If you are like Ram Chary, you may be concerned about your environmental footprint and interested in findings ways to make your daily life more sustainable. Living entirely off-grid with a zero carbon lifestyle is not an option for most of us, but thankfully, there is a lot that you can do in small ways everyday to live a more eco-friendly and sustainable life. Here are just a few suggestions.
There are a number of ways that local shopping, for example at farmer’s markets or through delivery arrangements with local farmers, can make a difference. Most obviously, locally produced food or other goods have not be transported from other places and for this reason are not a part of a chain of supply that depends on burning fossil fuels. Also, locally-grown produce is less likely to be based on GMO technology or to involve heavy reliance on pesticides or other common inputs in the agri-business industry.
Much of the food we purchase ends up being thrown out because we didn’t anticipate eating out, because we didn’t buy anything to eat with it, or because we bought too much. Ideally, try to purchase perishable foods the same day as you plan to prepare it – this will allow you to select fresh items that are ripe and ready to eat. This isn’t always feasible in today’s busy world, either because the store is too far to walk to daily or simply because you don’t have the time. As an alternative, sit down once a week and plan meals for the next seven days. Think about when you are likely to have leftovers, when you might eat out, and try to plan so that the most perishable items are consumed earlier in the week and the heartier items are on the menu towards the end. When you plan meals in this way, you have a clear list of items to purchase each week and you will be amazed in the reduced amount that you purchase – and waste – each week.
Walk or Ride
As with daily shopping, it sometimes isn’t possible to walk or ride everywhere you need to go simply because you do not have the time. That said, we often have more time than we think we have, and before you discount the possibility of walking to work or to the gym for lack of time, consider doing an audit of how you are actually spending your time. If walking to work would mean an hour less time spent with your children or partner, then it might not be worth it to you – but if it would mean an hour less time spent in front of the television, then you might decide that the walk is time better spent, even if only a few times a week.
Sometimes, the commitment of epic eco-warriors can seem beyond what most people can match. However, even the smallest changes in your daily life can add up to something more significant. Try to integrate local shopping, meal planning, and less time behind the wheel of your car into your daily habits. Not only will you save money and become healthier as a result, but the environment will thank you!