In a previous post, I listed five of the best things I think you can do in order to live a sustainable lifestyle. Now, here is the top five list.
#5: Leave the Plastic
Plastic probably has not shown us it’s true face yet. We think it’s convenient, useful for many things, and cheap. But plastic produces many concerns. It is already shown that a chemical used to make some plastics, and found in 93% of people tested, produces cancer, infertility, obesity and early puberty in numerous animal studies. Plastic is now being linked to childhood obesity and it is practically certain now that it can cause breast cancer in women. Additionally, plastic may cause autism — a serious problem that has sky-rocketed in recent decades. PVC plastic has many demonstrated, non-debatable problems. “PVC contains phthalates, softeners needed to make the plastic bend, and they have been found to interfere with hormonal development. The production of and burning of PVC plastic releases dioxin, a known carcinogen, into the atmosphere.”
Plastic is the most common type of ocean litter, harming countless sea animals as well. Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, wants plastic bags banned completely. For more on plastic ocean litter, read the haunting article “Plastic Oceans”.
Join IKEA and others — cut plastic out of your life. For a list of “safe” plastics and help getting started, read “What Plastics Do to Your Body”.
#4: 1 Call or Email a Day
Living in a democracy, I think it is paramount that there is substantial citizen involvement. As mentioned in tip #10, we should be informed, but beyond that we should also be at least a little involved in our democracy. It takes 30 seconds to a couple minutes to send an email or make a call to your representatives to let them know what is important to you. There are several websites that can help you voice your opinion. You can find all kinds of petition topics at the Petition Site. You can even start your own petition on this site. You can also check our sister site, Planetsave, for news on environmental activism and activism opportunities.
#3: Drop it Before You Shop, Don’t Shop Till’ You Drop
Consumerism beyond our needs or overconsumption is one of the leading causes of many environmental problems in the world today. Why do we shop so much more than we need? Why do we consume, consume and consume. Perhaps, it is because we have not found any peace within ourselves. For more on this topic, read “Personal Happiness and the Environment: A Sustainability Connection” or “Personal Happiness and the Economy: A Sustainability Link” or “Personal Sustainability: The Path to Worldwide Environmental Sustainability”. Next time you have a big urge to shop, remember tips #9 and #7, and maybe #10, and see if that doesn’t help.
#2: Cut off the Car
This might have been #1. Transportation is the second leading contributor to greenhouse gases in the country.
You can save a lot of money by driving less (or not at all), as approximately 30%, the largest percentage, of a working family’s budget in the US goes to transportation. It is several times more relaxing to walk, bike, or use public transit instead of driving. It is healthier. And it is one of the best things you can do to live a more sustainable life. Cut off the car, in whatever way you can.
#1: Eat Fruits and Veggies
As we’ve discovered, livestock production is a bigger cause of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide than transportation! The American Dietetic Association (ADA) used to say that a vegetarian diet was a safe diet to live on. Now, the ADA recommends it due to the fact that it is shown to decrease the risk of major health problems and premature death — cancer, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. As Einstein stated: “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” Take a chance — try out the vegetarian diet, and see how it changes your life. For help on how to live vegetarian (or even vegan), keep an eye on Eat.Drink.Better. (especially their post on foods that prevent cancer) and hundreds of other resources on the internet.
Interestingly, those last two tips are basically the leading two tips health experts are giving for addressing the obesity crisis in the United States. There is a clear relationship between the way we are dirtying the planet and the way we are fattening ourselves. Live clean, live green and live healthy.
Image credits: victoriapeckham via flickr under a Creative Commons license ; beautifulcataya via flickr under a Creative Commons license
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