In all the different areas of our lives where we strive to find balance, we have to remember the environment. It’s important to think beyond ourselves, think about all of Earth’s other inhabitants, and also consider future generations. When you make positive choices in your life that take care of the environment, it not only contributes to your own overall wellness, but also the wellness of animals, plants, and other people.
Since people starting talking more about taking care of the environment, we have heard a lot of the same tips over and over – use canvas bags for your shopping, turn off the lights you’re not using, and recycle your cans and bottles, right? So today I thought I would give you some new ideas that you can implement into your life. Don’t worry, they’re fairly easy – just a few things you may not have thought about before or may not have thought about in a while.
Turn off ALL your gadgets – completely.
We all know to turn off the TV or radio when we’re not using it, but did you know that many of your gadgets still continue to use energy, even when they are off? Your devices actually continue to conduct electricity through their power cords when you leave them plugged into the wall.
Easy solution #1 Get a surge-suppressing power outlet strip.
If you plug all your appliances into a surge-suppressing strip, they won’t continue to use energy when they are off. Anywhere in the house where you have a few appliances grouped together, you can plug them all into the same strip. You can do it with your computer, monitor and printer in one room; your hair dryer, hair straightener and radio in the bathroom; and your toaster over, microwave and electric can opener in the kitchen.
When you are done using those appliances, shut them off and then flip the switch on the surge protector too, and your devices will be completely turned off. Try it for a few months and see how much energy you save!
Use smaller cooking devices
Easy solution #2 Bake in your toaster over, cook in your microwave, grill in your George Foreman!
The smaller the appliance, the less energy you will use to cook your food. I have a toaster oven, and I use it for all sorts of things. I bake potatoes in there, make garlic bread, brown rolls, warm leftover pizza – the possibilities are endless. You can use your microwave to boil water, steam vegetables, melt butter, and so many other things instead of using the stove.
As summer approaches, remember also that if you can avoid using the stove and oven as much as possible, you’ll keep your house cooler and save on air conditioning costs too.
Change your lawn care habits
You may not be able to control mother nature, but you can retain moisture in your lawn.
Easy solution #3 Keep your lawn long and let the clippings fall
You can save reduce your need to water the grass if you can get your grass to retain some of the water it gets naturally. You can slow evaporation by keeping your lawn a bit on the long side. And rather than bagging your clippings, let them fall as you mow. This acts as a little shield from the sun, allowing your lawn to retain water a bit longer. The clippings will also reduce your need for artificial fertilizer – an added bonus for the environment.
Sometimes I think people get a little too wrapped up in the appearance of their lawn, wanting to keep it really short and trimmed and also using fertilizers and chemicals to make it lush and keep away weeds that are actually harmless. Try looking at your lawn with a new eye. Embrace its natural state – it’s beautiful (and so are dandelions!).
Be done with disposables
Easy solution #4 Switch to cloth napkins and reusable lunch bags & silverware
When I used to take my lunch to work, I used one of those insulated lunch bags. They work great, and they’re really easy to wipe clean too. I packed silverware from home, so I wouldn’t need to use the plastic utensils at the office, and I even put my sandwich in a little tupperware. If you get in the habit, it’s really just as easy as using disposables. Bring it all home, clean, and you’re set for the next day.
At home we made the switch to cloth napkins. They’re not just for special occasions anymore! We haven’t had paper napkins in the house for years, and we don’t miss them at all. And if you don’t care much about appearances, you don’t even need to invest in actual napkins. Any old fabric will do. You can even cut an old cotton shirt into squares and make those your napkins!
You can even use different colored napkins for different family members, so everyone can remember which one is theirs. Use them for a few days, and then toss them in the laundry.
There are so many little changes you can make to help save the environment. I know you have some tips of your own too, so please share them in the comments!