Go Green Week takes place next week from 8th-15th February. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of how easy it is to choose greener alternatives in order to help fight climate change. Many of the green options are small ones that are easy to incorporate into your everyday routine without it being a major culture shock. However, those who are willing to go green will also find that the changes they make can benefit their own health as well as the environment.

 

Reduce Carbon Emissions

Rethink the way you travel around in order to reduce the carbon emissions that are pumped into our atmosphere by cars and other vehicles. Walk or cycle to work where possible. If you do need to use transport, then opt for public transport and choose to walk to your nearest bus stop or train station instead. The extra exercise you will do when you go green is excellent for your health. You will notice your fitness levels improve, you may lose a few inches off your waistline and will reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol readings too!

 

Buy Locally Grown Produce

When we buy supermarket produce, we take little time to consider the journey that the food has been on before it arrives on our shelves. In reality, fruit and vegetables have been picked hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. They are then packed into trucks which emit large quantities of carbon into the air as they transport the food to our supermarkets.

If you choose to go green and buy only local produce, then you will be working towards cutting down carbon emissions. In terms of your health, locally grown fruit and veg can be picked when they are packed full of their peak supply of nutrients. Conversely, fruit and veg that have travelled thousands of miles are often picked in advance of being fully ripe, so they are often lacking in the quality and quantity of nutrients that they would normally provide. If you live in Richmond, pay a visit to the Reel Farmers market, held every Saturday, to find a wide selection of local produce.

 

Natural Sunlight

Try turning the lights off in your home to reduce your energy usage. Instead throw open your curtains and blinds and let the natural sunlight flood in. It’s better for your mental health and aids calcium and phosphorus absorption into your blood through the Vitamin D that sunlight provides.

 

Ditch The Plastics

Storing your food in plastic containers is neither good for your body, nor the environment. So ditch unhealthy plastic boxes, tin foil and cling film which allow chemicals to seep into your food and replace them with environmentally-friendly containers. Similarly, if you like to drink bottled water, then swap the plastics for filtered tap water which can then be stored in a glass bottle which is free of toxins.

 

Make Your Own Household Cleaners

Typical commercial household cleaning fluids are packed full of chemicals that are bad for the environment, as well as your skin and respiratory system. They can also be responsible for headaches caused by breathing in the harmful toxins that are present in these cleaning agents. To help the environment and give your body a break from processing all those chemicals, you could try making your own cleaning solutions using water, lemon juice and vinegar. You’ll also find this eases the pressure on your wallet too.

 

Go Vegetarian

The Union of Concerned Scientists lists meat-eating as the second largest environmental hazard facing the earth. This is because land is wasted by farming animals instead of crops. For instance, a cow must consume sixteen pounds of vegetation in order to produce one pound of meat. It is also estimated that more than half the water in America is used to raise animals for meat.

So do your bit for the environment by reducing the amount of meat that you consume. You could cut out meat altogether and become a full vegetarian. Alternatively, if that’s too much too quickly, you could choose to give up eating meat for just one day of the week and see how you go. By doing so, you’ll reduce the amount of saturated fat you consume and reap health benefits such as having lower cholesterol and reduce your chance of developing cancer, heart disease and stroke.

It’s never too late to go green and make small changes to the environment and your health. Start today by making a list of greener alternatives that you can stick to in 2016.