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What Does it Mean to be Green? Simple Tips for Living Sustainably

There is a lot of talk around being environmentally conscious, so what does it mean to be green? Despite what …

There is a lot of talk around being environmentally conscious, so what does it mean to be green? Despite what is portrayed in modern politics, the idea of being green has less to do with a certain political party and more to do with our own personal choices than anything else.

In the end, we only have control over our own actions. Those actions, however, can still go a long way when it comes to conserving our natural resources, promoting environmental protection, and ensuring the prosperity of future generations here on earth.  

It’s true that a large collaborative effort must be made in order to save the planet from mass pollution, climate change, and other major environmental concerns, but there is still a lot we can do individually in our own day-to-day lives.

Reducing our own individual carbon footprint will look differently for each of us. In this article, we’ll cover all of the different ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint by living green.

Hands coming together holding soil

Green consumer choices

Sometimes, the small things really do add up. This is especially true when you compound the small choices over a population of 7 billion people. There are dozens of ‘small things’ you can do throughout your day to reduce your carbon footprint.

Going green could mean a number of different things for you. Here are a few of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint throughout your everyday life:

  • Recycling: The more recycling you can do in your own home, the less waste ends up in a landfill or incineration plant. Recycling can do wonders in terms of pollution prevention and tightening our waste stream. [1]
  • Avoid single use products: One of the easiest ways to live a more green and sustainable life is to avoid all single use products, such as plastic water bottles, plastic straws, and disposable paper coffee cups. Some restaurants and coffee stands even offer discounts to customers who bring their own reusable cup!
  • Environmentally-conscious transportation: Our personal vehicles make up a large portion of the carbon emissions produced in the global transportation sector – by some estimates, over 40%! As far as transportation is concerned, the most popular way to go green is with electric vehicles. However, you can also reduce your carbon footprint by using public transportation, cycling, or walking whenever possible.
  • Conscious purchases: Personal care and household products also contribute to the detriment of our environment. It’s best to search for products that are labeled as green and environmentally friendly. You can also use natural cleaning solutions like vinegar and baking soda instead of harmful chemical detergents. [2]
  • Purchase organic or sustainably produced food: Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is with your choices in food. Conventional agriculture practices are currently one of the greatest threats to our natural world. This makes buying organic produce and sustainably raised meat to be especially important to our environment’s prosperity.

Some of these changes can seem miniscule and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Over time, however, taking these small steps in your everyday life will make a significant difference in creating a truly green planet!

Voting slips going into ballot

Vote for sustainable government

Being green means reducing your carbon footprint in every way you can. In this regard, your vote counts for a lot. Government plays a significant role in controlling our natural resources, developing new technologies, promoting clean air, and finding sustainable solutions to complex problems. [3]

Despite what popular culture may promote, your political party doesn’t have to dictate your stance on environmental welfare. If you believe your environment requires certain attention, then you should vote that way. Don’t vote red or blue – vote green!

Community stewardship

As we all know, to continually improve the state of our environment, natural resources, pollution, emissions, and planet overall, it’s going to take more than just our own efforts. Coming together as one green community is the best way to make a lasting difference on major environmental issues.

To cultivate a green community near you, consider the following:

  • Develop a community garden to grow your own food
  • Donate to a green charity
  • Volunteer to help in conservation services
  • Connect with others in online communities (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)

Local communities have as much power to create change in our environment as our government does. Banning together with your neighbors could make a significant difference in pollution prevention, conserving finite resources, and cultivating a healthier environment overall.

photo of windmills

Green energy

Another major factor in determining the quality of our environment is our dependency on energy and electricity. In this regard, there are a number of different ways to go green.

Coal fired power plants and oil refineries make up a major piece of our total emissions. Coal accounts for 45% of global fuel emissions alone. [4] There are a few different ways you can take the care of your environment into your own hands as far as energy is concerned:

  • Electric vehicles: For more and more people, going green means switching to green cars! Overtime, this transition is expected to make a significant difference in conserving our resources and protecting our environment.
  • Solar power: Residential solar is making huge waves as of recent times, and it’s not just because it is good for the environment. Solar power is one of the only truly abundant resources we have on earth and power companies are offering huge savings to their green consumers.

Sustainable businesses, corporations, and entrepreneurship

Business and industry also have a significant role to play in creating a better environment. As it is the case for consumers, governments are also offering hefty incentives for businesses to go green.

It is now time for companies of all sizes to truly take accountability for their actions. Many of the once beautiful places on our planet have taken on a sickly appearance, due to careless business practices alone.

There is still a long way to go on the corporate scale, but there is also much that is already being done in smaller businesses. If you are one of the many small business owners across the country making a difference with sustainable practices, we applaud you. [5]

Conservation efforts for natural resources

In addition to all that we’ve talked about so far, going green means conserving the nature around us too. Here are a few of the best ways to go green and protect our natural world:

  • Use less water: Taking shorter showers, turning the faucet off while you brush your teeth, and only using the washing machine or dish washer when there is a full load are all ways to use less water.
  • Turn off your lights: Unplugging your smaller appliances, turning off the lights when you leave a room, and switching to LEDS can go a long way in helping to protect the earth’s natural resources.
  • Recycle: We mentioned it already, but recycling is important enough to mention a hundred times!
  • Give up red meat and dairy: Large amounts of deforestation are currently underway to clear land for the sole purpose of cattle grazing. By lessening or consumption of red meat or giving up red meat completely, you can make a significant impact on the future of our planet. [6]
Book with leaf inside

Educate others about being green too!

To truly mitigate your own carbon footprint, your green efforts can’t end with you. Pass along your passion for environmental awareness and share your concerns with those close to you.

Most importantly, be certain the individuals you impact understand that going green means educating others on how to live environmentally conscious too. It’s the best way to ensure a prosperous future for this beautiful green earth that we get to call home.


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Nick Baker
I'm extremely passionate about all things outdoors and have an active involvement in a conservation group in my local community.

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