With lockdowns being lifted slowly but surely, you might be able to go out a bit more, but you probably still want to stay at home. We told you about six ways to go greener on Earth Day, but there are even more things you can do to help make the world a better place.
Help the planet while you’re online
There are a few things you can do in your browser to go greener. Ecosia is a search engine that plants trees with the profits it generates from ad revenue. It doesn’t take that much effort to switch to Ecosia from other search engines, and there are extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari which make every search point to Ecosia.
If you use Chrome and will have to book travel in the future, you can also install the Click A Tree Tree-Planting Assistant. This extension works on many travel websites, such as Booking, Skyscanner, and HostelWorld, and when you book a trip on their website, the extension asks you if you want to plant a tree as well. While you don’t get as many trees as you would with Ecosia, this extension is great if you’re the person who ends up booking all the travel for the entire office or your entire family.
Take away more than you bring
A major rule of hiking and camping is always “Pack It In, Pack It Out” — where anything you bring into a location you take back out with you.
But you can do a little bit more. If you see anything along the way that shouldn’t be there, pick it up and take it with you to dispose of later. Obviously, do this within reason — you shouldn’t be trying to pick up a fly-tipped refrigerator if all you’re carrying is a small bag, but if you see a can, a crisp packet, or those bags of dog mess that people leave on bushes as if they’ve magically grown there, you can pick them up and dispose of them properly.
Source more local food
The mileage between the field and the shop is a major component of a lot of carbon imprint your food has on the world. It’s all well and good to tell everyone to eat more vegetables, but when those vegetables are flying over 10,000 kilometres, that’s a huge chunk of emissions with every bite, no matter how delicious those sugar-snap peas are.
Buy from local farms, closely read labels in the shops, and see how local you can get your food. And if you do find great local produce, freeze it for later in the year when you’re looking at nothing but root vegetables.
Check how much power you’re using around the house
It’s easy to forget to switch things off. Whether it’s a phone charger left in an extension lead, that one light that’s always easier to leave on, or leaving the TV on standby, there are probably a lot of electronics being used in your house that could be turned off to cut down your power usage. Walk around your house and see what could be turned off or changed to cut down on power, and then look into a smart meter for your entire house, or a power meter for a particular outlet. You’d be surprised how much power you’re actually using.
And, yes, it’s fine — you can become that old man who goes around complaining about the lights on. You have permission.
Keep your cat away from wildlife
I know this is a controversial one, and it actually breaks my heart a little too, but cats are responsible for a lot of wildlife deaths, and the fewer opportunities they have to prey on songbirds, small mammals, and amphibians, the more those animals can thrive and rewild your neighbourhood.
Keeping them indoors is the best option, especially during the fledging season, but if you can’t keep them indoors, consider putting a bell on their collar or supervising their outdoor visits. The RSPB has found that a properly fitted collar and bell reduced the number of birds being brought in by cats by around 40% — that’s a lot of birds flying around and not being cat toys!