As humans, we all have some bad habits, which is okay, but what if we could do better? As they say, When you do better, you feel better! Check out this list of how to improve your lifestyle.
Making the shift towards an environmentally-friendly lifestyle can help improve your health and life overall, and it’s also a major boost to the world around you.
Ditching unnecessary chemicals, unhealthy foods, unfriendly Earth practices, and bad routines can all add together to make an altogether healthier you, whilst boosting the environment and ecosystem.
1. Cut Down on Fuel
Whenever possible, avoid driving in a car. Local journeys can be made by walking or cycling, and always look for public transport routes when traveling further. Obviously, these options are not available to everyone depending on personal circumstances, but cycling and walking will keep you active and help the local environment.
Buying a bicycle is an incredible investment, but if you don’t have a bicycle at home or don’t have the possibility to buy one, there are already, in almost all cities, bicycle and scooter rental systems. For example in Lisbon you have Gira, Jump, Bolt bicycles and scooters, among others of your choice.
2. Share Car Rides
Following on from the last tip, if you have to travel by car, investigate the possibilities for carpooling with friends and neighbors, sharing journeys for work and leisure, thus reducing the number of cars on the roads. Many busy offices actively promote such schemes so ask around to see if you can take advantage of this.
You also have several apps for “taxis” much cheaper than a taxi itself, and which are very “in” nowadays, such as Uber, Bolt and Kapten, you can enjoy these apps not only alone but with your friends, with an option to “share the trip”. Try it!
3. Save Energy
One of the most direct steps you can take to reduce the impact your lifestyle has on the environment is reducing the amount of energy that you use in your home. Along with making your home greener, saving energy has real, tangible benefits on your life in that it can save you money.
Use low energy light bulbs: Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) save energy and money – typically they use one-third to one-fifth electricity compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, and last eight to fifteen times longer.
Switch off appliances when they are not in use: Leaving electric items such as computers, audio-visual equipment, and kitchen appliances on “standby” uses electricity. If you are not using these appliances, you should switch them off completely.
Insulate your home: Insulating your home properly can make heating much more efficient. Some local authorities offer insulation schemes so it is worthwhile to take the time to investigate whether you are eligible for free home insulation.
Line-dry laundry: Tumble drying clothes uses large amounts of electricity, so use a washing line or drying rack to dry your laundry more naturally.
4. Save Water
Saving water around the home is another way to reduce the environmental impact of your lifestyle and, as with reducing energy usage, can save you plenty of money. Here are some easy tips:
Use short cycles for washing clothes: Modern washing machines have an “Eco Wash” option you should take full advantage of.
Take short showers: Hot showers are an incredible luxury, so don’t waste this by spending far too long in the shower.
Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth: An often-forgotten habit that wastes liters of water. Turn off the tap.
Boil only as much water as you require: Tea and coffee drinkers can help here! Be careful with those kettles.
5. Ditch Plastic Bags
Plastic grocery-type bags that get thrown out end up in landfills or in other parts of the environment. These can suffocate animals who get stuck in them or may mistake them for food. Also, it takes a while for the bags to decompose.
Whether you are shopping for food, clothes or books, use a reusable bag. This cuts down on litter and prevents animals from getting a hold of them.
Keep a couple of bags in your car so you never leave home without them (just make sure you remember you put them there)! If you are in a position where you need to use the plastic bags, reuse them the next time you go shopping, or use them for something else.
Using reusable bags helps the environment AND your budget!
6. Go Organic
The food we consume has a profound effect on the global environment – as the world’s population grows, the demand for food increases and the strain on ecologies and habitats increases.
The issues around food production, supply, and consumption are extremely complex, but there are some considerations that could help reduce the environmental impact of what you eat while also offering a healthy lifestyle.
Instead of going to the big supermarkets run by wealthy companies, choose a local, with seasonal products, which are healthier for you.
If you eat meat, reduce the number of meals containing meat you eat each week, and if you eat fish, choose sustainably-sourced species and fishing methods.
Avoid food with unnecessary packaging, as this just leads to additional, unnecessary rubbish for your bin and always look for sustainable, fair-trade, environmentally-friendly food, as this helps the economy.
7. Use Second-hand Shops
These shops and stores provide a way to recycle any unwanted items, find second-hand stuff and, importantly, support the charitable cause of your choice.
There are a lot of second-hand stores, for example, in Lisbon they have numerous options such as the Humana store, A Outra Face da Lua, Bastet Velharias, Cash Converters, and, not only stores, there are also markets like the Pop Market and Anjos70 Art & Fleamarket.
8. Save the Bees
There are plenty of environmental initiatives you can take up, but one of the most important is the need to save our bees.
These little beasts are vital to pollinating the Earth’s vibrant ecosystem, but they have been dying out due to the use of pesticides.
You can help matters by purchasing Organic Honey (to support natural beekeeping practices), or donate to bee charities to help promote their wellbeing.
9. Avoid Bottled Water
Bottled water is inefficient, expensive, and produces large amounts of plastic waste. Instead, use a reusable water bottle and tap water; if you like you could use a water filter to cleanse the tap water and chill the water in the fridge.
I know what you are thinking, replacing a plastic bottle with another plastic bottle? But make no mistake, although some reusable bottles are made of plastic, the type of plastic is different and more durable, so it is more worth investing in a plastic bottle that lasts for years than one that lasts for days, think about it.
Ah, not to mention that there are countless reusable bottles that are not made with plastic and that you can find anywhere!
Besides, who wants a plastic water bottle when you can have a cute refillable bottle that you can show all your friends?!
There will be other articles with more tips on how to improve our lifestyle, stay tuned for that.