How to live a green, sustainable lifestyle Part Two: Easy Changes in Your Community
Welcome back to our guide on how to green-up your lifestyle through making more environmentally conscious decisions each day. This article will focus on easy changes you can make within your community to reduce your carbon footprint, alongside saving money. We hope that if you follow these simple and easy actions, you’ll be able to inspire others within your community to take up the same tasks to - campaigning positively everyday for our earth’s protection.
Buy local produce
When you start out with your shopping list for the week - identify items you need which you can buy from a local vegetable shop or market. Google the nearest shop or market and head along to stock up on your fruit and vegetables for the week. If your time is short and you can only head to the supermarket, ensure the fruit and vegetables you are buying are from New Zealand only. This will encourage supermarket chains to source their produce locally. Furthermore, you’ll be supporting local farmers - especially if you head down to a local veggie market. If you spend more money in your locality, that money will stay in the area - helping to support local jobs as well. You will also save money as local produce shops and markets supply their goods at much lower prices compared to supermarkets. Transporting international produce into the country exudes an enormous amount of carbon dioxide into the air. When you’re out travelling - either overseas or within another city or town in New Zealand- employ this same idea of shopping for local produce.
As mentioned previously, freighting in fresh produce across oceans uses a mass of energy in transport, and storage. When you support local food supplies, you cut down on these food miles and the negative costs it causes to the environment. In some cities and towns in the country, companies have grown whereby you can order a box of fruit and vegetables and have it delivered to your door once a week. Research to see if something like this exists in your hometown as they always use seasonal food. The boxes are cheap and ordering them will also save you time as you won’t have to head out to the vegetable store!
Take transport alternatives to drive less
Car fumes are a big cause of air pollution. Cars release particles of oil soot and nitrogen dioxide into the atmosphere, making it harder to breathe. In the UK, more than 50,000 people a year die as a result of air pollution. New Zealand is a country which prides itself on its ‘clean and green’ image, yet the amount of cars here is increasing every year. The next time you have to head out somewhere, consider your options. If your journey is less than 10 kilometres, considering biking! Walk the shorter journeys. Otherwise, see if you can carpool or catch public transport system such as a train or bus. All of these options will save you money, and time as parking is so much easier - especially if you’re commuting into a city. If you choose the biking or walking option, it is excellent exercise, impacting on your health and wellbeing. Being able to commute to and from work via a bike is a great way to clear your head at the start and end of the day. If you live a little bit further away from your workplace, consider investing in an e-bike. With that battery power, you can get where you need to be quicker and more efficiently.
Use reusable shopping bags and containers
There are so many ways you can help to reduce the amount of plastic being thrown away into our environment and waterways. Always keep reusable shopping bags in your car, and a couple of small ones in your handbag, briefcase or backpack. This will mean you will never need to use a plastic bag! Buy yourself a reusable coffee cup and a reusable drink bottle. If you’re going out for dinner, bring a couple of plastic containers in case you need to get takeaways. Check out the plastic-free options at your local supermarket as some places now allow you to bring in your own containers to get meat. Instead of using plastic bags to pack your fruit and vegetables, bring small reusable fabric bags, or use the brown paper bags usually reserved for mushrooms. Use these brown paper bags for your lolly, fruit and nut mixes too. See if there is a wholesale food shop in your town, such as Bin Inn, where you can bring your own containers to buy all sorts of items such as baking ingredients, shampoo, pasta, and dog biscuits. Instead of using gladwrap, use beeswax wraps.
Carry a bag with you whenever you’re out and about to collect rubbish
If you are ever going out for a walk - whether its a walk around the block with your dog in the evening, strolling around the local gardens on a sunday morning, or walking to work via your local coffee shop, bring a large bag which you can use to collect any rubbish you see along the way. Another cool way to use this idea is through ‘plogging,’ whereby you pick up rubbish as you jog. It’s a really easy way to help clear the rubbish in your community, while also being productive in other areas of your life.
What’s your favourite environmentally-conscious activity? Do you have any other ideas to add to the list?
Come back later next week to check out our next part of our green series which focuses on living a zero-waste lifestyle.