Where to start.
Read labels. Start with nutrition labels to make sure you are purchasing products that contain sustainably grown, healthy, natural ingredients.
Become an informed consumer. Read the labels on everything you purchase. Always look for products that are sustainably grown, but also, consider appliances that are energy efficient, and manufacturing that uses recycled materials.
Reduce your energy consumption. Purchase energy efficient appliances. Check this link ENERGY STAR in the United States. They offer products that meet energy efficiency requirements established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Air dry your washed cloths whenever possible.
Take a quicker shower. Taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country uses in an entire day.
Look for these logos when you shop.
Sustainable palm oil: Choose products that use sustainably grown ingredients by purchasing those with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) trademark. Download the RSPO’s shopping guide for a list of sustainably grown products.
Forest Stewardship Council. Certifies that the product was responsibly grown and harvested from sustainably managed lands. Look for it on wood and paper products at home improvement and office supply stores.
Rainforest Alliance Certified. Found on other responsibly produced food and beverage products.
Consume less meat protein: If one day a week you substitute a meat protein with a variety of other proteins you will save water. (Click here to link to a list of alternative proteins). The production of one burger requires about 1,850 gallons of water — the bulk of which is used to grow grain for cattle feed. If everyone in the United States ate just one more vegetarian meal a week for one year, more than 36,000 trillion gallons of water would be saved.
Don’t waste food. Think about what you want to eat and how hungry you really are before preparing your meal. Pay attention to portion sizes. Consume what your body needs to stay healthy and choose from a balanced food group. Click to be connected to eating healthy. Wasted food contributes to methane emissions as it decomposes in landfills. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that traps 33 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. More than 20% of all methane emissions come from landfills.
Wasted water. Wasted food also means wasted water. 25% of all fresh water consumed annually in the United States is associated with discarded food. ## In the U.S. alone, we waste about 30% of our food, which equals nearly 11 trillion gallons of irrigation water. Scientists estimate that we could reduce global water consumption by one-third if we eliminated food waste. According to the World Resources Institute, inside the roughly 1.3 billion tons of food lost or wasted every year worldwide is 45 trillion gallons of water.
Freeze your leftovers.
Compost. Composting is nature’s way of recycling.
Use reusable grocery bags when you shop.
Consume less electricity. TVs and computers still use energy when in standby mode. Turn them off when not in use.
Insulate your home.
Be Mindful of illegal wildlife products. Never purchase wild animal products including ivory, meat, skins and traditional medicines. Buy local hand made products when you travel. Ask questions before you purchase.
Volunteer. Wherever and whenever possible share your expertise to help implement sustainable development projects around the world. Here are a few accredited international volunteering organizations that combine travel with conservation:
Kariega Game Reserve
Red Ape Encounters
Raw Wildlife Encounters