You’re on board with preserving our precious environment, but how can you be sure the energy saving measures you’re taking are actually making a difference? What separates the best green ideas from the mediocre and unpractical, is how easy they are to adopt as part of a conscious lifestyle, and the power they have to effectively reduce your impact on your immediate and global environment — without demanding too great an input from your side.
Less Is More
While poverty is not typically a goal we humans strive for, having less disposable income – as is all too often the case in these increasingly cash-strapped times – can force us to be more in touch with our immediate reality, so to speak. And it can be a great motivator for implementing energy saving measures in our homes. The foremost goal may be to stretch our available cash but ultimately these measures also benefit the planet, as we simply have no choice but to cut down on the amount of unnecessary consumables we buy, and to reduce, reuse and recycle like our livelihood depends on it, which it does.
Waste Not, Want Not
In keeping with the trend to eliminate unwanted expenses, it not only makes sense to buy less but to waste less too. This is particularly relevant when it comes to food wastage. Roughly one third of the food produced annually – 1.3 billion tons – goes to waste, a fact made even more shocking in the light of millions around the globe who go hungry every day. Food wastage is more than an ethical dilemma however; it has a huge and negative impact on the environment.
When that 1.3 billion tons of food gets dumped, it means that all the pesticides, fertilisers and water used to raise those crops go to waste too, as well as the fuel used to transport the crops all the way from the producer to your table. Not to mention the extra methane gases produced by all that extra waste. Bear in mind that methane gas is 23 times more potent an emission than carbon dioxide! Cutting your food waste is an excellent and practical way to save money and save our planet at the same time.
Humans are by our very nature consumers and that is not likely to change anytime soon. What we can change, however, is the way in which we treat our resources, and understanding that many of these resources are finite and dwindling rapidly. You can offset your carbon footprint by buying second-hand or by consciously choosing products made from eco-friendly and energy saving materials, like organic cotton and bamboo, sustainably harvested wood, and repurposed tiles, wood, steel and so on. Making conscious choices helps protect biodiversity and sensitive water sources, promote sustainability and reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills. It just takes small, consistent choices to make a major and positive environmental impact.
Point To Point
Using public transport or cycling to work or to do your shopping is not always a practical or viable option for many middle-class South Africans, but it is possible to cut down on the number of trips you make in your motor vehicle by planning ahead. There are several ways you can do this: compile a comprehensive list so you don’t find yourself hopping back to the shops for just one item; park in a central location and walk the short distances to your various destination shops; and where applicable lift share with colleagues, friends and family.
Energy Saving Winners
One measure guaranteed to promote passive energy savings is the installation of insulation in your roof, walls, around hot water pipes and your geyser. A product such as ISOTHERM Thermal Insulation keeps your home naturally cool in summer and warm in winter, helping you cut your power costs. And as it’s manufactured from the thermally-bonded polyester of recycled plastic PET bottles, it is not only a practical choice but an environmentally-friendly one too.
Advancements are continuously being made in the green scene, making ever more practical energy saving and cost-effective products and services available to the general public. This empowers us to really bring about positive changes not just for our environment at large, but for ourselves both in terms of our physical health and well-being, and in terms of our pockets.
The changes you make need not necessarily be big to be effective; the cumulative effect of small, practical eco-friendly measures can add up to a major difference for our environment, particularly if everyone steps up. So go BIG or go small – the choice is yours – but be sure you play your part in preserving our planet for generations to come.