10 Simple Ways to Minimize your Environmental Impact
Sustainability has become quite the buzzword these days, but much more than a trending topic, sustainability is a vital practice that must be adopted in order to ensure a bright future ahead. We are seeing the younger generations especially lead the charge in the fight to protect the environment and go greener, but more and more people, companies, and even government organizations are now signing up to preserve natural resources and incorporate best practices into their everyday life.
So, what exactly is sustainability, and how can you do your part to help? We’re glad you asked…
Sustainability: What’s It All About?
In a nutshell, sustainability is an approach or practice in which we are meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Most often, we see this in relation to environmental sustainability, which is what we want to use this article to speak to today.
Creating—and then maintaining—a sustainable ecosystem naturally places a significant focus on protection of our environment, specifically our precious natural resources. After all, our practices can only be considered sustainable if they do not destroy these resources and our surrounding environment.
There are many simple ways to do your part to help protect our mother earth from suffering negative effects by minimizing your individual environmental footprint. By incorporating these 10 simple and easily adoptable behaviors, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are actively positively impacting the environment.
Ten Simple Steps for Greater Sustainability
1. Think Green When Shopping
A good rule of thumb when out doing your daily shopping is to look at every purchase through a “green” filter. Basically, this means mentally weighing every item you are thinking of buying and asking yourself: How will this impact the environment? For instance, just say no to plastics, which are notorious no-nos, and opt instead for locally produced products sold in eco-friendly packaging. Also a great idea that everyone can do? Bring your own reusable shopping bag with you on every shopping excursion.
2. Don’t Waste Water
Begin thinking of pure water as the precious resource it is, and reflect this new mindful mindset by taking small proactive steps that surprisingly add up to make a big difference. Start by reducing your water waste while taking a shower. This could include turning off the water while shaving, or while shampooing your hair, and even taking shorter showers altogether. You can also save water as you do the dishes. If you are hand washing, don’t leave the faucet running unless you are actually ready to rinse the dishes. If you are using an automatic dishwasher, only run your machine when you have a full load of dishes. Other handy water-saving strategies? Buy a reusable water bottle, and choose to drink tap water over bottled whenever safe and possible.
3. Reduce and Recycle your Trash
Another easy step toward sustainability is reducing the general amount of garbage you produce. Also a smart, strategic step toward saving the earth? Always recycle everything you possibly can. To take things even further, you can even look into and start incorporating composting into your daily routine at home, work, or wherever. Imagine being able to literally turn your trash into something beautiful or useful, like a flower or herb garden!
4. Limit Energy Consumption
Many people unknowingly use far more energy than is necessary. Little tweaks and modifications to your daily routine can make a huge difference in the amount of energy you consume. Such modifications could include everything from making sure you turn off all electronic devices when you’re not using them to even installing solar panels at your home or office.
5. Opt for Eco-friendly Transportation
“Drive” the charge toward greater sustainability by… not driving (or at least driving less!) There are many ways that you can do this, which include using public transportation when possible, car-pooling with family, friends, or coworkers when going to same or nearby locations, and even using ride-sharing apps when public transportation isn’t accessible in your area. Another easy choice to up your eco-friendly score is to opt for cars with low emissions when buying or renting.
6. Green Eating Habits
You may be surprised to hear that what you eat actually has a huge impact on the environment. One simple dietary shift that you can make as you begin to make your diet more eco-friendly include: reducing your red meat consumption in lieu of more vegetables, fruits, and white meats instead. But, as we do believe in everything in moderation when it comes to a healthy diet, while you are in the Azores, you should definitely try our bife à regional and our alcatra at least once! As for vegans and vegetarians? Don’t worry, as the Azores’ restaurants also have a lot of animal-free delicacies to enjoy.
7. Support Local Businesses
When shopping, a good rule of thumb is to adhere to the motto: Go Local! The reason for this is that simply by buying local, you can not only stimulate local business and your community economy, but you can also help avoid the production of more greenhouse gases that occur due to the transportation of merchandising from one place to another (by road, plane, or even boat).
8. Give Back to Mother Nature
While we as a society rely heavily on deforestation for building and construction needs, it just makes sense that we should seek to replenish mother nature by making it a top priority to replant as many trees as we can throughout our lifetime. After all, trees are an important part of the earth’s delicate ecosystem, as they purify the very air that we breathe, so it is important to preserve our forests and natural parks around the globe.
9. When in Doubt, Go Digital
One step that you can take, which many people may not think about, is going digital whenever possible. For instance, when subscribing to a newsletter, newspaper, magazine, catalogue etc., always opt for paperless, digital subscriptions. Selecting the digital option means less paper waste and less greenhouse gases used for transportation.
10. Become an Eco-friendly Tourist
Become a super savvy tourist by educating yourself in sustainable tourism, then choosing the most eco-friendly options available for all facets of your next trip. For instance, make sure the place you’re staying is committed to reducing its ecological footprint and is a part of some sustainability-focused network (like us).
Also a great idea? When going to a restaurant or bar to enjoy the regional fare, order menu options that incorporate locally produced ingredients, always choose glass water and juice bottles, and avoid using plastic straws. As mentioned previously, there is yet another chance to support locals, by choosing to shop at local businesses when looking for those amazing souvenirs or daily provisions. Finally, although we hope it will be common sense, we would be remiss to not simply reiterate the importance of protecting the oceans and respecting all of the good citizenship rules worldwide while traveling.