We all live in an age where the toll of human activities on the environment is manifesting ever more clearly in its adverse effects on our daily lives. This has spurred growing awareness and action among many individual consumers. Everyone can help by making small changes to their habits – being more mindful of energy consumption, switching the lights off when not in use, and choosing the environment-friendly option in any purchase. But if you’re interested in taking measures a step further, these practices can bring you closer to the basics and greatly reduce your overall impact on the environment.
The water most households use for daily activities runs through utility lines; prior to that it has to be filtered and purified. The entire process is driven by fossil fuels, so reducing water consumption not only conserves a precious resource, but lowers the demand placed on the system. In some locations such as Utah, a water well can be a great way for property owners to access the ground water table instead. Collecting rainwater through drainage systems will let you use it for gardening or other purposes which don’t require prior filtration or treatment with chlorine or fluorine.
One of the potential high-impact areas where every consumer can make a difference through environment-conscious choices is in food consumption. Buying local produce reduces the distance covered across the supply chain, but you can easily do even better by growing some vegetables in your garden. Nutrition-packed staple crops such as potatoes and beans are easily cultivated; as legumes, many beans also enrich the soil with their nitrogen-fixing properties. Tomatoes, onions, and garlic are so low-maintenance and easy to grow, even kids can handle it as a fun project. You don’t need to feed your family entirely from your yard, but every bit of self-grown produce reduces reliance on the food production industry and its processes.
Waste management is a key aspect in any effort to ‘go green’, and you can take control of a good chunk of waste disposal and allocation by transforming it into something useful. With a little effort and time, composting will turn food scraps into useful organic material that enriches the soil in your yard and can help grow vegetables or boost the health of your ornamental plants. This can save almost a third of household waste from hitting landfills where it would not only be (literally) wasted, but eventually break down into methane and contribute to global warming.
Biking and walking
After more than a century of oil dependence, many people find it hard to imagine what it was like to live in an era of actual horse power. Yet the impact of transportation on global carbon emissions is undeniable, and most people’s everyday routines incorporate several miles in the form of short, repeated trips. Taking a walk or biking these minor distances will give you a fitness boost, cut down on time spent at the gym, and save the environment from the emissions which your car would have contributed to the growing pollution problem.
Going back to basics doesn’t have to mean uprooting your residence to some off-the-grid cabin in the wilderness. With some lifestyle adjustments, these measures let you go above and beyond small change and substantially reduce your impact on the environment as we all fight for a better future.