Global environmental consciousness sparked a revolution in consumer habits. Evaluations of shopping- and lifestyle-related emissions have caused an explosion in products labeled “green” and “sustainable.” Investing in sustainable products and practices can significantly reduce your negative impact on the planet.
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are the air pollutants that alter the atmosphere. An increase in the average global temperature, caused by the emission of GHGs, affects Earth in various ways. Warming causes a heightened intensity of storms and natural disasters, increased allergens, heightened food scarcity, biodiversity loss, coastline submergence, and more.
Canada is the 10th largest GHG emitter in the world. Our consumption patterns directly correlate with the release of these pollutants. Luckily, there are various ways to utilize your budget to challenge environmental degradation.
1. Adopt a Flexitarian Diet
A flexitarian diet consists of mainly plant consumption with occasional meat or fish additions. One can engage in this consumption pattern for a low cost. Meat alternatives are not necessary for the health of a primarily plant-based eater, but they can be delicious add-ons.
You can purchase traditional meat products for under three dollars a pound, whereas Beyond-branded burgers cost around six dollars. The extra three dollars utilized to buy a plant-based burger over a beef burger is a small investment with a considerable impact.
Limiting your beef product consumption can significantly reduce your methane emissions — the second-largest driver of climate change.
2. DIY Cleaning Products
You can reduce your plastic waste and environmentally harmful chemical consumption by making your own cleaning products. Crafting solutions out of vinegar and baking soda is equally as effective as purchasing commercial disinfectants. Many store-bought products contain phosphates — chemicals that endanger marine life when entering the ocean through runoff.
Buying goods from secondhand shops can positively impact the planet, your wallet, and your style. Nearly 60% of clothing contains synthetic materials made from plastic. When you dispose of these goods in landfills, they take hundreds of years to degrade.
To reduce the degradation created through the disposal of goods, one can purchase used products instead. Plato’s Closet and National Thrift are local thrift stores where you can shop to limit your waste production and GHG emissions.
4. Temperature Control
Around half of all residential energy consumption comes from heaters and air conditioners. These systems run on fossil fuels, which further contribute to the alteration of the atmosphere. Keeping your home at a consistent, energy-efficient temperature is a low-budget option for reducing your emissions.
1. Electric Vehicles
Some 182 million metric tons of GHGs are released through transportation in Canada annually. Innovators developed electric cars to challenge the environmental degradation produced by fossil fuels. In recent years, this technology advanced to craft a market of sleek cars with limited emissions.
Energy-efficient automobiles are costly, so consumers want to ensure they are aesthetically appealing. Mustang recently released their electric sports car, which travels up to 300 miles without needing a charge. It also includes luxurious features like ambient interior lighting, wireless charging, heated seats, and a panoramic sunroof.
2. Solar Panels
To reduce residential energy consumption, one can invest in solar panels. This technology converts the sun’s energy into fuel for your home to limit carbon dioxide emissions.
The average cost for panels and installation is between $15,000 and $25,000, or three to five dollars per watt. Solar energy carries an expensive buy-in, but it’s the most efficient way to source renewable energy for your home and typically pays for itself in time.
3. Smart Thermostats
Another device that reduces residential energy expenditures is a smart thermostat. This system is programmed to lower your home’s temperature at night when residents are sleeping. It also automatically sets itself to an energy-efficient temperature when the house sits vacant.
The technology connects to your smartphone so you can adjust it while on-the-go. This feature limits your energy waste when you’re on vacation or at work.
4. Rainwater Harvesting System
Rainwater harvesting is an age-old concept involving the use of runoff for residential needs. Innovators took this traditional method and extended its abilities. Today, rainwater harvesting systems can connect to non-potable water features, like toilets and irrigation systems, to reduce electricity and water waste.
Installing a rainwater harvesting system in your home is an upfront investment that produces long-term benefits. Over time, your utility bill will decrease and so will your carbon footprint.
Every Penny Counts
Regardless of your budget size, everyone can work to change their consumer habits and protect the environment. The more we normalize and invest in green practices, the more accessible they will become.
By prioritizing sustainability, we can reduce the impact of rising global temperatures and stimulate green technology development.
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