April 22, 2016 marked the 46th anniversary of Earth Day. Beginning as a US grass roots movement it soon evolved into a Global event which today mobilizes billions of people worldwide to live green. The mission? To bring awareness to the vital importance of protecting the planet we call home by offering ways to help the environment.
Earth Day organizers and participants move to inspire, motivate and challenge people to take action and play a larger role individually in preserving the world we live in. Because if we don’t…who will? With climate change looming it has never been more important to stand up and provoke changes with a unified voice, but it can’t end there.
If we want the not too distant future generations to live in a world with fresh air, clean water, nourishing food and abundant nature and wildlife the change must begin with us. We have to be aware of the things we do to contribute to the problems and the solutions. We have to lead by example instead of waiting for someone else to fix it. We have to be diligent, conscious and passionate about making a difference. We have to live green!
So what can we as individuals do? Plenty! There are dozens of ways that we can be green, not only on Earth Day but every day of the year. We can conserve water, we can recycle, we can eat less meat, we can go paperless, we can use reusable bottles, cups and bags. The list goes on and on and each little thing we do adds up to make a huge difference to our world.
As Live Dream Discover readers, we know that most of you are actively involved in being that change. So since you are likely already reducing, reusing and recycling on a daily basis we thought we’d offer up some more unique and fun ways to help the environment and live green on Earth Day and throughout the year.
1. Buy Fair Trade Products
Fair Trade products are made and sold with consideration of the impact to people and planet. By choosing to purchase Fair Trade products we are helping to protect the environment as well as the artisans rights to a fair wage and a better life.
One of our favorite environmentally conscious websites, Green Global Travel, has recently launched their own online Fair Trade boutique offering beautiful jewelry, clothing and home accessories. As the owner of one of their beautiful “Bracelets That Give Back” and as a follower of Bret and Mary’s work over the years I’m a huge fan of them and the things they do to help our planet and it’s inhabitants.
You will love the hand crafted pieces of art that you purchase from the Green Global shop and you will be contributing to good causes in two ways. Firstly by benefiting the Fair Trade artisan themselves and secondly by the fact that Green Global will be donating 10% of all the profits to charitable conservation work.
Oh and as an added bonus if you use the code LDD10 between April 22 and May 8 (Mothers Day, hint hint) you will receive 10% off your order.
2. Be Health Conscious
This may not be an obvious green living tip but there are actually numerous ways that being health conscious can positively impact the environment.
- Making good health a priority means we’re more likely to walk or cycle to a destination rather than taking a motor vehicle. This of course can help reduce the emissions created by gas powered vehicles.
- Eating healthy usually means that you’re more likely to have a diet higher in natural fruits, vegetables and grains. This can lead to eating less meat (see the vegetarian suggestion below) and also purchasing more local, fresh, organic produce. According to Friends of the Earth all these things go a long way to reducing the negative effect on our own health and that of our environment.
- Most health conscious people love to get outdoors and enjoy getting active in nature. Having a love and appreciation for nature means we are more likely to care about preserving it by living green.
If you haven’t heard of the term upcycle, it refers to re-purposing used, found or unwanted items to create something new, different and often better than the original piece. Not only is it a fun and creative activity, but as with recycling it also helps to reduce our individual footprint and is therefore an awesome way to help the environment.
Next time you’re feeling crafty, are in need of a gift for someone or want a new piece of decor or clothing for yourself, take a look around your home and at garage sales or flea markets for pieces that inspire you to create something new and beautiful. Maybe start a new tradition with your creative family and friends to only give each other upcycled gifts on Birthdays. Green gift giving!
Don’t worry that you have to be super artistic to upcycle, it can be as simple as decorating an old wooden picture frame or using glass jars to make candles or hold bath salts. There are hundreds of books on Amazon and websites like Upcycle That to get your creative juices flowing.
4. Eat Less Meat (especially beef)
Before all of you meat lovers sign off, I’m not saying that you have to become a full on vegetarian. In fact some studies, like this one mentioned in the Washington Post, claim that the benefits of a vegetarian diet to the environment over a non veggie diet may not be as great as initially believed. However Down to Earth has compiled some pretty compelling arguments to show differently.
One thing all parties do agree on is that beef in particular has a big negative impact on the environment. This is due to the large amount of landed required to raise cattle and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced.
There’s also the fact that studies like this one by WHO show a possible increased risk of cancer with the over consumption of red meat. This of course goes back to #2: Be Health Conscious
So the way we at Live Dream Discover look at it is there is enough of an argument for at least a part time vegetarian diet. It’s all about balance! Browse through some of these great veggie cookbooks for tasty ideas. Live green!
5. Be Like Macklemore
Ok, so maybe don’t literally be like Macklemore. But shopping at the thrift shop can be fun and rewarding as well as being a good way to help the environment. We are not ashamed to say that we go bargain hunting quite often and have found some awesome items at places like Goodwill and Value Village.
It’s actually not uncommon for us to find high end designer label clothing with the price tag still on showing the retail value being 100x or even 1000x more than the thrift shop price. Plus it’s not just clothing. You can save on everything from kids toys and kitchenware to home decor and jewelry. It’s like a treasure hunt and when you find that hidden gem it’s pretty exciting.
Then there’s the added bonus of knowing that you are decreasing your footprint and doing your part to help the environment and the local community. Oh and of course don’t forget to donate your own items!
6. Compost Gardening
Gardening is one of the best ways to help the environment because it’s fun and has so many benefits. Growing your own plants, fruits and vegetables helps increase oxygen production, decrease carbon dioxide, cut back on energy and fossil fuels by decreasing the trucks on the road, and contributes to the health of you and your family.
However organic gardening is the key to producing the above benefits. For starters, this of course means not using harsh chemicals and pesticides which are bad for our health and the environment. Composting is also an essential element to organic gardening as it vastly improves the health of the soil plus decreases the amount of garbage we send to the landfill. In fact Mother Earth News says that composting can remove about 50% of trash.
If you’ve never composted before don’t be afraid to give it a try, it’s actually really easy and inexpensive to do. There are plenty of resources to get you started and you can purchase indoor or outdoor composting bins depending on your needs. Check out Planet Natural’s online article called Composting 101 for some great tips.
Tip: If you don’t have a place to start your own garden look for a community garden in your area!
7. Have a Power & Motor Free Day
We live in amazing times where technology has created incredible vehicles and gadgets to help make our lives more efficient and fun, but it can come at a cost. When using non renewable energy sources that cost is pretty significant to both our health and a green environment.
Of course it’s all part of human evolution and progress. We’re certainly not suggesting we should, or could, go back to the days before electricity or motor vehicles but conserving energy is definitely going to benefit us all.
Plus there are added benefits aside from decreasing harmful emissions. By taking a break from driving your car or using various appliances and electronics you can save money and improve your health and maybe even your relationships.
The money you save can be invested in things like solar panels or buying more organic produce and Fair Trade items. The time away from electronics can be used to do something with your family or friends. And of course not using your car means you’ll likely be walking or cycling more. It’s a win, win, win!!
So as you can see from these suggestions there are many ways to help the environment and live green and most of them have the added benefits of improving your health and your budget. So let’s go be green!
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Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.