Let's be inspired, every day
According to a recent survey sponsored by Google of more than 3,000 Americans by using a type of AI called natural language processing, which is where they cluster and analyze thousands of opinions by theme to identify how people felt about environmental issues. The keyword for how we feel about sustainability is apparently "Frustrated". The biggest finding was that despite the vast majority of people saying that they wanted to make a difference as consumers, they expressed frustration when they couldn’t afford to change their habits.
Well, here at Ecohome, we've got good news for North Americans - we can find inspiration easily for sustainable homes & lifestyles here!
Good news is always welcome, but does it sell?
The first point to remember when thinking about the planet and how we can help her is that we can all afford to buy less, and waste less. There, I said it. Simply choosing to consume less in terms of the latest gadget, dress or shirt, hot water, processed foods, energy and 'stuff' in general, helps our planet every single day (as well as our wallets).
Now the problem is that those with the most money, corporations and their bosses, spend an obscene amount of money every year to influence the general population to think that they must spend money every day to survive, or at the very least to find JOY. This amounts to around 297.5 billion U.S. dollars per year.
Wake up people! All those 'must haves for 2023' that these corporations punt online and in the media are complete BS - all we need is clean water, some basic food and shelter to survive and if we throw in meaningful social interaction for fun; then we pretty much have it all for finding joy and losing the frustration!
Unfortunately, this commonsense approach to life is unpopular in the circles who rely on convincing us all otherwise, which is probably why a recent survey from the University of Chicago found that happiness among Americans had fallen to a five-decade low. Well, here at Ecohome, we decided to bring happiness and hope to Earth Day 2023, with our simple habits to live more sustainably list.
Even Oprah wants us to be Joyful
In an article on Oprah Daily entitled How to Find Joy Today - and Every Day, Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside is quoted as saying. "You can absolutely improve your happiness level - as long as you’re willing to put the effort into it, If you constantly remind yourself to do little things, like look at the bright side of life, eventually those habits will become engrained."
Even better: By adding more joy to our daily routine, we can also enhance our overall well-being. “Happiness has two components,” Lyubomirsky says. “The first is life satisfaction, which is that sense that your life is going well. The second is the experience of frequent positive emotions, which include pride, curiosity, enthusiasm, tranquility, and joy.”
We can all make a difference, easily and affordably, every day
This Earth Day, change a few habits and make a few better choices that cost nothing (or very little) and make a positive impact on the planet in the safety of our own homes and backyards. Here are a few habits to learn, or to pass on to our kids –
- Install low-flow showerheads – although the difference in showering experience is virtually undetectable, this produces a noticeable reduction in home energy bills at a time when most of us want to reduce spending.
- Set the washing machine to a cold wash – washing laundry with cold water is actually better in many aspects - including for saving money and reducing those all important bills, but does cold water wash as well? We did our own tests to find out. Spoiler alert - the answer is yes.
- Adopt the simple habits to save energy and money but stay comfortable - reducing the overall cost of housing by reducing energy consumption is an important part of the solution. We cannot completely eliminate our energy consumption, unless we live in a self-sufficient home specifically designed to meet all our energy needs. But in most homes in Canada or North America, it is possible to change our habits, to adopt small winning strategies and to do intelligent and economical home improvement work to significantly reduce our energy bills - Ecohome leads the way.
- Switch to LED light bulbs when old bulbs fail – this helps keep a home cooler in summer, it saves energy, and the latest LED bulbs on the market are affordable, long-lasting, and give off warm natural light.
- Learn how to grow vegetables in a shady corner of the garden that would otherwise probably sit there doing nothing useful. And for those in apartments and condos without yards, learn how to grow food at home in small spaces. It's probably a safe assumption to say that all of us have at least one window in our home where at least one small container with a seed in it could grow into something we could eat!
- Learn about composting kitchen waste at home - because that goes hand-in-hand with food production. The food waste that might previously have been on its way to a landfill has tremendous value and can be used to grow more food in our own homes and yards.
- Learn about the impact of diet on climate change – find out what foods are not only healthier for our body, but learn the different impacts that our food choices have on the environment (spoiler alert – vegetables consume far less natural resources than steak, so ‘meat-aterians’ should brace themselves for bad news, sorry!)
- Learn all about easy energy efficiency home upgrades - in our Building Guide pages learn about simple home improvements that save you money and energy while making homes more comfortable and more durable.
Reasons to be cheerful, part three - 1, 2, 3
Remember to be joyful and positive this Earth Day, and every day, despite any of the gloomy headlines. Each of us can make simple changes and improvements to how sustainably we live - and we can start by finding positivity and joy in taking control of the things we can change and influence, like the homes we live in and the lives we lead.
Now you know what simple and affordable choices we can make to live sustainably along with finding inspiration for beautiful and energy efficient home design year round.
Find more pages about sustainable construction and how to reduce emissions on the pages below and in the EcoHome Green Building Guide pages.
Find more about green home construction and reap the benefits of a free Ecohome Network membership here.