Simple Changes for a Healthy, Green Life

by Delilah Newton | Sep 24, 2020

Practice this list of forward-looking actions and habits to help ensure a healthy future, both for you and the planet.

1. Plant a pollinator garden. Native plants attract bees, ladybugs, birds and other wildlife that spread pollen, enabling plants to produce fruit, grain and other food. Indigenous plants are also likely to flourish without fertilizer, or insecticide. (Try chemical-free fertilizers and natural pest control, if necessary.) Avoiding chemicals helps pets and wildlife — including bees — thrive.

2. Plan greener meals. Eating vegetables is beneficial for your body. Another excellent reason to load them on your plate — instead of red and processed meats — may be the environment: Meat production is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.

3. Give single-use plastics the boot. It’s not just about keeping bottles and bags from clogging oceans and overflowing landfills. Many plastics are made of substances derived from natural gas and crude oil — nonrenewable resources. Avoid common culprits like straws, plastic bags and takeout utensils, and plastic foam dishes and instead rely on your own reusable water bottles, coffee cups, grocery bags and more.

4. Consider bamboo products. Bamboo grows quickly and can be cultivated with little or no use of pesticides — good indicators of sustainability. A durable material, bamboo is suitable for cutting boards, furniture, flooring and more. But be sure to avoid soft textiles labeled “rayon (or viscose) made from bamboo,” as they’re manufactured using toxic chemicals.

5. Consider a product’s full life cycle before buying. Manufacturing new products and getting them to consumers utilizes a lot of raw materials and energy, so investing in durable, efficient products helps your wallet and the environment. Also, use products to their fullest extent — from clothing and cellphones to tires and appliances. Proper maintenance and timely repairs can delay new purchases and keep existing products out of landfills.

6. Air-dry your clothes. Did you know that dryers use more electricity than clothes washers, dishwashers or refrigerators? Indoors or out, hanging clothes on a drying rack saves energy and money. When you use your dryer, toss in a wool dryer ball to reduce run time and static — then you won’t need dryer sheets, which often contain hazardous chemicals.


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