GO GREEN: Lifestyle changes for a better world and better life

Green has become quite a popular colour in recent years. It seems everywhere you look people are talking about going green. From advertising campaigns to operational strategies, companies worldwide have been implementing “go green” initiatives to catch up to the change in consumer demand. Green is now as ubiquitous as black, but with all the hype, what does it really mean to go green?

Simply put, going green is a way of being environmentally conscious and acting responsibly. By becoming aware of the issues plaguing our environment we arm ourselves with the tools necessary to sustain life on our planet.

To shift our thinking towards being green, we first need to educate ourselves about how to adopt green living practices. Going green can have a positive impact on the environment and at the same time can be affordable, simple and greatly improve the quality of our lives. There are numerous ways to go green. Here are but a few:

Minor lifestyle changes

Conserving energy – Reducing the way we consume energy is another way to go green. By conserving energy, not only are we acting in the best interests of our planet, we also save ourselves lots of money. Reducing energy consumption can be as simple as turning off lights when we leave a room or upgrading home insulation and windows.

Reducing energy demand – The first step to reducing energy demand is to conserve energy wherever we can, but for most people there’s only so much that can feasibly be conserved without completely altering their lifestyles. So, another way to reduce energy demand is to switch to renewable energy. If purchasing a new home, opt for an energy-efficient one that was built using green building techniques or install solar panels on top of your current home. Choose from a growing number of low-carbon-emitting vehicles on the market that burn less fossil fuel and produce less hazardous gases than their conventional counterparts.

Recycling – This no-cost, simple way to go green prolongs the lifespan of natural resources. Recycling also reduces the effect that harmful waste products have on the environment. By recycling, we can decrease the amount of pollution that we breathe and limit the hazardous gases that afflict the Earth’s atmosphere. Recycling allows products to become reusable, requiring less energy and fewer resources to produce than new products.

Major lifestyle changes

Voluntary simplicity – One surefire way to go green is to choose voluntary simplicity, a lifestyle that advocates living simply with less material possessions. Not only is the impact on environment favourable, but simple living leads to a higher quality of life. According to this lifestyle, the quality of material possessions need not be cheap. In fact, higher quality items last longer and are favoured as a means of reducing carbon footprints.

Permaculture – By working with nature rather than against it, permaculturists incorporate sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems into one whole ecosystem. They do this through natural, organic farming techniques such as agroforestry (integrating the benefits of the forest with livestock and crops) and design techniques such as renewable energy technologies and green building.

Community – Forming an intentional community with others wanting to live sustainably is a wise way to go green. If working with the right people, a community can do much more to benefit the environment than any individual can.

With 7 billion people on Earth and counting, humankind’s impact on the environment is immense. Thankfully, there are increasingly more ways to go green. Companies are designing less energy-intensive versions of their current products and awareness of environmental issues has never been greater. If we unite in adopting environmentally-conscious lifestyles, we can significantly reduce our impact on the environment. The Earth is a great ecosystem that we can bring back into balance.

So go green and be responsible for the environment!