Recent decades have led to an increasing awareness of the ramifications of human carelessness on the environment. Growing concern over the climate change crisis has inspired a renewed commitment to sustainability.
That does not mean, however, that living an environmentally-friendly life is always easy. Indeed, you might feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the process. The good news, though, is that you don’t have to become an ecological guru overnight. The best approach to living a sustainable lifestyle is to start small and slowly, one minor change at a time. We’ll show you how!
If you’re looking for a sustainable way to spruce up your home, why not forgo all the plastic knickknacks and wood-framed artwork? Instead, opt for a healthier, more ecological, and deliciously eye-catching alternative: fill your home with sumptuous green plants!1
Incorporating plants into each room will add a vibrant pop of color and infuse the space with appealing shapes and textures. Research has shown, in fact, that being surrounded by organic elements taken from nature can reduce stress and boost your mood.
Best of all, from an environmental perspective, decorating with plants not only means that you’re avoiding filling the space with less environmentally-friendly manufactured objects, but also that you’re cleaning the air naturally. Plants are rockstars at clearing airborne pollutants while supporting optimal oxygen and humidity levels in your home.
Nix Air Fresheners Derived From Chemicals
There’s nothing more inviting than a home that smells sweet and fresh. Unfortunately, though, if you’re using traditional air fresheners, those alluring scents may be coming at a cost.
Aerosol sprays, for example, can be hazardous both to the environment and to your health. These aerosols generally contain substantial amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOC),2 which can reduce indoor air quality by increasing ground-level ozone levels in the environment.
However, it is not only the aerosol air fresheners that are a concern, even popular options such as plug-ins, gels, and scented candles can contain dangerous chemicals.3 These chemicals bring with them an array of health risks ranging from asthma attacks, to headaches, to an increased risk of cancer.
To protect both your health and the environment from the dangers of chemical-based air fresheners, go the natural route instead. Diffusing essential oils featuring your favorite scents can leave your air smelling every bit as delicious as the chemical fresheners, without the associated harms.
If you don’t have any essential oils at your disposal, don’t sweat! Simply throw some nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a pot of water and simmer. Your home will be infused with the fragrance of the holidays!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Another easy and highly effective way to incorporate sustainability into your life and home is simply to reduce the amount of waste you produce each day.
If you’re not ready to go all-in with the composting, no problem. Small, simple swaps can have a large effect over time. Try switching out your plastic water bottles with a reusable one,4 or trade your disposable cotton balls and swabs with reusable organic ones. Every item you reuse means one less item that’s going to end up choking the landfill!
Living sustainably isn’t just about behavior. It’s also about knowledge. So a great first step in becoming a true eco-warrior is to get informed. Devote a weekend or two to reading a few of the many terrific books about sustainability.5 This will equip you with the knowledge you need to make informed choices and to ensure that the changes you are making really do make a difference.
Besides, there’s no better way to open your eyes to environmental challenges you perhaps have never before considered. At the very least, these books can teach us to tread more lightly on this precious planet we call home!
Embracing sustainability does not mean you have to go off the grid and take up the homesteading lifestyle. Even small changes can make a big difference over time. Perhaps the best place to begin is in the choices you make as a consumer. For instance, switching out your chemical-based air fresheners for natural solutions, such as essential oils, will help protect both the environment and your health. Similarly, decorating with plants instead of manufactured objects not only reduces the environmental impacts of producing the items but also results in naturally cleaner, fresher air inside your home. Additionally, reducing the amount of waste you produce each day by choosing reusable products whenever possible will significantly cut the amount of trash that ends up in our landfills. Finally, educating yourself by reading up on the issue of sustainability will help make you a more informed and effective ambassador for and steward of the environment.