By Mariza Halliday
As parents, we always try and teach our children valuable lessons that will mould them into well-rounded adults. One of the most important lessons we can teach them is responsibility and compassion. Going green as a family not only teaches both these important lessons through leading by example but also have so many incredible benefits for your health and the environment.
Learning how to go green may be as simple as using paper instead of plastic, cloth instead of disposable diapers and making your own eco-friendly cleaning products. Either way, it is never too late or too early to start. It might sound a little daunting, but you won’t believe how easy it really is – especially if you follow these 5 easy tips:
EAT LESS MEAT
In South Africa, we raise more than one billion farm animals for food every year, and it is no secret that livestock
accounts for most of the greenhouse gas emissions. Raising animals for food contributes to dangerous climate change, land environmental degradation, water pollution and water shortages. You don’t have to go full vegan to reduce the environmental impact of your diet; going meat-free just one day per week will make a huge difference.
MINIMIZE WATER USAGE
An estimated 50% of all household water usage is wasted. It goes down the drain while we wait for it to warm up or it disappears through leaky faucets and pipes. During a time when our fresh water supply is diminishing due to pollution and drought, it’s important to conserve all the water we can, as well as implement greywater recycling practices wherever possible.
Our water supply is not infinite, and we must all make changes in our lifestyles to lower our impact on the environment. Some of these changes can be as simple as placing a bucket in the shower to catch water, taking shorter showers and turning off the water while brushing your teeth.
USE NATURAL CLEANING PRODUCTS
The harsh chemicals in many conventional cleaning products can wreak havoc on the environment, especially when they seep into the ocean, lakes and rivers. Rather choose cleaning products with natural and biodegradable ingredients. This is not only beneficial for the environment, but also for your health.
USE LESS ELECTRICITY
It is important to cut carbon emissions and lower your energy consumption as much as possible. This can be done by installing solar panels, turning the lights off when you leave a room, installing energy efficient light bulbs
as well as insulating your home and purchasing eco-friendly and energy saving washing machines, fridges and televisions. Not only will you save money on your electricity bill, but it also goes a long way towards a greener future.
STOP USING SINGLE-USE PLASTIC
Plastic pollution is a tremendous problem. Our oceans are brimming with plastic waste that never disappears but breaks down into micro-plastics, which are nearly impossible to get rid of and cause a myriad of significant ecological and health issues. According to Eco Watch, we currently dump the equivalent of one garbage truck per day into the ocean every minute.
It is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. Stop using plastic and opt for recyclable glass instead. Say no to plastic straws, grocery bags, takeaway coffee cups and other items by bringing your own reusable items instead.
Every moment of every day is a new opportunity to make a different decision and start cultivating a new habit. Starting a more eco-friendly practice in your home presents an excellent opportunity to start the conversation surrounding the importance of environmentalism.