Top 5 ways to save the world without killing yourself

To celebrate World Environment Week, I decided to post my list of 5 ways to save the world without killing yourself. Many people believe that you have to radically change your lifestyle to make a difference, but that’s not true. If we all make small changes, they will have a big impact. More importantly they will lead to bigger and bigger changes at government and corporate level.

The change is already happening, you can see companies going green and governments implementing environmental policies and laws. It’s just the beginning, be a part of the movement and save the world.

1) Reduce, reuse, recycle

People often forget the first two. Reycling uses energy and often horrid chemicals, so it is not optimal and it is certainly not an excuse to continue to consume irresponsibly. Reduce your consumption, buy less things and eat less. Reuse what you can, even if it means passing it on to someone else who can use it. Finally, recycle what you can.

2) Eat less meat

You don’t have to become vegetarian, just reduce the amount of meat you eat and be more aware of where it comes from. Meats that are not factory farmed are better for the environment. Enjoy Karan beef? It’s grain fed, but cows eat grass. Opt for game when possible, look out for free range and organic. Don’t be shy to ask the butcher or waiter. There are a number of ways to reduce your intake. Support Meat Free Mondays, or choose a day of the week that suits you. Consider vegetarian options occasionally when eating out. When ordering meat, order the smaller cut. When having a braai or entertaining, don’t over cater. Allocate a reasonable portion of meat per person and purchase that amount.

3) Don’t buy bottled water

This is my favourite. Bottled water is the most ridiculous thing and should be banished for the good of the earth. You can read my full rant here, but the main points are these:

– Bottled water is not regulated so there is no way of knowing if it is clean/safe
– Much of it is just bottled tap water
– The energy used to bottle it and transport it is a waste of energy
– The plastic bottles are not good for you and end up as waste which cannot be recycled (also a big use of oil)
– It costs a fortune, tap water costs less than 1% of the price of bottle water

4) Use less electricity

We need to become more aware of how we go about our daily lives and how much energy we waste. Get a geyser blanket and timer. Turn off your appliances instead of leaving them on standby. Turn off lights that are not necessary. This is the easiest one because with the price of electricity going up, people will start doing this one automatically.

5) Travel less

Air travel is particularly bad for the environment, you should not be flying overseas regularly. But apart from that, we need to travel less in our day. We are so used to having cars and going where we want, when we want. It was interesting when the petrol price went up to over R10 per litre because suddenly people were driving less. It shows you that we drive more than we need to. Stop it.

There you have it, 5 ways to save the world without killing yourself. Not so difficult, hey? The sixth one is this, educate others. We need a change in mindset, and we need it urgently.

1 Comment

  1. Andrea June 8, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Well put Dax
    Here are a few more easy peasy tips:

    * when weighing vegetables at the Supermarket, use ONE plastic bag and put ALL the sticky barcode labels on the outside.
    * always take reusable bags to the supermarket.
    * avoid buying imported products when you can buy locally made ones. The energy taken to fly/ship these products in is enormous.
    * use green environmentally friendly cleaning products in your home – it is better for water quality and wildlife.