We all know that there are huge changes world-wide needed to save our precious planet. In the big picture we need to focus on lessening our reliance on natural resources, diminishing and preventing pollution of our land, water, and air, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to curtail climate change, and stopping deforestation to protect biodiversity. When laid out like this, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed and discouraged, so let’s focus on the smaller-scale changes we can make in our day to day lives. We might not feel like we can shift climate change on a global scale, but here are just a few conscientious choices you can make to do your part and help you go green:
· Eat green by choosing food that is organic, local, and seasonal. Organic food is produced without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents. Support local, mid-sized farms instead of industrial agriculture because this large-scale food production is responsible for 70% of world wide water use, 75% of water pollution, and one third of greenhouse gases that are emitted. Reducing your meat, egg, and dairy consumption, and choosing more plant-based foods is one of the best ways you can shrink your carbon footprint. And many local farms participate in the weekly Farmers Market, so enjoy a walk on a Saturday morning.
· Drink green wine… no, not literally! We have vineyards right here in BC that make organic and biodynamic wine, which means that they use no commercial fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides, and they view the vineyard itself as a sustainable ecosystem.
· Reduce air pollution and emissions that contribute to climate change by walking, biking, or taking public transit instead of driving everywhere. Even carpooling helps by taking one or more cars off of the road. And when you have your car out, plan out your errands and make fewer trips when you are running around the city (we love hearing our participants tell us about grocery shopping or banking as part of their AHS outing).
· Be energy efficient by turning off the light when you leave a room, turning off or unplugging electronics when you’re not using them, washing your laundry in cold water, hanging clothes to dry, and avoiding heating or cooling empty rooms by closing vents.
· There are many water-conservation products that help you reduce the amount of water you use, including specially designed shower heads, faucets, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, and garden hoses.
· Go green while shopping by bringing your own re-usable bag, and avoiding products with a lot of plastic packaging.
· You can even go green at the gym, with many companies to choose from that make workout gear that is eco-friendly! You can find organic activewear made from recycled plastic, or from sustainable materials like bamboo and beechwood. You can also find other environmentally conscientious gym accessories like yoga mats, water bottles (which reduce the plastic waste of buying single-use bottled water), shoes, duffel bags, and more!
Many little positive environmental choices add up. And we are always interested to hear our participants share about their green ideas and how we can support the planet.