Going green basically means to adopt an eco friendly lifestyle to help protect our environment and sustain our natural resources. A greener life can be achieved by recycling, reusing or upcycling, buying local (to shorten a product's journey), minimizing driving, using environmentally friendly products and services, making ethical choices and anything else that reduces or reverses our impact on the planet.
To go green can seem like a lot of work at first, but it can easily be achieved through a series of small changes and a few changes at a time is the best way forward. Going green all at once is virtually impossible in this day and age, and it is better to look at it as a process involving varying degrees of a greener life lived. As our lives get busier and everything seems to be moving at a much faster pace it becomes easier to grab the most convenient product or use the fastest method for doing something. We use more and more single use plastic products like disposable coffee cups and straws and think nothing about sustainability. There are plenty of businesses trying to get ahead of this by banning straws and offering incentives for bringing your own cup etc. These are all great but the truth is we can make a much bigger difference if we slowly change the way we use products and services.
The benefits of going green are too many to fully go in to detail here. Using green energy reduces electricity bills and also leads to a cleaner, greener environment with healthier air. A home using green power like solar power and water saving techniques will see it's value go up significantly and will also lessen our dependence on expensive fuels from abroad. Eating organic produce eliminates toxins from our diet that are prevalent in mass farmed produce. In going green or just learning how to, you get to set an example for others and earn a certain self satisfaction.
It can be disheartening to look at the big picture and see the sheer amount of wasteful practices that are still in effect when other individuals are turning things upside down to make small eco friendly changes. It is this exasperation that leads to a lot of people becoming green living advocates and finding and using their own forum to propagate change.
What it really comes down to is we all feel the same way to a certain degree. We all want to leave a better planet for our children and the truth is; going green should not be a shame or guilt based initiative. We are living right in the middle of "Outrage Culture", this blaming and shaming only serves to divide us as a society. Instead of more accusatory "10 Things You Are Doing Wrong" articles, we need one "How To Go Green" article to help change the narrative.
As stated above; the best way to go green is to use the gradual approach. Deciding to go green is also deciding to learn more about the Earth and how our choices and way of thinking affects it. Once you have set your goal and committed to living a more sustainable life, moving to eco friendly products is a great first step but there are many more factors to be considered.
Eco Friendly Products
Using Eco friendly products is the easiest first step in going green and it can lead to a new way in thinking about what products we use and the way that we use them. With modern manufacturing techniques there are organic and environmentally friendly alternatives to almost everything we consume or use. Organic foods have been grown without chemicals using only organic methods and have a far lower impact on our eco system as a result. These foods are generally labelled with a certified organic label to make them stand out on the shelf.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This phrase has been around a long time and is pretty much the slogan for going green. When first brought out it referred to rubbish, and how we should reduce the amount of waste we produce by 1) physically making it smaller, 2) reusing it instead of dumping it, or 3) recycling it. This phrase has since become embedded in our daily lives and has a much larger meaning as eco friendly practices are the new normal. As we settle further into the 21st century sustainable living is fast becoming the new ideal. Going green is more than just better handling our rubbish, it encompasses Reducing our carbon footprints, Reusing or finding further purpose for anything we might dump, and Recycling or upcycling where possible.
Buying locally sourced products not only helps the community around us, it also helps reduce our carbon footprint. Instead of making a journey of hundreds or thousands of kilometres and burning plenty of fuel in the process, locally sourced products have a relatively small journey to make to get to the consumer. Locally produced items also likely have the added benefit of being manufactured on a smaller scale and with more eco friendly materials. This is definitely the case with locally grown fruit and vegetables.
Green energies or renewable energy refers to energy created from renewable or sustainable sources. These sources are naturally replenished in a short time frame and include wind, rain, sunlight, waves, tides, plants, algae, heat and more. These types of power are the opposite of using fossil fuels like coal, oil, and, gas which are a finite source of fuel. Fossil fuels take millions of years to develop while renewable energy replenishes at a more usable rate and produces no greenhouse gas emissions.
Making the ethical choice can also be a green change. Choosing products that are cruelty free lessens our impact on other animals, and choosing sustainably sourced products lessens our impact on the environment. Choosing Fair Trade products lessens our impact on artisans and farmers in developing countries. It ensures that they get a fair price for their product or earn a fair wage for their work. Fair trade allows poor farmers and developing nations to sell their produce at a fair market price and achieve a better standard of living.
Build A Green Home
This is the crowning achievement in a move towards sustainable living, unfortunately it is the least practical change you can make. A fully green building can require a healthy investment and will probably involve some remodelling or renovations.
At first it can seem that everything sustainable is more expensive, but shopping around will show that the price difference is generally not that much and nine times out of ten going green usually turns out to be the money saving option. Recycling is now second nature to most of us but a couple of generations ago it was nothing but a fad. However you decide to go green remember that it is a process and a choice, and thankfully we are still in the position where we can effect change.