"Go Green" is the hottest tag line today. Corporations are making it easier for the consumer to feel good about their purchases. Even Wal-Mart has hopped on the green train, announcing a plan to curb plastic bag use in their stores to eliminate more than 135 million pounds of plastic bags in the next five years. But why is corporate America our eco-conscience? How many times do we realize we've forgotten our reusable water bottle and revert back to buying bottled water? And what about those times we find ourselves in a grocery line with the reusable bags back at home under the sink?
The common thread of inconvenience and limited time lurks its ugly head as we all turn a blind eye to bad habits. Perhaps we require corporate and government intervention to assist in policing eco-living. San Francisco has become the first U.S. city to ban non-biodegradable bags from supermarkets and countries such as Rwanda and Bangladesh have banned plastic bags. With certain countries and cities taking such a strong stance, is it not time to look at our own habits and take action?
Minimizing our ecological footprint is becoming more and more important as we face an increase in environmental issues. China uses more than 37 million barrels of crude oil to produce over 1 trillion plastic bags.
Below are four simple guidelines we all can follow to enjoy an eco-friendly life:
- Consume local: Look into local organic companies that offer seasonal produce that is sourced locally. Not only does this choice support local farmers, it also provides you with a well balanced, seasonal diet. It also reduces the miles your food has traveled.
- Commute less: It is not always possible to take local transit to and from work, but how about making an effort on the weekends to leave the car at home. Not only will you be helping out the environment, you will also be getting much needed exercise. Today, more and more of us are trapped in cubical farms. How about stretching out those legs and walking to your destination?
- Conserve energy: Remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room. There was a reason why your parents instilled that in your brain as a child! Take note of things that can be turned off when not in use. Items such as our computers can easily be shut down.
- Choose carefully: When you are out and about, bring a bag. It is more common to have reusable bags for your groceries but how about for your mall outings? Is it necessary to get plastics bags? Most importantly, use a water bottle! Often, you are able to get filtered water when you are traveling or at the office. Make use of it to reduce your consumption of bottled water.
The environment is such a large issue and it is easy to begin complicating tasks. Keep it simple. By following these four Cs, you too could reduce your ecological footprint. Challenge yourself to make a change every week. As Walt Kelly states, "we are the enemy and it up to us and only us to begin to make an impact and initiate change." Are you ready to limit your ecological footprint?