Sometimes environmental problems seem overwhelming but small changes in lifestyle DO make a difference to the environment, are better for your health and can save money. There are so many things we can do that are just, fair and respect the beautiful world that God has made. But change is not always easy, so make things fun and take small steps towards change - think simplicity. Here are our top ten principles on how you can live lighter...
1. Use the "Three R's" Reduce, Re-use and Recycle! Try to use less e.g. cosmetics, paper, and buy only what you need. Reduce waste wherever possible e.g. buy products that can be recycled and that have little packaging, avoid buying disposable items or items with hazardous materials. Before you throw old items away consider whether they can they be reused e.g. old clothes can be made into cushion covers. Do a garage sale or take it all to a charity/thrift shop or put on free cycle websites. Find ways of recycling different materials. Compost food waste. Have a recycle bin at home and use local recycling facilities.
2. Maximise. Use it up, wear it out, and get the most out of your clothing, food, and 'stuff' before buying new or more. Shop at or donate unwanted stuff to thrift stores. Have a garage sale. Make a policy when you buying anything new that it must last 5 - 1 0 y e a r s . M a x i m i z e h o m e e f fi c i e n c y b y m a i n t a i n i n g a n d c l e a n i n g h o u s e h o l d i t e m s and appliances well.
3. Conserve. Identify areas you can save energy. Lights can be turned off, appliances and equipment can be unplugged when not in use (do not leave on standby!), clothes can be hung to dry, dripping taps turned off, insulate, use energy efficient lighting and appliances.
4. Prioritize. Make time for what matters. Eliminate things that don't. Don't waste natural resources, time or money on the wrong things.
5. Share. Consider sharing your home with another individual or family. Share your dinner table. Share the produce of your garden or your garden with those with a small or no garden for growing vegetables or gardening. Share travel with neighbours, colleagues or friends. Share your time and become a volunteer.
6. Eat well. Buy local and organic food products. Choose food that is in season. Buy foods that have less processing and packaging. Cook meals from scratch. Learn where your food comes from. Eat more vegetarian meals if possible.
7. Think local. Shop locally and support local businesses and communities. Live locally and close to work where possible. Choose vacation destinations close to home.
8. Be Informed and get Involved! Learn about how your lifestyle choices affect people across the world and commit to making choices that are better for the world community. Volunteer and give your time to help charity or local organisations, e.g. volunteering at a local nature reserve.
9. Green your home and garden. Clean your home of chemicals! Buy environmentally friendly cleaning and body care products or use natural ingredients such as baking soda or vinegar. If renovating, consider using recycled materials. Grow your own food or herbs. Avoid using chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
10. Think about how you travel. Do you need to make a journey and are there alternatives? Can you leave your car at home, car share or take the bus or train instead? Even better, walk or cycle — It's good for your health as well as the environment! Instead of travelling for a work meeting, could you hold a conference/ video call? Holiday in Canada or somewhere where you can get to by boat/train/ coach.