These days, climate change has become a highly discussed and debated topic — and for good reason. Turning a blind eye to the effects humans have on our global environment could result in some serious repercussions. We only get one Earth, only one home — so it’s worth doing everything we can to take care of it.
In addition to voting for those who believe in and support science-driven efforts to combat things like climate change, developing eco-friendly habits in your own life can contribute to a healthier, happier Earth.
Here are some ways to get started and be part of the growing change:
Out With the Old
During those colder winter months, you likely implement a lot of changes in your day-to-day: from layering up to putting snow tires on your car. You also probably start spending a lot more time in front of the fireplace. However, as much as you adore your warm and cozy fireplace, it’s important to ask yourself what kind of impact it’s making on the environment. Old fireplaces can use a lot of energy or fuel, or give off a high amount of pollution like carbon dioxide. Luckily, there are a number of eco-friendly fireplaces on the market that can replace your old, inefficient one. Some worth considering are:
- Ethanol – Ethanol fireplaces are a great option if you’re on a budget, as they are easy to install into your current wood-burning fireplace and function on a biofuel that is derived primarily from corn and sugarcane.
- Electric – Considering no fuel is required for electric fireplaces, they don’t produce toxic fumes or greenhouse emissions, and 100 percent of the energy used is converted into heat.
- Wood Burning – If you prefer to stick with a wood-burning fireplace, consider the eco-friendly options that exist on the market these days that will produce minimal emissions and ash.
- Pellet – With high heat efficiency, as well as producing little pollution, pellet-burning fireplaces are a great eco-friendly option. Plus, the pellets themselves are made by recycling and compressing sawdust, tree bark, agricultural waste, and other organic materials.
Doing your part for the environment doesn’t mean you have to completely give up your comfort and warmth each winter.
The Grass Isn’t Always Greener
After winter has finally passed, the sun comes out longer and hotter, and you’re ready to spend more time outdoors enjoying your backyard, glass of lemonade in hand. Many of us also enjoy outdoor hobbies like gardening — which is great for the environment! However, without a doubt, the amount of water waste in summer and fall increase exponentially. It doesn’t help that due to the current effects of climate change, our summers are getting hotter and hotter. This makes it more tempting to shower more and use more water to keep your grassy lawn green and hydrated.
With all of that in mind, there are plenty of alternatives for your typical summer grass. As For Sale by Owner recommends, “before you purchase rolls of grass to plant across your lawn, consider how you can maximize your use of space in a way that will not require an excess of water. Sustainability organizations have begun to suggest material landscaping and flower gardens as these require less water and also provide more territory for bees and other pollinators.”
They also go onto to further recommend “minimizing your lawn space with some aesthetically pleasing rocks, flower beds and mulch covered gardens that will help retain water. Lavender and succulents are curb appeal classics that can fill out yard space easily and require significantly less water than a standard lawn.” Not only does switching out traditional grasses for hardy, yet beautiful landscape alternatives reduce your impact on the environment, but it also requires less work and maintenance. So it’s certainly worth making your yard a haven for both you and Mother Nature.
The Little Things Add Up
We make hundreds of decisions each day: when to get up, what to wear, where to eat, what to say. These choices add up — especially on the grander scale when you consider how many days we have each year, and how many years we each have on Earth. When it comes to your home, it’s important to make an active effort to be a conscious consumer and to be aware of how your choices affect our planet.
Think of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” for example. This key motto is in order of importance. While recycling is essential, we should first focus on the reduce and reuse parts of the equation. Reduce can look like using fewer paper towels in the kitchen, or the number of plastic bags you get from the grocery store. It’s also important to find ways to reuse things like glass. It might take some creativity, but it’s the little things that will eventually add up to help you create and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Climate change and energy sustainability will always be an important subject to talk about and work together on. It’s also rather saddening how such an essential factor to the overall health of our home, Earth, is becoming a controversial political topic many decide to deny or, at the very least, turn a blind eye to. However, it’s time, on a global level, to take responsibility as homeowners and voters, and do what’s right for the future and our planet.