Eco vs. Ego: Giving Up Activities That Hurt the Environment

Reader Contribution by David Glenn
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It is funny that there is still a disconnect between those people who are “environmentalists” and those who do not think that protecting the environment is important. After all, if we want to keep living on this earth, and keep it the way it is, shouldn’t we all technically be environmentalists?

In recent years, there has been an increased awareness surrounding the need to reduce our carbon footprint, and many more people are now trying to do their part. However, there are still a lot of people who are stuck without knowing exactly what they can do to help. And even more who are struggling against their own desires, versus what is best for the planet. But setting aside your ego, and letting go of your luxuries does not have to be as dramatic as it sounds. Here are a few of the things that you can give up that are hurting the environment.

Driving to Work Every Day

Or simply driving everywhere for that matter. As a society, we have become overly reliant on our cars, and it is not only affecting the environment but also our general health. If you can share a ride with someone else, do it. If you can take public transport instead of driving, do it. If you can walk or cycle somewhere, definitely do it.

Overheating or Supercooling Your House

Far too many of us are overcompensating with our temperature control and we do not even realize that we are doing it. Have you ever glanced at your utility bill and been taken aback by just how high it is? By saving the environment, you could save yourself a lot of money and stress at the same time. All you have to do is to install a smart thermostat that allows you to program it to switch off when you are out of the house all day or sleeping. Some companies like Vivint or ADT allow you to program the utility controls to fit perfectly around your schedule.

Conventional Light Bulbs

You can save an astonishing amount of money by replacing your regular light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives. They do not have to be replaced nearly as often, and they use a fraction of the energy. Buy it for the environment; keep it for the cost benefits.

Exercise Machines

If you want to keep in shape, you might be tempted by the convenience of exercise machines. And while it is important to keep healthy, there are many other, cheaper and more eco-friendly ways to work out. If you cannot go for a walk or run outside — perhaps it is cold or dark — think about other activities you can do without this sort of equipment. Things like dancing, yoga, or even winter sports like skiing or snowboarding are all effective ways to keep in shape.

Fossil Fuels

So all the rest of this list is child’s play. It is easy to give up driving quite so much, or running on a treadmill, but if you really want to have an impact on the environment, you have to go to extremes. The best way to save energy is to generate your own. Solar power was once seen as clunky and expensive, but so many developments have improved the industry, it is now easy, cheap and efficient to install solar power in your home—if you can. Look into options for your property as soon as possible. You might not like how the panels look, but set aside your ego and you will be glad that you made the switch.

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