Small steps towards being environmentally responsible | Dr. Sarah Goulding, Naturopathic Doctor

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to reduce my environmental burden. I know better, I should do better. There are times when I have definitely been lazy about the smaller details, but I’m now trying to change my ways.

Here are a few things that we can do to minimize our environmental burden:

Eat less meat

“Transitioning toward more plant-based diets that are in line with standard dietary guidelines could reduce global mortality by 6–10% and food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 29–70% compared with a reference scenario in 2050” (Springmann et al.).

But be careful not to consume too much processed foods or fruit, as those food choices can ramp up the environmental toll of your diet.

Soy is fine to eat in moderation, but be sure to buy organic to avoid ingesting chemicals. Soy production is known to be hard on the environment, but in reality eating beef costs more soy than eating the soy directly.

Grow your own food when possible

Garden in the summer.

Sprout instead of buying greens (especially those boxed in plastic) during the winter months.

Grow your own herbs.

Keep house plants to clean your own micro-environment

Some plants are better than others for filtering the air inside your home.

Eat seasonally

Look at where your fruit comes from in the winter months. Is it better to live on apples in the winter or to ship exotic fruits from South America? You decide. I’m constantly debating about this in the produce aisle.

End food waste

Plan your meals and update your plans based on what is actually in the fridge. Leftovers can force you to creatively create amazing meals.

Turn down your water heater

The water coming out of your faucet should only be as hot as you want it. You should not have to also turn on the cold water to achieve your ideal temperature bath.

Conserve power

Put everything you plug in on a power bar and turn it off at night.

Reduce your impact as a consumer

Take care of things so that you don’t have to replace them so much (from small items like clothing to bigger purchases like vehicles).

Buy pre-loved instead of new when possible (which also contributes to your local economy).

Buy in bulk to save on packaging.

Stop buying books. Use the library (again another way to be out in your local community).

Reusable grocery bags of course. Say no to straws.

Eat out less. And definitely don’t get take-out.

 

A great tool to calculate your environmental impact is the
Ecological footprint calculator.