Any time there is an energy crunch, a lot of people suddenly become green. The oil spike of the mid-2000s sent thousands of consumers to the car lot, trading in guzzling SUVs for high-MPG compacts. However, most of them made few other changes, and many returned to the big vehicles when the pressure eased.
The real impact being made in the world right now is by people who make the effort to reduce their carbon footprint in every part of their lives. Yes, it’s great to make fewer trips to the gas station, but there are so many other things you can do to make yourself a real impact player on the environment.
- Shopping Local
At first, this may sound like we’re talking about hitting the Main Street boutique instead of making a 50-mile round trip to the mall. While that does help, this point is actually about some very different shopping.
Thanks to new legislation in several states, electrical power markets have become deregulated. Essentially, residents of those states can now choose from one of several different providers to buy their electricity from. It’s largely an economic decision for most people, but consumers do have the option of reading up on environmental policies and actions by the various providers, then choosing the greenest source for their electricity.
It’s a fairly simple process that can make a big impact. If your state is deregulated, go online for more information and see what you might be able to do.
- Eating Local
Same thing here. Sure, it’s good to dine in your town instead of making a long trip for a meal, but we’re talking about a bigger picture.
Getting our food locally can have a huge impact on the environment. Food produced elsewhere is very costly to the environment. First, it’s typically made at much larger farms, where fruits and vegetables are treated with more fertilizers and pesticides than would be used locally. Second, it takes a phenomenal amount of fuel to produce those foods and to transport them to your town.
But even shopping at a local grocery store may not be enough, because most of their products have been trucked in from many miles away. Check on farmers’ markets in your community. They sell local items that have been brought a much shorter distance, and many vendors have organic items that are produced in a more eco-friendly way as well.
- Wearing Local
Clothing might be the last thing you think of as you try to go greener (unless you’re looking for a shirt that is actually green).
But clothing manufacturers have a big impact on the environment. Synthetic materials like polyester are made with petroleum products and other chemicals, and imported garments have created massive transportation costs. Many overseas factories have poor worker standards, so ethical production is favored with local clothing, too.
Instead, look for cotton, wool, and even hemp clothing that has been harvested and made as close as possible to where you live. The impact will extend far beyond the gas you burn going to the mall.
We live in a global environment and a global economy that are populated by independent decision-makers. Making choices about the places we go, the services we use, and the things we eat and wear can have a real impact on both.
What do you do to improve the global environment and economy?
If you have some suggest leave them in the comment section!