vegetable produce never sees the inside of a supermarket, because consumers expect these items to look a certain way. For example, when is the last time you saw an oddly misshapen carrot or potato being sold in your local grocery store?
* Throwing out food is normal – With more disposable incomes compared to earlier generations, and ease of access to food, it is easy to buy more food than is necessary at one time so some of it spoils in the fridge before you ever get to it. It is also easy to make more food than is needed for a meal.
Here are 3 more ways to reduce your food waste:
1. Plan ahead –
Plan your meals for no more than a week ahead of time, while considering what you already have in your fridge, and what you need to use soon before it spoils.
The more often you can shop is the most ideal solution, as then you can keep a running tally on what is left in your fridge and what you need to buy. Always make a list of ingredients that you will need before you go shopping.
Be realistic as well. In other words, you may be creating your menu on Saturday morning when you have a lot of energy, but do you think that you will really feel like cooking on Thursday evening after getting home from a late work meeting that you have to attend? Perhaps that Thursday, it would be more realistic to head to the restaurant for dinner, instead of buying and storing extra food in your fridge that may end up spoiling before you get to it.
Think about how you can use leftovers. For example, if you make chicken and vegetables on Monday, can you then make a soup from the leftovers on Tuesday?
In addition, try to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. This ensures better flavor, and less chance that you will let them go to waste.
2. Store your food properly –
Paying attention to the storage of perishables, such as fruits and vegetables, can reduce food spoilage before you get to them.
For example, you do not want to store apples next to other produce, because they create more ethylene gas than some other fruits and vegetables. This ethylene gas is a natural plant hormone that increases the rate that produce ripens.
Ripened bananas and avocados are among other items that also give off large amounts of ethylene gas, so you need to be aware of this as other produce can be more sensitive and susceptible to the effects (faster ripening and hence spoilage) of this gas.
Here are some ideas:
- Allow avocados to ripen on your countertop before storing them in your fridge. Once avocados are ripened and put in the fridge, you need to use them within several days to prevent spoilage. Cucumbers and eggplant are also better stored at room temperature, and then stored in the fridge for only a few days before being eaten.
- In addition, always take produce out of plastic bags to reduce the rate of spoilage. Produce generally needs a bit of air.
- Don’t wash your fruits and vegetables until you are ready to use them to keep them from spoiling and growing mold.
- Also keep in mind that some fruits and vegetables spoil more quickly after being put in the refrigerator. Bananas and avocados are two such examples.
- Do not pull off or cut off stems until you are ready to use the produce.
3. Consider the preparation of your food –
You may want to use up your perishables immediately after shopping. For example, you may want to spend Saturday or Sunday afternoon preparing your meals for the week, and then freezing them. For example, you could make two vegetable lasagnas, and then freeze them until you bake and eat them later on in the week.
You can also buy ground beef in bulk, and then cook it all at once to make a large pot of spaghetti sauce. This spaghetti sauce can then be frozen and thawed for when you are ready to use it.
Freeze bread, and toast only the number of slices you need. If bread does happen to get stale before you use it, you can use it to create croutons, stuffing, or use it in bread pudding.
You can use fruits that are no longer fresh – such as blueberries, apples, nectarines, oranges, and bananas – in smoothies.
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