A lot has to change in this world in order for it to be worth living in for a while. We cannot hand over responsibility entirely to politicians and large corporations. On the contrary: if everyone starts to shape their own everyday life more consciously, we will achieve a lot and can get the big players to follow suit.
Superheroes in colorful costumes and with superpowers regularly saved the – admittedly fictional – world during our childhood. And even today the superheroes in cinemas and comics impress us with their deeds. However, when it comes to saving our real world, we wait in vain for the costumed childhood idols. We have to take action ourselves. “But what can I do as an individual?” Some might think. The answer to that: Quite a lot! Because each and every one of us has a very special superpower: the power of decision.
Every day we make countless decisions and each of them changes the world: first on a small scale, sometimes on a large scale – sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. At best for the better and unfortunately sometimes for the worse. We are not even aware of many decisions. We act out of habit and do not question whether we are influencing our environment. You can achieve a lot with little things: A purchase decision in the supermarket, a lunch without animal products, the switch to green electricity initially seem meaningless. However, when more and more people make conscious decisions regularly or even consistently, it becomes noticeable.
Even the big players, big brands and corporations, cannot ignore the growing awareness of consumers forever. Initial attempts at sustainability by these companies are viewed both critically and positively. For some, the commitment does not go far enough – others praise the development towards a greener corporate philosophy, even if it takes time. To be sure that your own purchase decision does not support dodgy businesses, you should choose products and offers from smaller, more transparent brands and companies.
Those who take the first steps today will be a little further on the way to an environmentally conscious way of life tomorrow. These 5 tips will help us!
Shopping consciously protects the environment
Regional and seasonal are the magic words that do a lot of good. Strawberries in February don’t have to be any more than mineral water from the other end of the world. Instead of blindly trusting what is on offer in the supermarket, we should take a little time and check the origin of the products. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, we should also consider what is currently growing in this country or what so-called storage varieties are. For example, some apple and potato varieties can be stored for several months and can therefore be offered over a longer period of time.
Instead of using products from major international brands, some of which have a questionable reputation, we can support companies and start-ups with sustainable aspirations with our purchase decision.
Established brands count as pioneers in the food sector, for example, when it comes to sustainability and organic products. There is now a sustainable alternative for almost every food – for example chocolate in organic quality or mineral water from the region. On the one hand, this has the advantage that there are no long transport routes. On the other hand, the use of mineral water springs and fountains is strictly regulated. So there are sometimes withdrawal regulations that specify how many liters can be withdrawn on site every day for each well and each source.
To make sure that the mineral water is really regional, you can, for example, orient yourself to the water heroes. This is a national umbrella brand to which several mineral water sources have merged. They fill mineral water in reusable glass bottles and supply the area around the respective spring. This keeps the transport routes as short as possible.
Save electricity and conserve resources
When it comes to electricity, environmental protection is money. Because those who use it sparingly pay less and also protect the environment. According to the WWF, one person produces around ten tons of CO₂ per year. In comparison, according to the WWF, this corresponds to about six times that of a person living in India. In order to change something in this balance sheet, even small things help that can be implemented without effort and without restrictions.
Those who want to go one step further choose green electricity. Most electricity providers as well as the municipal suppliers offer separate tariffs with green electricity. If that’s not enough, switch to a provider that only produces green electricity – for example, Polarstern, Greenpeace Energy or Naturenergy.
Investing money in an environmentally conscious way
Prevention is better than neglect – that is clear. But how do you invest the savings sensibly? Anyone who cares not only about their own profit, but also about the environment, should look into the offers of green banks. Some offer green accounts in addition to sustainable funds and ecological depots. Anyone who chooses such a bank can usually be sure that their own money does not flow into dodgy business.
Among other things, conventional banking institutions criticize the fact that customers’ money indirectly supports the arms trade, child labor and other abuses. If faster and high profit are the top priority, exploitation usually plays a role.
Less meat for a better climate
This is a point on the to-do list for a more sustainable, conscious life that many struggle with. It is well known that the consumption of meat and animal products has a negative impact on the climate. Above all, factory farming plays a major role, which is promoted not least by the high consumption of meat and animal products. Still, it seems difficult for many to consistently switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet. Those who feel the same may find the solution in compromise.
A first important step is to pay attention to the origin of the meat. Cheap meat from factory farming should by no means be supported by a purchase decision. Because as long as these companies earn money with cheap meat, they won’t change anything. Instead, the meat should come from an organic farm in the region. At best from a farm that you know yourself and thus know how the animals are kept there. Meat, sausage products and other animal products from species-appropriate husbandry and organic quality are of course not available at the low prices one is used to from supermarkets and discounters. But the higher price pays off through quality, taste and a greener conscience.
Of course, it would be best to switch completely to a vegan or at least a vegetarian diet. Those who cannot yet take this step for themselves, but want to change something in their own consumption, can first start with vegetarian or vegan meals on individual days. A radical change often seems impossible. A slow approach, small challenges with yourself or with friends help to optimize your own behavior step by step – and that is still better than giving up without doing anything.
Less rubbish for a natural environment
Garbage is a visible problem of our time – at least if you open your eyes and look beyond your own outskirts. Then you see mountains of garbage being brought abroad to outsource the garbage problem. Some of the garbage is properly sorted and processed. The rest is dumped, burned or otherwise disposed of illegally somewhere.
In the face of such images, a zero waste lifestyle is the best solution. But here too many find it difficult to make the change. However, those who gradually begin to avoid waste are already making a contribution and becoming more and more aware of the issue. Step by step, you can lead a life without polluting garbage.
Shopping in an unpackaged store helps reduce waste.
Where the zero waste life has not yet established itself sustainably, garbage should at least be carefully separated. Most municipalities work with the recycling bin for packaging waste of all kinds. It is important that the different materials in packaging are disposed of separately so that the waste disposal companies’ sorting machines recognize what it is.
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