It Starts at Home: Making Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Changes

It Starts at Home: Making Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Changes

It’s easy to focus solely on external factors when it comes to environmental pollution. A lot of attention is paid to how much carbon dioxideour carsare pumping into the atmosphere and the amount of non-degradable waste we send to landfills every week. But the truth is that many of the things we do every day in our own homes has some impact on the environment, from the food we eat to the way we launder clothing and how we heat our homes. TheUnited States is far and away the worst carbon dioxide polluter on the planet, which means American families can make an impact on the environment by altering or modifying simple lifestyle habits, many of which we take for granted and wouldn’t normally think of as being destructive.

Go green
The light bulbs you’ve been using for years are inefficient, using more energy to produce less light than do compact fluorescent bulbs. Look for ways to make use of natural light during the daytime hours to keep lighting use to a minimum. Make sure HVAC filters are clean (or replaced) when necessary so your unit performs more efficiently, or consider switching to solar power. You can generally find someone to installsolar panels for between $9,865 and $15,241.

Industrially-produced, bleach-based cleaning products also represent a threat to the local environment. Instead, try natural alternatives, likebaking soda (another good idea from our grandparents’ era), or a mixture of water and vinegar or lemon juice.

The food we eat accounts for a major amount of CO2 pollution. By choosinglocally-sourced foods, you cut down on the amount that has to be transported over long distances, so focus on locally-grown produce, start an organic garden in the backyard, and take the time to look for local sources of meat, chicken and eggs. It’s eco-friendly, better for you in the long run, and supports the local economy. If you need a little help (most of us probably do) finding local sources, check out websites like, and, or check out the family-owned farms in your area.

While you’re at it, emphasize moreorganically-grown food productsin your family’s diet. It’s a good way to avoid ingesting pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Many grocery chains are responding to a growing customer demand for organically-grown fruits and vegetables. Bear in mind thatanimal agriculture accounts for a considerable amount of the pollution that causes greenhouse emissions, so consider cutting down on or eliminating red meat products.

Line drying
Our parents and grandparents knew a good thing when they saw it. Hanging yourclothing to dry in the fresh air instead of using energy needlessly to machine dry load after load of wet clothing reduces your carbon footprint, leaves your clothes smelling nice and fresh, and reduces some of the wear and tear that breaks down the fabrics you wear.

How many times a week do you hop in the car to drive less than a mile to a local store or to a friend’s house? Probably more than you realize. Car culture is so deeply rooted in American society that driving everywhere is more a natural impulse than a conscious choice. How about walking orbiking when there’s a short-distance errand to run instead of polluting unnecessarily with car exhaust? The physical exercise won’t do you any harm, either. When you do have to use the car, like when picking the kids up from school, turn off the ignition while you’re waiting.

Cleaner, more sustainable living is key to reducing the amount of pollutants we introduce into the environment every day. Changing the way you approach transportation, cleaning, shopping and eating can have a powerfully positive impact on your local environment by reducing waste and carbon dioxide emissions. It’s also a healthier and less costly way to live.