What does it mean to be 'green' and how do I start?
Being green means different things to different people.
Looking from the outside in, it often looks too hard, too expensive or too time-consuming to start a shift to a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
There's a wealth of information around, and plenty of resources to help you get going, but even then, it can be hard to figure out what being green actually means - and it doesn't have to mean changing everything at once. We've put together a few tips around what being green means, and some small steps you can take to start your green journey.
What does being green mean?
There's no single answer to this, but for most people, being green means living an eco-friendly lifestyle and making environmentally friendly choices. For some people, that means living off the grid, growing their own food, making their own clothes and so on - for other people it means choosing to buy locally grown produce when they can.
How can I start living a greener life?
Start small. Any change you make has to be sensible and it has to be easy - otherwise you're less likely to stick to it.
Buy a reusable keep cup to take for your coffee in the morning instead of getting takeaway cups, or, even smaller, buy one less takeaway coffee a week.
Be more vigilant about what gets thrown in the household bin - check to see if things can be recycled before they get committed to the landfill wheelibin. Get other people in the house to check before they throw things away too.
Buy things that are recyclable or better yet, compostable, instead of their plastic counterparts. For example, you could switch the family toothbrushes out for compostable bamboo toothbrushes. A small change goes a long way.
Turn off the lights. If you're not using a room in the house, turn the lights off on the way out. Save money and reduce demand.
Take public transport once a month (or once a week) where you would normally take the car - it will cut down your overall emissions and will save you fuel and parking costs too.
Lastly, research. Pick one thing you use often and see what options are around for environmentally friendly replacements. Can you buy something locally (or from NZ) instead of ordering it from overseas for example? That will cut down the miles on your purchases, reducing your overall footprint.
Most importantly, remember that change is a series of small steps, not one giant leap. Make the changes that are most manageable for you, and remember that even one change does have an impact.