Nowadays, more than half of the world's population lives in urban areas. According to the UN, that number will rise to 70 percent by the year 2050. And yes, these people produce most of our GDP, but they also make most of our greenhouse emissions. So, it's time for them to learn how to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle in a big city.
Luckily, many of us are already tired of living a wasteful lifestyle. Switching to green living, however, can be challenging and stressful if you don't know what to focus on. But what if we tell you that you already completed the most difficult step? You decided to make a change, and that's what matters most.
In this article, you'll read about the small things you can do. These will be easy to incorporate into your life, and they will make a difference. You'll learn why you should strive for more green products in your life and how you can find them. Let's dive in!
Eat less meat
Believe it or not, if you eat less meat, the environment will thank you. This is something that's more than doable, and it can make a huge difference. But, why?
You see, we use more than 30% of the Earth's surface to raise and support livestock. About 9% of the CO2 that we create comes from this industry. Greenhouse gases are an even bigger problem, and the livestock sector produces significant amounts of them. So, if you want to help the planet and reduce the overall emission of these gases, you might want to try to eat less meat.
On top of that, if there's less livestock, there's more space for us. Therefore, don't hesitate to replace some of your meat-heavy meals with plant-based alternatives. You'll feel happier and help the planet at the same time.
Use less paper and recycle
Living in a big city has its benefits, and having a constant connection to the internet is one of them. We have all these devices like mobile phones and laptops that can do so many different things. Therefore, it shouldn't be a problem to get through your day without using a notebook.
There are many reasons why it's vital to use less paper. But the easiest way to sum them up is this - the less paper you use, the less of it will need to be produced. You'll be saving trees with every note you write into your phone instead of a notebook or scratchpad.
Of course, you can't expect to give up paper completely. For instance, when you move, chances are that you'll use cardboard boxes. And there's nothing wrong with this. However, if those boxes end up in a dumpster after you're done with them, you create a problem. Instead, you can use a database like Best Movers NYC to find moving companies that recycle. Or even better, you can look for a company that rents out moving supplies.
Give up plastic bags
Although reusable plastic moving bins are a great thing, plastic bags certainly aren't. If you want to learn how to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle in a big city, you can use canvas bag alternatives to battle the plastic ones. These are both cheap and amazingly useful.
For starters, they're way sturdier than plastic bags, which means they can hold more goods. But you can also use them to store or pack things when moving. As a matter of fact, with an interesting print, they can even be a fashion statement. The sky is the limit here, so don't be afraid to get creative.
Purchase energy-efficient light bulbs
Electricity is often presented as green energy, however, it is only as green as the ways we use to create it. In big cities, we rarely get an opportunity to choose where our power comes from. But we can choose to use less of it. So, next time your lightbulbs stop working, replace them with an eco-friendly version.
You'll have plenty of options to pick from here. CFL bulbs are commonly used, but we'd recommend going for LED. They use less energy, last a lot longer, and give out more light. Therefore, you'll probably be able to get away with fewer lamps in your home as well. There are many more sustainable DIY home upgrade projects like this one, so be sure to check them out.
Borrow, don't buy
Another benefit of living in a big city is that you have access to almost anything you want. In such an environment, it's easy to get lost and waste money on buying things that you can borrow.
You probably have a library near you, so why would you buy a book that you'll read once if you can borrow it? And whenever you need to buy something, try to find it in a second-hand store or online marketplace.
Living green doesn't mean that you need to settle for less. You can find lots of things in used-goods stores that are as good as new. And when you buy them, you'll save not only the planet but also your money.
Changing your driving habits is one of the simplest ways to save the environment. If you don't drive, your carbon footprint will reduce substantially. And that's what we want to achieve here. Instead, opt for carpooling, public transportation, biking, or simply walking whenever you can. On the other hand, if you can't imagine your life without a car, combine errands to make fewer trips.
As you can see, when you know how to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle in a big city, it's not hard at all. You need a bit of commitment to get used to your new habits, and from there on, it's a piece of cake.
Anthony McClain is a freelance writer living and working in New York. He prefers writing articles that can help people in some way. He tries to live as sustainably as possible and loves sharing his experience and knowledge with others. When he's not working, you can find him in Central Park with his two sons