Change can be hard and it’s very true when it comes to changing your lifestyle. If you grew up in the “disposable age” like I did, even the most basic sustainable earth-friendly practices can sometimes be a challenge.
“There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle.” –Pope Francis, Laudato Si’
Since I’ve started caring more for God’s creation my view of how I see things have slowly changed, but it hasn’t been easy. I had to make a resolution to choose to be more conscious about my choices. I sometimes have to remind myself that the things I buy and throw away can affect my family and others. Our choices can either help preserve our environment or poison it for years into the future.
If you want to be a better environmental steward, but struggle with where to start, here are five simple (but not always easy!) ways you can make a difference, starting today:
- Ditch Disposable Water Bottles
This one is really important and one of the best places to start. ONLY use disposable bottles when it’s really necessary and not out of convenience. If you really have to use one make sure you recycle it, even if it means taking it home with you to recycle. (If you don’t know why they are bad, click on each to read: Plastic bottles Bad for the Environment and Plastic Bottles Bad for our Health.)
- Choose Reusable Grocery Bags
I love using reusable grocery bags, but struggle with getting them from the car to the store. One time use plastic bags pollute our streets and oceans, are dangerous to wildlife and everything else. If you forget your reusable grocery bags, resolve yourself to go back to the car to get them. If your store uses paper grocery bags, it’s OK to use one now and again, but even then, reuse the paper bag either for your next shopping trip or somewhere around the house.
- Use and Reuse Everything
I’m not a fan of plastic, but I have a stash of washed takeout containers on the ready to send leftovers home with friends. Before you throw something away, take a second to consider how it can be reused first. If it can’t be reused at least one more time, consider not buying it again.
It is a pain to wash things well, separate and haul them off to the recycling bins, but it’s worth it. Maybe not directly to you today, but it can make a difference to the quality of the water your family drinks in the future or how much trash ends up in the ocean to harm the sea life and people around the world. If you don’t already recycle as a habit, DO IT.
- Think Before You Buy
This one can be a little more challenging than the others, but is the next step to living an eco-friendly lifestyle. Forget your reusable bags? Consider postponing your shopping trip. Really want take out, but your favorite restaurant doesn’t use recyclable containers? Consider eating inside the restaurant or cooking instead. Tired of last year’s decor? Consider moving things around instead of buying all new. Really love those awesome new boots? Consider if they are a true need or a fashionable want.
Related Post: 12 Great Resources to STOP Over-Consumption
This simple earth-friendly list may seem pretty obvious, but it’s not as easy as you think. If you’re not already doing all of these 5 simple things consistently, resolving yourself to do them is a great place to start. You might still find yourself using something disposable once in awhile when you don’t have another choice, but overall you will find both your thoughts and actions becoming a better steward of our common home.