Sunday, November 29, 2009

5 Tips for Sustainable Living (That Real People Can Do!)

So often I come across blogs offering tips for living a more sustainable lifestyle, but the tips that they offer are not necessarily realistic for busy moms and dads.

It would be great if we could all ride our bicycles everywhere we go, but that's just not realistic for everyone. Electric cars? Another great idea, but not (yet) realistic for people who have to travel long distances.

I think we would all choose live in a way that is better for the planet provided it's realistic and convenient.  In light of that, I've put together five tips for sustainable living that are practical and realistic even if you have a crazy busy lifestyle.  It doesn't take a significant amount of effort to make a difference for the planet.

Here are my tips (in no particular order):

1. Buy a programmable thermostat. Did you know that this is one of the easiest things you can do to help fight global warming? They are relatively inexpensive (ranging from $30 to $300) and you can easily recoup the cost in the first year of using it. Create a program to lower the temperature of the house while you are at work and then have it start to warm up the house before you come home. Do the opposite in the summer.  Most will also let you create a different program for weekdays and weekends.  Once programmed, it takes no further effort. You'll not only save energy, but you'll save money too.

2. Buy Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFL).  They are a bit more expensive that normal lightbulbs but this is offset by the fact that they last longer and more than pay for themselves in energy savings. If every North American home replaced only one incandescent bulb with a CFL bulb, it would reduce greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars in one year.

3. Use food grade stainless steel or reusable plastic water bottles that are tested and don't leach BPA.  I started using stainless steel bottles this year and my kids have been using BPA free plastic instead of disposable water bottles from the grocery store for a few years now.  I've found them far more convenient than expected. Not only are they BPA free but they can help reduce landfill.  You may be surprised to learn that North Americans sent upwards of 38 million plastic water bottles into landfill sites in 2006 alone.

4. Buy products that you know are better for the planet.  Fair Trade coffee now can be found in major Retailers at an equivalent cost to other good coffees.  Look for clothing, bedding, decor and other products from Retailers that screen their vendors for earth friendly practices.  You'll find a variety of eco-friendly, organic, fair trade items at EcoStylish Living. Shop smart. Spend your money with Retailers that sell products that are better for our planet.

5. Save money. Save trees. Go paperless.  Do your banking and credit cards online. Have them email your monthly statements to you instead of mailing them.  You could also move your magazine and newspaper subscriptions online.  Most major publications have this option available. The advantage is that you'll actually get your news faster than you did with a traditional newspaper.

I'd love to hear your ideas and tips.  Please leave a comment or chat with me on Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Posting spam or other comments that are unrelated to this article will cause your comment to be flagged for deletion and possibly cause your IP address to be permanently banned from this server.