Green and Bear It: 5 Ways To Build A Planet-Friendly Home
When it comes to green living, mindfulness is key!
Rising global temperatures, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, rising sea levels…In the past decade, these are just some of the scientific evidence that NASA lists in its reports to prove that climate change is happening—and it’s happening now. Did you know that carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is currently at its highest at 447 parts per million? Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases such as water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) trap heat on Earth, resulting in the world’s continuously warming climate.
If this list sounds like it’s a bunch of notes to remember straight out of your grade school science class, it’s because it is. What’s alarming, however, is NASA says there’s a greater than 95% probability that this is a result of human activity and it’s proceeding at a rate that’s “unprecedented over millennia.” We’re cutting down forests, farming livestock, and burning fossil fuels, among many other day-to-day activities that make our lives easier on Earth, only for our convenience to have adverse effects on the planet. The term “carbon footprint” was even coined just to refer to the total amount of greenhouse gases we generate through our actions.
The mounting tensions regarding this discussion have made global figures out of the likes of 18-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg who continue to challenge world leaders and companies in a campaign to take climate change seriously.
And while we can’t take the stage as the face of a worldwide movement, we have a lot we can do in our own little corner of the Earth if we really wanted to help reduce our carbon footprint by being more planet-friendly.
What exactly does it mean to be planet-friendly? It means consuming products that have less of an impact on the environment across the board—from the food you eat to the cleaners you use at home.
This way, you can lessen your contribution to the bigger operations that cause our carbon emissions to rise. Granted, living a planet-friendly lifestyle is not easy to do. Many planet-friendly products are still not always accessible, and they can get quite expensive. However, it’s definitely worth it!
Reduce single-use plastic now
One of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions is plastic. If your favorite beauty product or your household’s laundry detergent is still packaged in plastic, you may want to start looking more closely at other alternatives such as reusable or recycled packaging. According to NPR, the making of plastic down to incinerating it accounts for some of the world’s biggest carbon footprints.
Watch out for certain ingredients in your products Aside from plastic, chemicals found in your run-of-the-mill cleaning agents at home cause great harm to nature. Once we use them, it contaminates and pollutes our water; eventually posing health risks to you and others! Try to avoid formulas with the following:
Phthalates found in air fresheners and dish soaps have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and birth defects
Sulfates found in laundry and dish detergents can irritate the skin, eyes, mouth, and lungs
Triclosan found in antibacterial cleaning products interferes with thyroid metabolism
Chlorine found bleach-based cleaning products is highly corrosive and can irritate the lungs, skin, and eyes
Butoxyethanol found in dish soaps and all-purpose cleaners reduces fertility and causes asthma and allergies
Sodium hydroxide found in industrial cleaners are extremely damaging to human tissue
Therefore, choose biodegradable
Because we don’t know where our waste ultimately ends up, using products free of chemicals and synthetic ingredients can help reduce your carbon footprint immensely. This ensures that anything you dispose of can be broken down naturally without causing the environment any harm.
Whatever space you have, composting is a great way to recycle fruit and vegetable waste, crushed eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds with filters, torn paper, and non-printed cardboard, among others. Not only does it reduce greenhouse gases, it also gives essential nutrients back to soil. WWF Philippines has some great tips on composting WWF Philippines has some great tips on composting!
If you can’t do it yourself, find others who can!
We all have different limitations in our homes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with a planet-friendly lifestyle. Go the extra mile and get in touch with people who can help you reduce your carbon footprint. There are many organizations in the Philippines that can help you by recycling and reusing your paper and plastic waste—all you have to do is donate!
It’s never too late to take even the smallest step to a greener home. It’s important for us to understand that the “little things” we do in our households impact the world on a larger scale than we can possibly know. We may not feel it yet, but we may soon regret not making the effort as early as now. Be a part of the change!