For centuries, humans have behaved as though we are in control of nature.
We have made huge technological advances but at the same time, we have been extremely destructive.
For a long time, we refused to stop and acknowledge the price we have paid for this advancement. Now, we can no longer ignore it.
Many of us are starting to wake up to the impact our lifestyles and choices have on the planet. We realise that changes need to be made.
We want to be part of the solution and no longer want to contribute to the destruction of our environment.
More and more people want to “do their bit” and introduce green living at home. However, for some, transitioning to green living can seem overwhelming.
Terms such as global warming, carbon footprint and climate change have become part of our everyday vocabulary, but can make green living seem more complicated and expensive than it is.
This guide will show you that easy green living at home is possible and doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming.
What does “green” really mean?
Essentially, green means living a life that is in balance and harmony with the planet we live on.
Green means living a lifestyle that works with nature and causes the least amount of environmental damage.
Reducing waste and consumption across all areas of our life, using as few resources as possible and living in a way that has little or no negative impact on the environment is what it means to live green.
How to do your bit for the environment and raise responsible children
Green living can apply to every area of your life, but one of the easiest places to start is in your home.
And, it is important to get the whole family involved.
Your children will inherit the planet once you are gone therefore, it is important that they are aware of their responsibility to take care of the environment.
It’s a well-known fact that children copy the habits and behaviour of the adults around them, so you need to set a positive example.
Some ways you can do this include:
- Eating less meat and more organic fruit and veg
No harmful chemicals are used to grow organic produce. Additionally, organic fruit and vegetables require fewer resources and cause the least amount of environmental damage.
- Using less synthetic chemicals
Beauty and cleaning products contain chemicals that are released into the air and washed down our drains, ending up in rivers or even the sea. Begin swapping these products for eco-friendly or natural alternatives.
- Reducing your water usage
Fix leaky taps; turn off the water whilst brushing your teeth and collect rainwater for watering house plants and gardens.
- Making conscious shopping choices
Buy locally where possible and don’t buy from companies that are known polluters. Avoid using plastic carrier bags and buying products that use plastic or excessive packaging.
Take recycling one step further with upcycling
Recycling is perhaps one of the easiest and most popular methods of green living at home.
The number of people recycling in the UK is continuing to increase.
According to government figures, 44.9% of “waste from households” was recycled in 2014.
In addition to recycling, people are taking things one step further by “upcycling”.
Upcycling takes unwanted items and turns them into new products. It is a way to reuse or repurpose items that would otherwise be discarded.
Almost anything you can think of can be upcycled.
From common household items such as glass wine/beer bottles, jam jars, tin cans, bottle caps and plastic bottles and containers, to more obscure items such as VHS tapes, tyres and carpet samples.
Projects and examples of upcycling are available on the internet.
With www.recyclethis.co.uk, you can search for ideas using specific items.
Remade In Britain, with its large selection of upcycling materials is a great place to source salvage items for your own DIY upcycling project.
It also claims to be the UK’s largest upcycling and vintage marketplace specialising in upcycled furniture, home accessories and eco gifts.
Inspiration can also be found at http://www.upcycling.co.uk.
Simple ways to save energy around the home
Energy consumption is one of the biggest threats to the environment and it is important to start using energy more effectively.
Most of us are still using unsustainable energy sources, which generates substantial pollution. Therefore saving energy means less pollution.
As a family, here are a few simple changes you can make to save energy around your home:
- Turn off lights and unplug electrical products when they are not being used. Don’t leave anything on stand-by mode and use energy saving light bulbs.
- Reduce the thermostat on your central heating and use a timer to turn it on and off. Additionally, ensure your home is well insulated. Double glazing, cavity wall insulation, draught excluders and thermal curtains can prevent your home from losing heat.
- Always fully load the washing machine, use a lower temperature and dry your laundry outside whenever the weather allows.
- Don’t keep the fridge or oven door open too long and only fill the kettle with as much water as you need.
How to interest kids in being environmentally aware
The key to getting your children to be environmentally aware is to make it fun and rewarding. It is also important to start as young as possible so it becomes a way of life for them.
Some ideas for encouraging kids to take an interest in green living include:
- Giving them their own space in the garden for growing fruit and veg.
- Incentive driven recycling – make it a competition to see who can recycle the most each week.
- Encouraging them to walk and cycle and use the car or public transport as little as possible.
- Teaching them about upcycling and encouraging them to use salvage materials to make furniture and accessories for their bedroom or play room.
- Visiting the Eden Project. They also have lots of recycling and green craft ideas that you can do at home, as a family, on their website.
One family can make a difference.
Hopefully this guide has demonstrated that easy green living at home is possible, can fit seamlessly into your daily routine and doesn’t have to cost you more time or money.
Even by making small changes, you and your family can make a difference.
By adopting green living at home, you will make a positive contribution to the planet and help to sustain it for future generations.