As another blizzard bears down on Amman, Jordan, I’m idling online before my internet connection dies, looking at Quora, my favorite go-to for unstructured IQ stimulation. Quora is a community-based website where users post questions-and-answers on a limitless range of topics. Subjects are aggregated, letting you see if anyone else shares your specific curiosity. If not, drop in your question and let the universe respond. The lead question to this story was posted by an anonymous Quora user, attracting stunningly simple answers.
Here are 12 straightforward steps towards more sustainable living. How many have you already adopted?
1. Stop drinking bottled water. Did you know it takes more water to manufacture the bottle then the bottle actually holds? Try a reusable travel cup, or drink from fountains.
2. Walk more and ride a bike (and always wear a helmet).
3. Wean off superfluous “modern”” conveniences. Keep the washing machine, but cut back on the automatic dryer.
4. Steer clear of single-use everything. That includes “disposable” cups, plates and utensils, zip-lock bags and over-packaged supermarket products. Drop a comment card in the stores you frequent asking management to find bio-degradable alternatives. And revisit the Green Prophet ‘plastic bag challenge’ – if only for the rap video (link here).
5. Change your light bulbs from incandescent to LED, which use about one tenth the amount of electricity while producing high-quality light that is indistinguishable from the old bulbs.
5. Become a vegetarian, even on a part-time basis. Halving the amount of meat you eat can save nearly a ton of CO2 over the course of a year, and have immediate impact on the world water crisis.
6. Say no to plastic coffee pods. While fairly new to our culture, the used pods could already encircle the earth eleven times.
7. Replace grass lawns with herb and food-producing gardens. You’ll cut water consumption and the need for toxic weed killers and pesticides. You can also get rid of your emission-spewing gas-powered lawn tools.
8. Become an educated consumer and stop buying products that cause destruction in their creation process. For example, products that contain palm oil (an ingredient in everything from processed food to cosmetics) link directly to rain forest destruction as large tracts are cleared to meet an increasing demand for palms. Look at your lipstick in terms of species extinction, then find an eco-friendly alternative.
9. Use green cleaning products, devoid of toxic chemicals – and do the same for your health and beauty goop. Check out our fuller story (here), which includes links to the Campaign for Safer Cosmetics and their inventory of carcinogenic-free products.
10. Engage people you know on the issue of climate change. Read, question, talk and challenge.
11. Support politicians and parties that champion a meaningful agenda of environmental remediation.
12. Revert to childhood and do what you were taught in kindergarten: reduce, reuse and recycle.
Quora was co-founded in 2009 by two former Facebook employees, Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever. The site registers about 30 million page hits per year (that info was gleaned from – what else? – a Quora query!).
Green Prophet invites you to add to our list, drop your tips into the comments section.
Image of an eco-warrior from Shutterstock