Our planet currently requires all the help it can get. Global warming, soaring energy costs, and other environmental concerns are front-page news and don’t make for enjoyable reading - but we can all take small steps to contribute towards more positive change.
The bad news is pretty much everything we do has an impact on the natural world. The great news, however, is that making some simple lifestyle changes can have a significant impact towards saving the planet.
Being 'green' can mean different things to different people (just ask Kermit the frog), but a good place to start is at home. Making your home greener doesn’t have to be expensive or overwhelming. If you're sick of hearing about the importance of reusable straws or recycling (but still make sure you do it, it’s important!) here are 5 other things you can do right now to make for a greener home.
1. Turn off your running taps
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While it is easy to take for granted the need for water conservation in home environments where water seems plentify, that does not mean it isn’t an issue you should care about. Using less water will also help reduce the greenhouse gases that are released from collecting, treating, and supplying clean water.
Turning off the tap when you clean your teeth or shave (a running tap uses up to nine litres of water a minute), taking a quick shower instead of a bath, and using a bowl in the sink when washing fruit, vegetables or dishes are all good places to start.
2. Swap out harmful cleaning products
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Using harmful chemicals to clean is bad for the environment and for your health. When washed away they enter the water supply meaning it will then need purification in order to be safe to use again.
The bottom line is, harmful cleaning chemicals just aren’t necessary. Simple household ingredients such as vinegar, citric acid and bicarbonate of soda can get the job done without impacting the planet or your health, and there's a huge range of environmentally friendly products available now.
3. Create your own compost with your food waste
Image from Talenthouse creator Wendy Provido
Composting is nature’s way of recycling. And better yet, it solves two problems for the price of one. When we compost instead of throwing our leftovers away, we reduce the amount of waste headed to landfill, consequently reducing the amount of greenhouse gases.
Recycled food also creates healthy soil. Healthy soil needs less fertilizer and less pesticides. You could even start your own vegetable garden with the leftovers you’ve been wasting. Think of all the good last night’s takeaway could be doing.
4. Get growing!
Image from Talenthouse creator Kilford Gonzales
Following on from point number 3, if you have a garden, consider planting trees, shrubs or even your favourite veg. Trees and plants consume CO2 and help purify the air, offsetting a portion of your carbon emissions.
If you don’t have a garden handy no problem, house plants are another great green hack. Plants like mother-in-law’s tongue give off oxygen at night, and peace lilies and boston ferns reduce the mould spores in the air. You take care of them and they’ll take care of you.
5. Stop leaving devices on standby
Ask yourself, does your Xbox really need to be on standby all night? Does every light in the house need to be on? Switch off and unplug where possible. You’d be surprised how much money, as well as energy, this will save. It’s a win, win.
You may be wondering whether these small changes will actually make a difference. With over 7 billion people calling planet earth home, if every person made even teeny minor changes to their daily routines think about the impact that could have.
Thinking about implementing one of these hacks, or better yet, have a different idea of how we can create a cleaner, healthier world? Why not document it and submit artwork inspired by your idea to our ‘Get creative about Climate Change’ brief.