There’s a lot of debate on the true meaning of being eco-conscious in everyday life.
Some people say it’s being as “green” and “eco-friendly” as possible. This includes swapping plastic bags to organic/cotton shopping bags, using bamboo cutlery instead of stainless steel, and replacing take-away cups with reusable coffee cups like these KeepCups.
Others say it’s about being 100% “Zero Waste”. Examples of this include wearing clothes made from recyclable material, purchasing second-hand furniture for your office, composting food, and using biodegradable toilet paper.
But there’s more to living an eco-conscious lifestyle than just switching to environmentally-friendly products.
So for this article, we’re here to talk about everything you need to know about being eco-conscious!
Eco-Conscious: What Does it Really Mean?
The first step to being truly eco-conscious is to know what exactly the word means.
Merriam-Webster defines it as being “marked by or showing concern for the environment”. Brief and to the point, but it doesn’t encapsulate the true depth of its meaning.
Eco-consciousness is a state of mind where you have an innate understanding of your role as a human being on Earth.
This means being fully aware of your effects on the environment and everything connected to it, big or small. It’s about knowing the importance of preserving and saving nature at its core. This doesn’t just include animals, trees, and insects.
It also includes the bigger things: mountains, bodies of water, the air, and the sky, and all that makes Earth alive and everything walking on its soil. It’s you and me, and down to the tiniest cell the naked eye can’t see.
We sometimes forget that all living organisms form an interconnected web of life. As Chief Seattle, a Suquamish and Duwamish chief, perfectly stated: “All things are connected like the blood that unites us. Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
We often ask ourselves what the true meaning of life is, and no one really knows the answer. But what we know is this: We aren’t only created to live, reproduce, and die. Our roles as human beings are bigger than that. We are simultaneously one with one another, and our impact on the world is on a grander scale.
The real danger on Earth isn’t natural phenomenons like volcanic activities and tsunamis. The real truth is that humans are the largest threat to life on Earth.
But it’s not too late to save the planet. As with all journeys, it starts with one small step which is what Tamborasi is all about.
Where Can You Start?
Start with the small things. Supporting green companies, changing the way you do things in little cost-effective ways, and saving energy and water. It’s buying second-hand textiles and opting for reusable items, in addition to seeking products with packaging made from recycled materials.
We can even purchase toys that are made from sustainable materials for our kids!
The key elements in being eco-conscious are our respect for the environment, sustainability, and our efficient reuse of resources.
Step 1: Awareness
Being eco-conscious is important because Earth is our home, and it will be for thousands, if not millions, of years to come.
First, we all have to be aware of what’s ethically right and wrong for the environment and its long term effects on our communities and the world. Observing our daily habits is a good way to start, as we may need to change how to do things in the long run for the benefit of our ecology.
Step 2: Living More Sustainably
From what we eat to what we wear, there’s a lot we can do to reduce our ecological footprint to the environment. Some examples are as follows:
Replace Plastic Bags With Reusable Bags While Shopping
Plastic bags may take over a thousand years to degrade as it’s composed of materials that are not easy to recycle. Reusable cotton bags, however, can be reused hundreds of times without harmful environmental effects. It’s convenient, recyclable, and way more stylish!
Using cloth/organic shopping bags won’t only reduce plastic pollution but will also decrease the number of resources needed to produce these single-use plastic bags. And don’t forget the reusable produce bags while grocery shopping!
Go for Reusable Water Bottles
Just like cotton bags, using reusable water bottles will reduce your carbon footprint and thus decrease plastic’s harmful effect on the environment. It’ll also save you a lot of money!
Did you know the average American spends at least $100 yearly on water bottles individually?
Why should we spend hundreds of dollars on something we can have for free or very low cost with a water filter?
Choose Eco-Kettles And Other Eco-Friendly Technology
The principle of eco-kettles lies in the fact that we routinely boil more water than we need when making our favorite hot drink.
Eco-kettles allow users to boil between one to ten cups of water at a time, depending on the size of your kettle, which prevents waste of water, energy, and time. These kettles are specifically designed to meet the global demands of energy-saving products.
Other eco-friendly technologies include:
Greenwashing, coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986, is a type of marketing spin where a company advertises its products as environmentally friendly but in actuality, it doesn’t minimize their environmental impact. It’s a deceitful act where companies provide false information to mislead consumers into buying their products.
An example of greenwashing is fossil fuel companies claiming they’re reducing greenhouse gas emissions when in truth they’re actually increasing them.
Another is laundry detergents being labeled “free of phosphates.” Phosphates are no longer a prime ingredient of laundry detergents. This doesn’t mean they’re special, and it definitely doesn’t mean they’re eco-friendly.
But how can you tell? Sometimes, it just takes some common sense.
Vague and nonspecific claims of being eco-friendly? Too much information or too little? Products covered in green, big leafy ads, pictures of mountains to make you feel that they’re natural and organic when in reality, they’re truly not?
Check the labels. Google the product’s website and reviews. The fine print matters.
Trees produce oxygen, which we not only breathe but it also filters the water we drink and provides habitat to nature’s wild animals. Planting trees is a no-brainer. If you don’t have time to plant a tree yourself, consider donating to One Tree Planted, an awesome non-profit that plants one tree for every dollar donated.
Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables
Along with saving money, growing your own produce reduces the risk of eating vegetables and fruits that contain harmful chemicals. It’s also a great way to be eco-friendly, reducing your carbon footprint through the lack of packaging and excessive shipping fuels needed for standard produce. There’s really nothing that tastes as good as your own homegrown food, I can say from experience!
Opt for Green Cleaning Products
Choosing green cleaning products is not only usually healthier for you but for the environment as well. Natural products also smell great, without the harsh standard chemical smell.
Step 3: Reusing Resources
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – a phrase we’ve all heard, but no less important than when we’ve first learned it. Here are some easy ways to eliminate or reduce waste while protecting the world’s ecosystem:
Reuse and Separate Recyclable Materials
Newspapers, cardboard, magazines, in addition to books and office paper, can be recycled as long as they’re not contaminated by food, liquid, or waste. The same goes for metal cans, plastic, and cups. If you’re not sure if you can recycle something, you can do an easy Google search to see what your local municipality accepts.
Glass bottles and jars can also be reused. Most things you typically throw away can be recycled and turned into new products, giving it a new life. Broke your favorite wooden chair? Don’t toss it, fix it!
Compost Your Food
Instead of throwing your food in the landfill, you can turn it into compost for your garden. Compost is a great way to sustain and bring nutrients back into the soil. It’s almost like returning the gift given by Earth. This, in turn, will also help you grow the tastiest vegetables. To learn how to compost, be sure to check out Compost 101 – All About Composting from Gardeners.com
Choose Your Paper Wisely
This means trying to only use recycled paper or FSC Certified paper.
Recycled paper is just as its name implies: paper made from other papers, instead of cutting new trees.
The Forest Stewardship Council, FSC for short, is a well-respected non-profit that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. Any paper or wood products certified by the FSC come with the benefit of the environment in mind and are created with sustainable practices.
Being eco-conscious starts with you and your mindset.
Once we’re truly aware of what impacts nature and life on Earth, we begin to understand the importance of the choices we make in our daily lives. We need to protect and save what’s ours as long as we have it, including animals, trees, and every part of Earth.
As you can see, being eco-conscious doesn’t only mean reducing your plastic usage. It also means respecting what we have.
It’s also how you live day to day. It’s your habits, practices, and beliefs. Never believe that you can’t make a difference, because you can. We all can, one small step at a time!