Yesterday the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change release a report that declared a “code red for humanity” and give a grim glimpse of the world’s future. And the report’s statement on climate change being human-caused may be the most damaging part.
With every part of the globe affected by the actions of humans, seeing the outlook could have us asking ourselves: What can I do about climate change?
The answer? Well, it isn’t just recycling.
It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed with all this information and have the feeling you want to close your eyes to the whole things. Personal action is super important and we should always try hard to reduce our own carbon footprint.
My family and I have been working on this since 2006. I think most people assume I was “born green.” The truth is that, before 2006, I did favor organic food and I did recycle … and I think that was about it. Once we made the decision to reduce our carbon footprint, we executed changes over many years. I truly believe it takes baby steps to go green and that you have to challenge yourself over years because few people can carry out drastic changes right away.
For over 14 years, we have been taking measures toward a more sustainable life, and 6 years ago we took the leap and went zero waste. I still feel there is room for more improvement, but there are days when I just want to throw in the towel and give up. And then I’m reminded of why I do this — my kids — so they will have a planet to live on and to make sure they grow up as healthy as possible.
The question is this: What changes have we made to reduce our carbon footprint and to live a more green life?
- Growing food
- Building soil
- Only buy organic clothes
- Printing on 100% recycled and bleach free paper
- Removed our lawn
- Buy used clothes as much as possible
- Making our own household cleaners
- Making coffee to go
- Cleaning with homemade cleaners only
- Recycling water for the garden
- Using only natural pesticides
- Using homemade fertilizers
- Reducing food waste
- Paying bills electronically and refusing paper statements and bills
- Read books electronically
- Use recycled materials for arts and crafts
- Only using energy from our solar panels
- Driving one car
- Washing laundry with cold water
- Hanging clothes to dry
- Buying used as much as possible
- Living a minimal life
- Fixing what is broken
- Giving up on most plastic
- Reducing waste
- Buying in bulk
- Baking all our breads
- Making our own jams, mustard, ketchup etc.
- Buying at farmers’ markets
- Buying package free goods
- Bringing our own water bottles
- Cooking at home
- Skipping paper paper towels and napkins and using cloth instead
- Making our own pickles, jams, krauts, teas, etc.
- Using cloth diapers
- Using cloth instead of paper towels
- Buying tree-free toilet papers
- Buying organic anything as much as possible
- Bringing our own food when out
- Skipping straws
- Packing school lunches zero waste and in reusable bento boxes
- Things we still want to work on:
- Going completely plastic free
- Biking more
- Grow even more of our food
I gave a speech about living green and reducing waste last week. I told the audience that our list of accomplishments is long and what we are working on is short only because we have been pursuing green living over many years. You must be kind to yourself and know that nobody is perfect.