Easy changes for maximum positive impact.
We’re constantly being told how important it is to live life greener and cleaner, but with so much advice out there it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. And for many people, the fear of somehow doing green-living ‘wrong’ is enough to dissuade them from getting started at all.
But here’s the thing, the planet doesn’t need a small, devout group doing green-living perfectly; it needs lots of people doing it imperfectly. That is, quite simply, doing their best. Because every little action makes a meaningful difference.
You’ll find lots of easy how-to articles on this website, covering everything from gardening and cooking, to product guides and tech explainers, but below you’ll find a list of our top eco-friendly actions. If you can commit to just one or two of these changes (although the more the better!), you’ll be directly responsible for making a positive impact on the planet. And if everyone did them, the world could look very different indeed.
1. Insulate your home to save energy
Stopping heat from unnecessarily escaping from your home is one of the best things you can do to take action against climate change. And besides, you’re not paying to heat the outdoors, are you? Learn all about the benefits of proper home insulation here. Insulating your home isn’t as expensive as you might think, either. Find out how much insulation costs and the money you could save here.
2. Switch to a green energy provider to save money
Choosing a green energy provider means that the electricity you use comes from renewable sources, such as wind or solar, instead of fossil fuels, which are polluting the atmosphere. Switching your energy provider is really straightforward – it only takes a few clicks, and it could save you a lot of money in the process. Read our guide to switching to a green energy supplier here.
3. Reduce your meat consumption
There are a lot of carbon emissions associated with farming and agriculture, and the demand for land is putting an increasing strain on the planet in many ways, from soil degradation to the loss of valuable forests. You don’t have to cut out meat completely (although it’s great if you do!), but opting for just one meat-free day a week can help to reduce the impact meat production has on the planet. Read more about the benefits of meat-free days here.
4. Plant flowers for bees to benefit the ecosystem and biodiversity
Bees may be small, but they are mighty when it comes to maintaining our already precarious food systems. If they don’t keep on pollinating plants then we’ll end up facing massive food shortages, which will have knock-on consequences in all kinds of ways. So we need to look after them, and the good news is they’re pretty low-maintenance. Bees love long lawns and wildflowers, so you definitely don’t need a green thumb to make your garden bee-friendly. Find out more about protecting bees here.
5. Recycle properly
Most of us are au fait with recycling now and it’s probably second nature for most households. But are you doing it correctly? We mentioned at the start of this article that green-living doesn’t need to be done perfectly, but recycling is the one area where it’s important to pay close attention. If you accidentally put the wrong item into the wrong bag or box the whole batch can become contaminated and end up in landfill. But don’t worry, it only takes a few minutes to make sure you’re on the right track. Read more about why it’s important to recycle properly here.
6. Take a few easy steps to save water
You might not think it considering the amount of rain we get in this country, but the UK is facing serious water stress. We all use a lot of water every day, and to make up the shortfall water suppliers are increasingly having to tap natural reserves, such as lakes and rivers, which has a negative impact on wildlife and delicate ecosystems. What a lot of people don’t realise, though, is that it’s really easy to conserve water with basically no effort at all. Take a look at our guide to water-saving gadgets that’ll do all the hard work for you.
7. Move your money to a green bank account or pension
A lot of high street banks have made commitments to greener practices in recent times, but the fact is many of them are still funding environmentally-damaging practices of endorsing the use of fossil fuels. ‘Green banking’, however, takes the opposite approach. Banks such as The Co-operative, Triodos and Ecology ensure no part of their business funds damaging activities such as fracking or deforestation, instead choosing to invest in environmentally-beneficial projects and ventures. And they still offer the same range of savings, loans and investment products you’d get in a major high street bank. Read our guide to green finance and consider moving your money to a more eco-friendly option.
8. Consider making the switch to an electric vehicle
Obviously we’re in big spender territory here but when the time comes to get a new car, choose an all-electric vehicle (EV) – best to avoid hybrids if possible. Pollution from vehicles is the major driver of climate change in the UK, which is why the government is investing in programmes and infrastructure to encourage EV take-up. And, of course, you’ll save a lot of money on fuel. Here are even more reasons to buy an EV.
The bottom line
Protecting the environment doesn’t mean you have to be vegan or never drive a car again. There are countless ways to live an eco-friendly lifestyle – the above suggestions are just designed to get you started! Remember, every action – no matter how small you think it may be – can add up to big change when lots of people are doing it. And we all need to be taking these little actions if we want to protect our One Home.
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