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United Way Blog

Environmental Sustainability at Home

It's easy to feel powerless about the environment when we hear daily about giant corporations polluting our lakes and rivers, and supposedly progressive politicians traveling the country in fleets of gas-guzzling SUVs. Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to promote environmental sustainability at home. The best part is that most of them only involve a few minor changes to your lifestyle.

  • Eat less meat. Factory farming is not only inhumane, it's also one of the largest contributors to global warming. Many people eat meat with each meal simply because they don't know how to eat without it. In fact, it's easy to make healthy, balanced meals that don't include meat. Start by forgoing meat for just one dinner a week--think pastas and salads. You'll be surprised how easy it is!
  • Shop responsibly. Spend extra money and buy products that will last. Learn how to tell the difference between things you need and things you want. Consider purchasing used items whenever possible. Living simply not only promotes environmental sustainability, it makes you appreciate the things you have even more.
  • Start a garden. There are few things more rewarding that growing your own food. Even apartment dwellers can start a simple herb garden in their windowsill. You'll save money at the grocery store, and consume products that you know are pesticide-free.
  • Conserve water. When it comes to conserving water, living more sustainably is a combination of many little things. Don't run the tap when you brush your teeth. Take shorter showers. Check your plumbing for leaks. Don't do half loads of laundry. There aren't many grand requirements when it comes to saving water: Simply being more aware of your usage and taking steps to limit it when possible is the best thing your can do.
  • Take public transportation. Taking the bus or subway is a great way to save money and avoid traffic and the stress of driving. It is also a great opportunity to relax and reflect on the day. If you live in an urban center with a good transportation infrastructure, be sure to take advantage of it.

A green environment is a healthy environment. Luckily, making a commitment to environmental sustainability does not necessarily mean radically changing your life. Many of the best ways to make a difference are through small changes that can be implemented gradually.