Most of us know to recycle, to unplug things when not in use, to change to eco-friendly light bulbs and personal care products. I know I’m a little blasé about some of that, since I’m blessed with a free recycling program in my city as well as a large yard to compost in and a budget that allows for a few extra dollars for these purchases, so I thought I’d make a list of things that are not only very important to do but can pretty much be done for free or for very cheaply that really do make a big impact.
- Refuse to vote for anyone who completely disregards your planet. The world is not a corporate toy used for maximum profit; it is an interconnected web of life that is home to millions of creatures and plants, of which only some are humans.
- Don’t buy overly-packaged stuff. This will usually save you money, too. Also when it comes to money—don’t give your dollars to places that intentionally harm the earth. Refuse to buy computers, cell phones, even chocolate from places that use child labor, destroy the land, chop down rainforests, or harm the planet in other ways.
- Buy locally when you can; find a farmer and get fresh food from him or her. Better yet, grow your own if you can. Even tiny kitchens and plots of land can yield some food. See about getting a neighborhood crop going to share. Buy seeds cheaply or simply use them from the food you eat.
- Make your own everything. With just a bit of vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda, you can make everything from household cleaners to personal care products. Find out how to make your own super cheap and super planet-friendly products here.
- Back to the plastic bag replacement thing—it really is important to stop using plastic whenever possible. Try purchasing one bag during each shopping trip. This may be only $1 depending on where you shop. Gradually accumulate your own collection of reusable bags and keep them handy for shopping wherever you go.
- Turn off your lights, take shorter showers, and generally cut back on your energy however you can. Carpool. Wear clothes longer (if they don’t smell, do you really need to wash them just yet?). Bike or walk whenever you can. All of these things will save you money, too.
- Share. Don’t buy things you don’t need; instead, share everything from books to garden tools to clothing. Swap, trade, donate, give, and receive.