According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, “any form of immersion in the natural world, outside of your internal world, heightens your overall well-being as well as more positive engagement with the larger human community.”1,2 Results of the study indicate that being outside in nature, even for just a few minutes, and mindfully appreciating some aspect of the natural world, like a tree, a flower, or the clouds, can increase your general happiness and well-being. Here are five easy steps you can take to help keep the natural world clean and uncluttered:3,4
1. Replace conventional bulbs in the most frequently used light fixtures with bulbs that have the Energy Star label. If every household in the United States took this one simple action, we would cut more than a trillion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Avoid single-use plastic products, such as those plastic coffee pods or water bottles, whenever possible. Invest in a reusable metal or plastic coffee pod that you fill with coffee yourself. Get a reusable metal or plastic water bottle you fill with water yourself (many reusable water bottles even have built-in filters). Doing these two things will save you money and significantly reduce the nonbiodegradable waste you produce.
3. Use a push mower. Unlike a gas or electric mower, manual mowers are powered by your muscles, not gas, so they don’t emit greenhouse gases. If you do use a power mower, try composting your grass clippings.
4. Turn that water off! Municipal water systems require a lot of energy to purify and distribute water to households, so being prudent with your water, especially hot water, can lower greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t let the water run while shaving or brushing your teeth; don’t use your toilet as a wastebasket for toiletry items; and repair all toilet and faucet leaks quickly. One leaky toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water per day.
5. Check your tire pressure regularly.
Under-inflation increases tire wear, which reduces your fuel economy by up to three percent and leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions and releases of air pollutants.
1, LaBier D. Why connecting with nature elevates your mental health. Psychology Today site. 8 Jan 2018. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-new- resilience/201801/why-connecting-nature-elevates-your- mental-health. Accessed 17 Jan 2019.
2. Wellborn P. Science confirms you should stop and smell the roses.TheUniversityofBritishColumbiasite. 2Nov2017. https://news.ok.ubc.ca/2017/11/02/science-confirms- you-should-stop-and-smell-the-roses/. Accessed 17 Jan 2019.
3. Easy steps to protect the earth. Farmers’Almanac site. 16 Apr 2012. https://www.farmersalmanac.com/easy-steps- to-protect-the-earth-15344. Accessed 17 Jan 2019.
4. US Environmental Protection Agency site. Greener Living.