To Go Green: What does it mean?
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Our bodies endure a lot every day; we subject them to fast foods, polluted air; hence, we should work hard to ensure the toxins in the environment don’t affect us. Switching to more eco-friendly practices means taking a personal stand to be part of the change to achieve green living.
We buy products in packages which we often empty in the landfills. Likewise, many of the things we use come from the factories that burn air-polluting fuels. In this case, going green is about what and how we produce, use, and dispose of our products. It involves having a stand to care for the environment and contributing less to its destruction.
Going green means caring for the environment by making a deliberate effort to be part of the change. It is about limiting your footprint on the environment and also encouraging others to follow your example. However, note that going green is not limited to recycling, but living a sustainable lifestyle. Going green is about making small adjustments in your daily life to achieve this goal.
How going green impacts our body, mind, and relationships
Going green has huge effects on our body, mind, relationships, and the world around us in many ways. Our environment can either increase or reduce stress; hence impact the body. The things we see, experience or hear can change our mood and how our immune, endocrine, and nervous system function.
A stressful environment causes anxiety which in turn elevates blood pressure, muscle tension, and heart rate and going green reverses these impacts. A natural environment is a stress reliever, it heals and makes you feel better emotionally and contributes to your physical wellbeing. It helps us cope with pain. This is because trees, water, plants and other nature elements distract us from pain and discomfort.
A green environment helps us to connect with others. People who have green space around their homes build more relationships and are concerned about supporting each other. Such also lowers aggression, violence, and street crime between people meaning a better capacity to cope with the daily demands. To go green stirs up feelings that connects us to others and our environment.
The decisions we make impact the environment in more ways than one. Taking into consideration the environmental factors touching on waste and natural resources in decision making can make a difference when looking at the broader picture. Going green is a process that doesn’t happen overnight; it takes small steps which eventually pay off once you adapt to more green-living practices.
The impact our decisions make in the environment
We must make thoughtful decisions about the environment since they can have permanent effects. Such are essential for the current and future wellbeing of the people. The decisions should hinge on the standards we need to set for air and water quality, how much and how fast should greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to minimise global climate, what we need to do to protect biodiversity and preserve ecological processes.
All critical environmental management and policy choices we make have a broad range of effects. For instance, decisions about land use can impact the environment in many different ways. It could impact on the quality of air or local water, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, and the potential for flooding. Likewise, decisions on the limits of greenhouse gases or emissions of air pollutants can affect a broad range of socio-economic and environmental concerns.
When addressing these issues, you must weigh the benefits and costs in all dimensions. In most cases, the stakes are higher; hence, the people and their government must think of the environmental implications in their decision-making processes. They must follow standard operating practices including existing legislative mandates to preserve the environment.
Why we should change our habits and pay attention to our choices
Making environmental decisions can seem tricky at first. However, by changing our habits and just paying more attention to our choices, we can make a difference. If one individual chooses to throw a recyclable plastic bottle in the garbage instead of giving it away for recycling, it is no big deal, however, when millions of people do the same, it becomes a big issue.
The act might look small, but that’s one way, people’s small actions that seem unimportant affect the environment on a larger scale. We all can choose whether or not to recycle, take a bus to work or buy cars that pollute the environment less. All these are personal decisions that will impact the environment in a big way.
Every choice we make has consequences; hence, it pays to think through before we can. We must ask ourselves whether the habits we engage in are good for our environment and our health. We must think how those choices will affect the world for generations to come.
The only way forward, if we are going to improve the quality of the environment, is to get everybody involved.
— Richard Rogers
How this change affects our relationship with ourselves and the world around us
Going green creates a healthy living environment and also improves lifestyle. For this reason, we must make a commitment towards living a green life which requires collaborating with others, planning and some creativity. The process begins with an individual making a decision that affects others at work, school, community or home. Our actions can encourage other people like our friends and family to go green too, which is a major step in achieving environmental goals.
Likewise, your behaviour can influence other people’s decisions. Therefore, teach them about the perks of eco-friendly practices — leading by example. If we embrace these changes, we’ll live in harmony with our neighbours, family, and friends. It will give us satisfaction, peace of mind, and elevate our consciousness level knowing that we are part of the change.
10 things you can do to go green and make a difference right now
As human beings, we make daily choices that impact the environment, the climate, and other species. We have the power to decide what we eat, the number of kids to bear, and the kind of car to use. However, we can engage in the following activities to maintain a greener environment.
1. Buy more locally grown products
2. Buy recyclable products
3. Help with some environmental projects that you love
4. Drive less; drive green, e.g. taking a bicycle ride instead of a car or getting a ride with someone who’s going to the same place
5. Consider using renewable energy
6. Start a green program within your community: clean the beach, your neighbourhood roads, educate those around you about best practices.
