You may think this is awfully strange: I watch a film and suddenly want to change things. Well, isn’t it nice that films can have that effect?
So I’ve been thinking about ways to live in a more ecologically friendly way. The following are for me personally, but feel free to make your own list.
Take the bike or use public transport
I already take the bike to school every day and I hardly ever get driven anywhere, so there won’t be much change there. But even after getting my driver’s license (Which I suppose would be handy) I will only take the car when it’s really necessary. Cars use gas we don’t have and give off a lot of CO2, ruining our ozone layer in the process.
Reduce my amount of time I spend on the internet
I’m a YouTube addict. But I realise there are many more ways to spend my time and more useful ones at that. By reducing my time on the internet, I save power because I don’t need my PC that much and I believe all these websites and their information need to be stored on some massive server – which uses a lot of energy.
A few weeks ago somebody told be about that website. It’s a search engine like Google, but greener. I’ll let this little kid explain it to you, less work for me 🙂 Just click on the video.
Reuse your bottles
Personally I hardly ever buy pet-bottles because I refill my bottles with water. After a while I can’t use them anymore because they sort of decay from the inside. But I try to get the most use out of them as I can. Besides, buying water is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard of! In most western countries tap water tastes delicious and it’s been proven that bottled water is not healthier than tap water. And if you don’t trust it, you can get filters like those from Britta and if you like it fizzy there are machines for that too. By simply drinking tap water you reduce the amount of plastic being used and produced and you save money too.
Reduce your consumption of cocoa
This is a hard one for me, but in truth cocoa has other downsides than just getting fat. Cocoa is won from the cocoa tree, in Africa many peasants make their living from harvesting and selling cocoa to big firms. Most of them don’t know what their goods are even worth, so they get paid much less than they ought to and need to be. In Central America cocoa is harvested from big plantations, destroying the surrounding environment and its nature, because the cocoa tree only grows in really warm places. You can also look out for the fair trade label or look up on a chocolate manufacturer’s website where they get their cocoa from and how they treat the peasants. The same thing counts for coffee or tobacco.
Reducing waste and transport damage (CO2) with food
I love to eat and I have to say I’m a fan of the occasional fast food, frozen, packed up, ready to defrost type of meal. But there are ways to eat more healthily and ecologically too. By only buying fresh stuff you reduce your waste. Most “Ready-Meals” are very handy, but mostly really over-packaged. Also, it helps to buy local food, fruit and vegetables for example. By buying food that was produced purely in your own Country or even region, you make sure it’s fresh and didn’t cause loads of CO2 and use tonnes of oil on the way to you. Many basic cookbooks tell you what’s in season at the moment or surely you can look it up on the internet. Also, try buying organic food: Free-range eggs, meat and milk, organic fruits and vegetables. You can even get organic shampoo these days!
Oh and if you’re a fish-lover, please check where that came from too. Mass consumption leads to mass production and over-fishing (that has a bad impact on our health too). This way the animals aren’t treated well, sometimes pumped up with antibiotics and again, smaller peasants are affected and can’t make a living anymore, sometimes they even turn into pirates (Somalia..just saying). When the big fishing boats pull in their huge nets, sometimes turtles or other endangered species get caught and leave their life for no reason at all.
Don’t leave all the lights on all the time!
Unless you have solar panels, you’ll just be wasting energy that comes from those evil atomic power plants, creating nuclear waste and somehow nobody’s quite figured out what to do with it except bury it in the ground. So if you’re not active in that room, please turn off the lights. And remember to turn them off when you go out too.
Don’t use your heating at random
I value the luxury of having a heating when it’s cold, but even that can be reduced a little. For example make sure you don’t forget it’s on and walk out when it’s on a high level or don’t open the window when the heating is on. I don’t know who came up with that silly idea to install every heating under a window, but anyway, if you live your window open and heating on, that heat will just float out into the open, cost you money and energy.
Reduce your general water usage
I try to reduce my showers as much as possible. I understand if you’re under that hot shower and your mind starts to wonder. I do that too. I’ve reduced my showers by about ten minutes, from 20-25 to about 15 minutes. So you don’t take that long washing the shampoo or conditioner out of your hair, try using less of it. Also, you can save water while brushing your teeth. Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth. You only need water to wet the toothbrush and clean your mouth. You can turn it off for those three minutes you’re cleaning your teeth. Also, while washing your face (I’m dealing with painful amount of spots at moment), try using a flannel instead of splashing an undefined amount of water in your face.
Reuse your left-overs
It happens that we keep left-overs and they never get eaten and starting discovering a life of their own in the fridge, but that’s only if nobody liked the food in the first place. So try making nice food in the first place and you won’t have to throw anything away. Generally food should be something to cherish, so think about what you cook and eat and don’t scoff it, enjoy every bite.
Think about the clothes your buying
There’s nothing like a good shopping spree until you feel like your feet have expanded that much in your shoes you can’t get them off. Personally I’m lucky I don’t like spending money on myself, so I rarely buy myself clothes. Every once in a while though I realize I don’t have anything that fits the season or me or has simply too many holes in that I can’t keep up. But when you go to a cheap, trendy clothes shop, keep in mind that there is a reason why things are so cheap. A lot of the time companies take advantage of desperate workers, paying them very little and making them work under dangerous and highly unhealthy circumstances. For example; bleach for that worn-down effect on Jeans can cause a lot of damage. If the workers aren’t provided with proper protective clothing, the chemicals will get onto their skin and into their lungs, causing illnesses and early deaths. Furthermore, all these chemicals can find their way into a local river, killing the ecosystem, land and people.
Maybe it’s better to buy clothes at for more money, but at a lower cost of the workers and the environment. Mostly these clothes have better quality and will last you longer. But I’m not talking about clothes from popular brands. Make sure you’re paying for the quality, not the brand name. Also, if you’ve been listening to the radio lately you’ll have heard the most annoying song of 2013: Thrift Shop. Well, everyone who likes to call him or herself cool listens to it in large groups, but I don’t think anybody really listens to the lyrics. What Mr. Macklemore says is very true: Second hand are firstly unique and can be very pretty and also come at a cheaper price. I got a beautiful black dress when I was in Scotland last year for only seven pounds! And what’s best is my mother recently found an Oxfam’s shop in Frankfurt (A second-hand shop where all the income goes to charity). But remember, buying cheap only counts for second-hand stuff!
Be aware of the products you use
Many cosmetic products aren’t as pretty as they seem. Some companies use animal testing and/or the products contain bad chemicals. Most brands will tell you on their website if they don’t use animal testing, if they don’t say anything about it – they probably do.
Hopefully you’ll be able to transfer some of my points to your own list of easy ways to save the planet (or at least not quite destroy it). Thank you 🙂