Going green has many advantages. By going green, you are helping to save the Earth, so hundreds of years from now, our great-grandchildren many times removed might be able to enjoy life in a clean and healthy environment.
Sadly, it has taken a global pandemic to make some people realize that they are unintentionally or selfishly ruining our planet. When stay-at-home orders went into effect, people used cars and other equipment less than they once did and burned fewer fossil fuels. People could actually see the difference.
When you live near a mountain that you should be able to clearly see but usually can’t, you’re witnessing the effects of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases from vehicles and businesses. These emissions not only affect air quality but also climate.
The problem is so bad that some scientists believe that environmental damage is unrepairable. But even if it’s unrepairable, we can improve the environment. This is a huge step and should encourage people to want to go green.
One agent of change is the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has been working tirelessly for decades to develop, implement, and educate Americans on sustainable living and greener living.
For example, the EPA promotes smart growth as a way to create and sustain an environmentally responsible living. Since a community that lives together and plays together is a community many people want, the EPA provides grants to help people develop communities and protect the environment. Components of smart growth include:
- Combined land uses
- Compact house and building designs
- Wide ranges of housing prospects
- Neighborhoods with destinations that are within walking distance
- Unique, appealing communities that offer a strong sense of belonging
- Preservation of historical and critical environmental areas and open spaces
- Development of communities that already exist instead of the creation of new ones
- Selection of green transportation choices
- Developmental decisions that are cost-effective, predictable, and fair
- Collaborations between community members and shareholders in all developmental decisions
Smart Green: School Environments
Children’s health is an especially important aspect of smart green living. The EPA works with schools to make sure children have clean indoor air and that buildings are free of asbestos, PCBs, radon, lead, mercury, and other harsh and harmful substances.
During the pandemic, we’ve seen how people take cleaning seriously. We clean not just to kill germs but to make sure there is no mold, mildew, and other substances that can cause ailments or make pre-existing conditions such as asthma even worse. The EPA promotes the use of all-natural cleaning supplies and following rigorous guidelines to ensure the safety of all students.
Furthermore, school buses and cars are not allowed to idle while waiting to pick up students. The agency encourages schools to replace buses with fuel-efficient vehicles that do not provide more pollution than necessary. The EPA provides grants to make sure that students are healthy and that their schools are clean.
Food and Water
In addition, going green provides other environmental benefits. Organic farming and free-range animals are a huge health benefit for everyone. No one wants to eat food that has been sprayed with pesticides or eat meat that has been injected with antibiotics and steroids because those chemicals can be passed on to humans when they eat.
While resources need to be clean and chemical-free, too often city, town, or village water sources are not. If people return from inpatient drug rehabilitation and flush their drugs (prescription or recreational) down the toilet, they might not know that those substances can pollute the water.
Going green and practicing sustainability help rainforests, oceans, animals, and plants by preventing the destruction of habitats. Our environment is not for humans, it also belongs to the animals.
On a related note, it’s important to practice green habits while traveling. Don’t litter and don’t toss garbage into oceans and lakes. Unfortunately, many animals die every year on the land and in the ocean because of people’s carelessness.
Instead, people can recycle. Forget plastic bags and switch to reusable bags and containers. These items may be pricier, but the environmental savings make them well worth it.
If you have items you no longer need, consider upcycling them. In other words, turn them into something useful.
You can combine two or more items and upcycle them into a useful item, such as placing an old clay flower pot into a rain boot to make a cute crafty planter. All you need is your old stuff and a little imagination.
If we don’t start changing our ways now, we will continue to destroy our planet. Small steps toward green, sustainable living are not difficult, especially if you have the desire to make positive changes.
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.
cbsnews.com – How the Pandemic Is Changing Air Pollution Levels
epa.gov – Greener Living
epa.gov – About Smart Growth
epa.gov – EPA Announces Grant Funding to Support Healthy School Environments
nist.gov – Five Benefits of Embracing Sustainability and Green Manufacturing