6 CONSCIOUS WAYS YOU CAN GIVE BACK TO MOTHER NATURE

October 1, 2016


By now, it should be no secret that our world's current state is in a massive shift and juggling panic simultaneously. Although, many of our everyday lives may not seem affected by the "outside world" - it's being affected everyday.

I've been getting a lot more into being more conscious about how I've contributed to Earth's destruction in the past and even today. From thoughtless loitering to how much water that is possibly being wasted on a daily basis. As someone who has a young child, I began to question the future even more. It's not often that adults of any age tend to think about how they'll leave the world - or the people who'll be left behind to deal with it. It's also safe to say that aside from myself, it's nice to know that others (and even big businesses) are actually making the effort to "go green" or at least be more aware of how we attribute to things such as global warming, landfill overflow, and outrageous consumerism that eat up our natural resources.

So, I wanted to share a few ways that you, me, your mama, your papa, your friends, and life can begin to step into the right direction and start giving Mother Nature some tender-loving care once again. Earth Day shouldn't be the only day we want to suddenly save the planet.


1. LOWER THE SCREEN LIGHTS
Believe it or not, there is a greener alternative to your everyday routine. When it comes to our laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones - these things are really brightly-lit, energy-sucking vampires. To help you reduce the energy being poured from your daily usage (and allow your devices battery to live a little longer) try making use of the power-saving options for once.

Start to dim the brightness of your screens as low as possible but to where you can still comfortably see without straining your eyes. On my smartphone, I have a battery saver icon I can tap to automatically dim my screen light and save on energy either automatically or as soon as my battery hits a certain percentage. The same goes for our personal computers and tablets - you can make use of sleep modes and be sure to power them down completely when not in use for long periods of time.

I use to suck at turning my laptop off before bed. Needless to say, that laptop died a slow death. I've grown since - thankfully. 


2. SHOP LOCALLY
There's nothing better than supporting the growth of your own community - whether you like it or not. Shopping your local farmer's markets or neighborhood gardens is a great way to help sustain growth and local business.

I love that Atlanta has several farmer's markets for purchasing the produce and delicious home-grown items that I love. Not to mention that you can save money and buy in bulk with most items. Great way to "go green" to avoid eating out creating more takeover trash or excess cleanup for the hardworking restaurant folk.


3. EAT LESS MEAT
When the livestock industry generates wayyy more greenhouse gas emissions that cars do across the planet ... you got to wonder what the hell is really going on. In order to keep this industry thriving, forests have to be terminated and annihilated. Not really a good look for the long-term. I'm all for enjoying a nice hot meal but try consuming less meat and adding more fruits and veggies in your diet. Trust, you'll be doing yourself and your future a huge favor.



4. OPT TO CARPOOL 
This is a good one! I could practically be an Uber or Lyft brand ambassador - I use them interchangeably often. Also, living in the city, I have access to the local transit of buses, trains, and street cars so naturally, if I'm ready to explore, I carpool and discover the city for the day. You'll be lessening your personal carbon footprint and giving the atmosphere just an ounce more of breathing room. Plus, taking a quick 15 minute walk up the street to the store instead of driving doesn't hurt.

Cars alone cost a nice piece a change considering gas, emergency finds for damages, yearly tag renewals, etc. Save the driving for when you absolutely have to and try carpooling a day or two out of the week. If you're lucky, you could even make use of a ZipCar if you don't have a car or simply need an alternative to renting one. Give yourself a break and learn to enjoy what's around you for a change. I've discovered some pretty amazing things (and encountered a few weirdos in the process) but it all is apart of living more intentionally.


5. SAVE SOME ENERGY
My absolute favorite way to save on cashflow mostly. I am VERY strict in my household when it comes to energy. Because utility bills in my neighborhood are worthy of a "you ain't sh*t" award. In addition to lowering device screen lights - it's only right that you unplug chargers, TVs, and other devices plus lights when they're not in use.

My apartment gets a ton of natural light so during the day, literally no lights are turned on. I go as far as turning them all off completely from the circuit breaker box. Yep. Things like the dishwasher and other appliances I never use, always stay switched off. Basically, all electricity in rooms I don't use except the bedroom and sometimes the living area are off. I turn them back on once it gets dark and off again in the afternoons for the rest of the day.

You can also save energy by knowing the peak usage times within your area. The utility companies can usually give you this info if you ask for it. Helps to know when people use the most energy during whatever peak hours and when they don't during more quiet hours. You may also save by doing things like washing laundry during non peak hours instead of busy ones. FYI - cold water instead of hot is just as great with cleaning cycles.

6. RUPURPOSE AND REUSE
You know how there are cat-ladies? Well, I could be a glass-lady. I purchase quite a few things that come in either glass or cardboard. I'll use glass bottles  or mason jars to store bulk spices and cereals. I try my best to avoid plastic BUT ... the struggle. I'm doing way better than I was 2 years ago.

Be disposable conscious. To decrease waste, purchase long-lasting products that can be reused, refilled or recharged. If you do use disposables, choose those made with recycled or recyclable materials. Say, if you buy mushrooms, get the ones in the recyclable cardboard instead of the plastic. I do. Or using muslin bags instead of plastic produce bags for veggies and grains. 

When I was growing up, plastic bags in the household were literally trash bags, doggy bags for leftovers after the family bbq, and everything. It was a silent rule in the house to never throw them away after mom went grocery shopping. Needless to say, many of you know what I'm talking about. Nowadays, whenever possible - bring your own reusable bags when you go grocery shopping or retail shopping. Places like Target, Kroger, and the Dollar Tree all have reusable bags you can purchase instead of using plastic. Dirt cheap too. I own quite a few. 



By taking small steps like those shared above, you're making moves to live a more green lifestyle, becoming more sustainable, and reducing your carbon footprint to help the planet you live and breath on a bit easier to inhabit. 


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