Living a greener, more sustainable lifestyle really doesn’t take drastic measures. You don’t need to be living off the grid, eating most of your produce that you’ve grown yourself, and make everything from scratch – although the thought seems delightful to me. But, there are very simple things you can do living in an urban area. Here’s just a few:
- When not in use, turn it off! In fact, even when it’s turned off, like small appliances, they are still using electricity. My kids and I have gotten in the habit of unplugging small appliances we aren’t using. Or plug them into a power strip that’s easy to turn on and off with a flip of a switch.
- Don’t be a consumer. Start being mindful of the things you buy. At the grocery store, buy less prepackaged foods; start making dinner; pack your own lunches for the day; buy things in bulk and put in re-usable containers for everyday use. Frequent the thrift stores and second hand shops; and buy used clothing and items. You are saving lots of money and re-using items that usually are in perfectly good condition.
- Simplify! How many of you have lots of different cleaning products? Water and vinegar cleans most things around the home and I put it in a re-usable spray bottle. If you don’t like the scent of vinegar, add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil. Also, baking soda is a great item to have as well for some of those hard to clean things. It’s cheaper, easier and better for the environment also! And go through your home and de-clutter. Donate or giveaway the items you are not using and don’t need. When you go to the store refrain from “consuming”, a.k.a. buying things. You can even find websites and classifieds where you can barter and trade. There’s one on KSL.
- Eat local, fresh foods. We are lucky to live in an area where we can get local produce and other locally made items. One of my favorite places to go to is the Downtown Farmer’s Market in St. George. You can get locally made breads, cheeses, fresh produce, and great items produced locally. By doing this, you are creating a smaller environmental footprint: less refrigeration, less gas for transportation, less packaging. Pat yourself on the back.
- We live in a desert. We should probably start acting like we do. Although it may not seem like we have a water shortage, we are using a limited resource in our area. Start being active in using minimal amounts of water. Time your showers or put in a water-saving shower head. Taking baths actually uses less water. Turn the water off while brushing your teeth. Get rid of your grass and do water smart landscaping – it’s so much prettier! When washing your dishes, fill up the sink; don’t let the water run.
I hope these tips spark some ideas of simple steps you can do starting today! Get your family on board, tell your friends and neighbors. As a community we should be actively preserving the amazing lifestyle we have in Southern Utah by one little action at a time.