You might think that you are living a sustainable lifestyle and that you know how to reduce your carbon footprint. But you would be surprised to learn about how many different ways we are damaging our planet every day.

Our planet Earth – it’s the only planet that scientists have found so far in the universe that supports life. When you consider all the other planets in the solar system, you will notice that they are either too cold, too hot, or do not have all the favorable conditions to support life, such as availability of water in its liquid state or do not have enough oxygen in the atmosphere.

Do you ever think about how we are damaging our planet every day? You may be thinking you are already doing things that reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impacts, such as using eco-friendly products, riding your bike to work, carpooling and so on. Even though these things reduce carbon footprints, there are still things that we do on a regular basis that can damage our environment. Below is a list of 5 things that may negatively impact the globe.

“The truth is everything we do over the course of our day has a hidden environmental impact” –

1. Using disposable lunch items

garbage-can-261935_1280-300x200Carrying disposable lunch items such as disposable plastic containers, plastic wrappers, spoons, plastic water bottles, chopsticks, tissue paper, packaging materials, brown bags, and so on can add to the negative impacts on the globe. Plastic is not biodegradable, and can fill up the landfill space fast. Also all the packaging materials and wooden chopsticks can be bad because trees are being cut down to make these items, contributing to deforestation. A shift from using disposable goods to reusable goods can help reduce environmental impacts significantly.

Try to pack your lunch from home. Use items made from recycled paper for napkins and packaging, and reuse your water bottle or use metal reusable bottles. It would reduce a significant amount of pollution and be environmentally friendly, not to mention all the money you would save by recycling and reusing.

2. Buying canned & processed food

Store bought canned, processed, and imported food has become widely accepted as a part of our modern lifestyle. Very few of us ever think about the environmental and health effects of buying processed and canned food. Buying cheap food can often end up costing us much more.

“When you eat unhealthy foods like these, the costs of medical visits, co-pays, prescription medications, and other health services skyrocket.” – Mark Hyman, MD

Buying canned and packaged food might seem convenient or cheaper, but think about all the packaging materials wasted and all the energy wasted for processing these products. Excess packaging is always bad for the environment because it ends up in the landfill.

Apart from the health benefits, buying locally grown and produced food can help reduce carbon dioxide emission associated with transportation, storing, packaging and processing of these foods. Buying locally grown food also helps your local farmers and local economy to grow.

3. Leaving your electronic devices on

programming-593312_1280-300x200Your home is full of devices that are never turned off. You have your mobile phones, computers, your heating and cooling systems, your refrigerator and freezers, water heater, and many other similar devices working 24/7. Some of them need to stay on but do you need your mobile phone and computer to stay on 24 hours a day? Keeping your devices plugged in also draws energy even when the are in sleep mode.

You might think when your computer is in sleep mode it is saving energy. However, your electronic devices can still draw power if they are in sleep mode. If you turn off your computer, as well as turn off the power switch, you could be saving a significant amount of energy. When you consider thousands of people turning off their power switch over a long period of time, it would really save a significant amount of energy.  It doesn’t make sense leaving your mobile phone and your computer on all night when you are sleeping. Just remember to turn them back on in the morning.

“A typical American home has forty products constantly drawing power,”Standby Power

4. Not making homes energy efficient

Before the summer arrives its the time to make your home more energy efficient. Investing in new and efficient products can go a long way in lowering your energy bills. Leak proof and insulate your house, install doors and windows that are energy efficient and replace your old appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and heating system with new energy efficient ones.

Servicing your heating and cooling systems, replacing filters and cleaning your ventilation and air ducts can also increase heating and cooling efficiency of your home. Replacing your old thermostat with a smart programmable one could also be a smart move towards energy efficiency.

5. Not growing plants

basil-320736_1280-300x198The trees around us are extremely important for improving our environment and health. Trees help us throughout their lives and also after they are harvested. They filter out the air, supply us with fresh oxygen and also provide us with everything we need from food, medicine, clothing and shelter.

There are also other benefits of planting trees that are not so apparent, such as controlling noise pollution, reducing soil erosion, and controlling water runoff.  They also improve the soil quality, act as wind breaks, and shade land to keep our environment cool.

Try to plant trees or any type of plants wherever and whenever possible, indoors or outdoors. You can easily grow some herbs indoors to improve indoor air quality, or grow a kitchen garden for fresh herbs and vegetables. Plants are essential for life, health and environment.

We are constantly using products that damage our environment, knowingly or without our knowledge. By using eco-friendly, locally grown and energy efficient products, we can significantly reduce our impacts on the globe. It just needs a slight change in our living habits and a little bit of awareness to make environmentally friendly choices and to reduce our impact on the globe. If we all do our share, just imagine what we can do together in the long run.

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Source: Environmental Professionals Network

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