Guest blogger Jackie Edwards reminds us about our everyday choices and suggests sustainable ways to start the new year!
Humans have unarguably an enormous impact on our planet. With a growing population needing ever more resources, it’s really important to think about how your life has an impact on the environment around you, and take responsibility.
Some of the greatest effects are the most obvious – like air travel, for example, which is why being a sustainable traveller is really important. However, there are plenty of things to think about a little closer to home as well – consumption of petrol in the USA has more than quadrupled since the 1950s. Sustainability is important in all areas of our lives but really does begin in the home. Small changes to your everyday life will add up over the years to help make a positive impact for generations to come, so consider what you can do differently.
Reducing your water and electricity consumption is a great place to start. Both are necessary to everyday life, but making sure that you are using it efficiently and without unnecessary waste is really important. Get your plumbing checked out for any leaks, and reduce the amount of water your toilet uses to flush – and even try an eco-friendly shower-head. Swap your light bulbs for low-energy LED models, and remember to turn them off when leaving a room – as well as other electrical items like your TV or laptop. You can also help the bigger picture by switching energy suppliers to one committed to using green renewable power.
- Tips for energy and cost-efficient lighting
- See UNWTO’s neZEH e-toolkit for helping hotels reach zero energy consumption
What’s on the table?
Sustainability isn’t simply about using less: it’s also being smarter about what we do use. Take a look at your pantry and fridge: where does your food come from? How far has it travelled to reach your plate, and how sustainable are the growing and manufacturing processes. You don’t necessarily have to turn vegan, but choosing ethical and sustainable local sources for your meat and dairy products is one way to reduce your impact. Buy only what you need to reduce wastage, and set up a compost bin in your garden to avoid sending any organic scraps to landfill.
- Read more about the importance of buying local food
- The Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping (2010)
Shopping and material goods
Whether you’re picking up your weekly shopping or making a big, one-off purchase, take a moment to think about the wider impacts of your choice. Home cleaning products, for example, can contain some really nasty chemicals, which create problems further down the water system – and make sure that as much packaging for food and other products you buy is recyclable or reusable. This is also a good idea to consider when you’re choosing big-ticket items like furniture or electrical equipment: what is its lifespan and how will you get rid of it? Make sure it can be recycled or re-used, and consider paying a bit extra for a quality product that will last longer.
- Green Tips for eco-friendly cleaning
- Read more about upcycling furniture
- Our Sustainable holiday gift guide
Some of these changes will require altering habits and comforts we just take for granted – but with a commitment to sustainability driving you, it won’t be long before this becomes the norm and you can be more confident about your impact on the planet.