Ecological or environmental wellness is a perception of the natural environment as an extension of your self. It is an awareness of the precarious state of the earth and the effects of our daily habits on the physical environment. It involves learning about and protecting oneself from hazards, as well as appreciating the limited resources that the environment provides. It is maintaining a way of life that maximizes harmony with the earth and minimizes harm to the environment.
- Sign up for paperless statements - Most utility, bank, credit card, and phone companies now offer this alternative to paper bills arriving in the mail. It uses much less paper and energy to produce and deliver.
- Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) when you shop - Cloth shopping bags are a cheap, strong, washable, and environmentally friendly alternative to taking paper or plastic bags from a store clerk.
- Support the recycling program at your workplace – If there isn’t one, you can start one. If there is one, you can make it better or more far reaching and see that employees are encouraged to participate.
- Use Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs instead of incandescent ones – CFLs last 10 times longer than regular bulbs, so you’ll save enough money on your electric bill to more than pay for the bulbs and you’ll fill up less landfills.
- Lower your thermostat temperature in winter and raise it in summer – In winter, set your thermostat to 68 degrees or less during the day (and wear a sweater) and 55 degrees or less at night (and add an extra blanket). Wear less or use a fan instead of air-conditioning on all but the hottest summer days. When you must use air-conditioning, set your thermostat to 78 degrees or more.
- Switch your home and office to 100% recycled paper - About 40% of all municipal solid waste in the USA is paper. With the average American worker using 1,000 sheets of paper each month, going with recycled will save plenty of trees and energy.
- Bottle your own water – Bottled water uses containers that have to be produced, shipped, and disposed of—resulting in wasted energy and pollution. Run tap water through a filter and fill your own reusable, metal bottle.
- Buy and eat organic – Organic farming helps ensure sustainable agriculture. It means dangerous pesticides and chemicals are not being introduced into the environment. And it’s healthier as it doesn’t introduce those same dangerous contaminants into your body.
- Use cloth napkins, handkerchiefs, and dishcloths (or sponges) instead of paper – Cloth napkins and handkerchiefs look nicer, save paper, and save energy. Sponges work better than paper towels—without as much waste and pollution.
- Stop requesting ATM receipts – Why destroy trees and add to the ATM tumbleweeds blowing around bank machines? Instead, check your balance on screen and write down that number and your withdrawal amount.
- Take a “stay-cation” or vacation closer to home – Reduce your carbon footprint by staying home for vacation. If you do travel, stay as close to home as possible and use public transportation to reach your destination.
- Have an annual energy audit done for your house, apartment, and business - Many utilities offer energy audits for free. If you rent, ask your landlord to have an audit done--and require it as a condition for any new lease.
- Become a vegetarian or vegan, or at least eat less meat – Meat is a big waster of water and energy--and generator of greenhouse gasses. It also exacerbates world hunger since animals eat plant protein that, if used directly, could feed 8 to 10 times as many people.
- Weatherize your house or apartment - If you can see daylight around a door or window frame, then your door or window is leaking air. Save energy by caulking or weather stripping those leaks.
- Participate in the recycling program in your community and at work – Whether this means correctly bagging paper, aluminum, glass, and plastic for curbside pickup or taking it to a community recycling center, it is an important way to reduce landfill stress, ground water contamination, and carbon emissions.
- Telecommute as often as possible – Working from home is fun, economical, and environmentally friendly. More and more businesses have come to accept the practice now that studies have shown it results in both happier and more productive employees.
- Walk, bike, use public transportation, or carpool – It’s a great way to save money, give the earth a break and be more sociable. Also, it can help you get to work faster in jurisdictions that offer carpool lanes.
- For extreme distances, go by train when possible - Trains are the greenest transportation, followed by buses, carpools, cars, and planes in that order. Whichever mode you choose, consider purchasing carbon offsets to balance the emissions you will create. They generate investment for alternative energy development and are the guilt-free way to go.
- Invest in reusable cups, plates, and utensils at work - Often the work place is the worst place when it comes to disposables. Ask your workmates to bring in extra or mismatched cups, plates, and silverware. They are also easily and inexpensively obtainable at yard sales, thrift shops, and flea markets.
- Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer – Laptops use about 80% less energy. Also, try to stay plugged in since energy is lost in the process of charging and recharging a battery. Note: laptops run at higher speeds when plugged in, so to further reduce your energy consumption, adjust the control panel’s power options to energy-saving mode.
- Unplug appliances when not in use - Your electronics—computer, TV, phone chargers—use energy even when they're turned off. Stand-by power can account for as much as 20% of home energy use. Save both energy and money by unplugging your devices, or put them on a power strip that you can turn off when your devices are not in use.
- Buy or Make Green Gifts – No need for an orgy of conspicuous consumption at each holiday or anniversary. Show your love for the planet by making your own gift from recycled materials or giving the most valuable gifts of all—your time and caring.
- Use Fair Trade Certified™ and organic coffee and tea at home and work - Besides fair wages, safe work conditions, cultural sensitivity and other benefits to workers, Fair Trade certification requires growers to meet guidelines for environmental responsibility and sustainability.
- Be politically active on environmental issues - Call your U.S. Senators and Congressperson at the Capitol Switchboard, toll free, at 1-800-828-0498 to express your opinion on environmental legislation. Tell them to “Vote Green.”
- Compost instead of disposing of organic materials – Keep a sealed compost container in your kitchen and haul the scraps regularly to a compost pile in your backyard or buy a worm composter for your kitchen. Composting helps reduce the amount of trash in landfills and creates excellent new fertilized soil for your planters or garden.
- Get a library card from your local library - Then borrow books, CDs and DVDs from there rather than buying them. It saves trees, reduces CO2 emissions and pollution, and saves you money, too.
- Grow a garden or a fruit tree– A garden is fun, provides exercise, teaches kids about nature, reduces your carbon footprint (since your food need not be shipped to you), and controls what pesticides or chemicals do or do not go into the food you eat. Not to mention how delicious and nutritious fresh-picked fruits and vegetables are!
- Clean Out Your Pantry
Rid your home of products containing trans fats and MSG. Trans fats offer no health benefits and clog your arteries. MSG is a neurotoxin that kills nerve cells