7. Use your voice and vote for environment-friendly initiatives, e.g. wildlife protection and tree planting
8. Stop littering
9. Conserve water
10. Increase your awareness of resources
Why buying your food from local farmers is better for your health and the environment
Buying foodstuffs from local farmers and markets is an easy way to minimise your carbon footprints. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables is important; hence people prefer to go green when shopping for farm produce. The idea is not only about preserving the environment but your health as well. Local food is fresher and more nutritious. Vegetables and fruits lose their nutritional value immediately after harvest and the vitamin content in them begin to diminish.
If they stay longer, their nutritional value is lost. Local produce is still healthy although if it also stays for long, it loses its optimal richness as when it was picked. Also, some farmers wait to pick their farm produces at their peak. They allow fruits and vegetables to ripen well which adds to their nutritional value.
Try to leave the Earth a better place than when you arrived.
— Sidney Sheldon
Debunking eco-friendly myths
To leave or not to leave your stuff plugged
Many of us struggle with the question of whether or not to leave your stuff connected. Start by asking yourself how much energy your electronic gadgets like tablets, phones, and laptops use. Consider if it’s more sustainable to unplug them when you are not using to save money and power. Calculate the cost per year when you keep them plugged. How much power does a charger use and is it worth the trouble unplugging them whenever they are idle?
Some chargers use more power than others meaning the cost of leaving your Smartphone charger plugged for a year could be below 13 cents. Whichever way you look at this, the vampire power your chargers consume is relatively small, and it isn’t worth giving you stress. Maybe you could save a small amount of power by unplugging, but you can save much more by focusing on items that take more power, e.g. the computer, fridge, lighting, heating, and laundry.
Planting trees won’t save the planet
Forests preserve the environment in many ways. Through evapotranspiration, they cool air, reduce pollutants like the greenhouse gas, and their dark, dense leaves absorb sunlight through photosynthesis which warms our planet. Trees and vegetation help in defending the universe against the effects of global warming although the benefits depend on the location of the trees. Planting in the wrong areas is a waste of time and resources. Trees around the equator and tropical belt absorb carbon dioxide through sequestering. The process lowers temperatures.
The most important thing is to identify the right place to plant the trees. Smart minds think about the tree-planting programs they can support. Adding your voice in mitigating the effects of tropical deforestation is a worthy call, and you can never go wrong with keeping your environment green. Planting trees around your home or neighbourhood is certainly a great course.
Incandescent bulbs are not so evil
For some time, it looked like bright lights would be faced out as lighting engineers continue to develop more energy-efficient bulbs. Nonetheless, some researchers chose to spare them, altered the design, and came up with an incandescent light bulb. The bulb is said to be much more energy efficient compared fluorescent and LED bulbs. It is way better at duplicating natural daylight a feature which is not common with new energy-efficient bulbs.
Cheap incandescent bulb varieties are just 5% efficient and lose about 95% energy. The researchers through their experiments opted for a more recyclable glass. The result was an incandescent bulb which produces warm glowing light and hitting up to 40$ efficiency levels compared to others that stand at 14%. The quality of light this bulb produces is also a big plus; the colours are more natural and mimic daylight lighting.
Real life examples of people carrying the Going Green flag
The number of individuals, blogs, and organisations striving for a sustainable and more eco-friendly living is increasing. Here are five people that are carrying the going green flag.
The Late Wangari Maathai: Environmentalist, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
The late Wangari Maathai had great persuasive powers working as Kenya’s assistant minister for the environment. Wangari single-handedly talked the Mexican army, French celebrities, Japanese geishas and thousands of schools to plant trees. She spent most of her life planting saplings. She was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, an initiative through which billions of trees have been planted and millions more others pledged.
Wangari succeeded in putting deforestation high on the African agenda and made tree planting an act of change in which everyone must engage.
Charlie Hughes: Blogger, Sophia’s Choice
Charlie is a blogger and focuses on matters of green lifestyle. The blog features natural, eco-friendly topics, and products. Also, it covers natural skincare and wellness products. It seeks to empower and inspire people to make wise decisions that won’t impact negatively on their health and environment.
Marina Silva: Politician
Marina, a Brazilian environmentalist, spent most of her childhood collecting rubber from the Amazon forest. She demonstrated against the destruction of wrought by illegal loggers. Under her watch deforestation has reduced by over 70% with millions of reserves given to traditional communities.
Philip Booth: Blogger, The Ruscombe Blog
Philip is a blogger who hopes to inform and inspire people to go green in their lives. He highlights local events and rewards that one can gain by being more responsible to the environment. Also, he hopes to create a greater awareness concerning global issues and the essential matters the governments must do to combat the effects of climate change.
Angela Merkel: German Chancellor
Angela Merkel is quite vocal in matters of climate change and an advocate of green living on a global stage. She stands among the few with a grasp of what failed humanity means and an avid player remaining to hammer out the 1997 Kyoto global warming agreement. Under her leadership, Germany is spearheading climate change policies. The country wants 40% cuts within 13 years without resorting to nuclear power.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead