6 effortless changes you can make for a healthier world

Help the environment, from your couch

Kaleigh Flynn
Jun 12 · 6 min read
Photo by Mert Guller on Unsplash

If you’ve been listening to the news at all lately, you’ve seen some truly terrifying reports of our civilization ending as we know it by 2050. The existential crisis can hit hard and leave us wondering what the average person can do.

There are some big and necessary changes that everyone can make to “go green”; Recycle and compost more, use less plastic, bike or bus to work, eat local. While I do agree that you should do these things, I know some of us need to get our feet wet before diving into a more eco-friendly life. Change can be daunting and you might not know where to start.

I’ve compiled an easy list of change you can make from your couch/phone/desk, in the next 10 minutes, to help the world out. Thanks for taking time to help the planet.

1. Switch your search engine to Ecosia

From https://info.ecosia.org/what

I am a Googler through and through. I probably Google 100+ things a day. But why not plant a tree every time you search something? Ecosia is a search engine that uses its profits to plant trees, “…in deforested areas where historically there have been trees — often in the shape of a forest, but that could also mean widespread savannah trees.” — Ecosia. So by switching your default search engine to Ecosia, you’re getting the search results you want and contributing to communities around the will that would be positively impacted by the replanting of these trees.

2. Stay focused with Forest

From Forest

Speaking of tree planting, here’s another app that makes the world greener on your behalf.

Have you ever tried to get work done only to be constantly distracted by notifications on your phone? Forest is an app that rewards the world when you focus. Simply set up a timer of how long you want to focus, put your phone down, and let the world get greener.

“Forest team partners with a real-tree-planting organization, Trees for the Future, to plant real trees on the earth. When our users spend virtual coins they earn in Forest on planting real trees, Forest team donates our partner and create orders of planting.” — Forest .

It’s a fun challenge too. You can watch a cute little sapling turn into a tree and get more work done. If you’re like me and you are triggered to reply as soon as you see that red notification bubble on any app, you’ll appreciate the control as well as the environmental effect of using Forest.

3. Shop on Amazon via Amazon Smile Login

From https://news.newmanu.edu/amazon-smile/

Like most people, you probably shop on Amazon. Did you know you can shop all Amazon products and donate to your favorite charity? Amazon Smile is the same experience as Amazon, but it allows you to pick a charity and donate .5% of every purchase you make to it, at no charge to you. You’ll know exactly which products are eligible because they are marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on the product detail pages. Easy!

They have a few spotlight charities you can donate to; Susan G. Komen, ASPCA, American Red Cross, Alzheimer’s Association, and my current selection, The Nature Conservancy, but there are thousands more if you have a preference. You can also see how much money you’ve contributed with each purchase. You won’t notice any difference, and you’ll be making a difference with each purchase.

4. Shop ethically with Good On You

from iTunes

Good On You is an app (the app is easier to use than the website) that rates clothing companies based on relevant data about how the companies treat their laborers, the environment, and animals, in making their clothing.

“[We] aggregate all the relevant public information available from certification schemes (Fair Trade, Global Organic Textile Standard, Cradle to Cradle and many more), from NGO investigations and from brands’ own statements.” - Good On You.

Plus they offer sales and discount codes on some of their favorite, Earth friendly brands. I’ve used it to get a better understanding of the brands I shop at, and have made several changes to my closet based on the data they have!

5. Open a bank account or invest with Aspiration

from Aspiration

This is much more of a commitment, but hear me out. Many banks out there are major contributors to fossil fuel projects, firearms, and political campaigns. “The four biggest global bankers of fossil fuels are all U.S. banks — JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, and Bank of America.” — ran.org.

Aspiration is a community, that works for its members not for Wall Street. You pay what you think is fair, and in return you can earn 2.00% APY.

“Aspiration donates 10% of every dollar our customers choose to pay us to charities helping struggling Americans build a better life.” — from Aspiration

As someone who has now been using their services for months, I am extremely happy. Not only do I get great APY, I also have had really good customer services experiences. It feels good to know my money is not working directly against my values.

6. Unplug

This requires no download or sign-up. In fact, it requires you closing this article down and heading outside. Unplugging, both literally and figuratively, is an easy way to reduce energy usage and feel good.

Unplugging electronics like chargers and blenders can greatly reduce your energy consumption and energy bill. The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that the average household can save $100-$200 per year by unplugging household appliances when not in use. So unplug that unused charger or light and let it take a break. Then follow up with your own break- by going outside.

Getting fresh air can strengthen the immune system, may help with depression and anxiety, and gives you a good dose of Vitamin D, according to the Harvard Health Letter.

So take a few minutes each day to enjoy that beautiful nature outside, and know that the small changes you’re making every day means you and the next generations can enjoy the beautiful outdoors for years to come.

Making small changes in our daily lives can have a huge impact on the world. If we all take action now, we can save our planet from the formidable forecast of 2050. I hope these first and easy steps lead to a whole new, conscious way of living that benefit us all. Good luck with your new green habits!

This post was not sponsored by any brands mentioned. If you have other easy ways to go green, please share in the comments! 🌱

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Kaleigh Flynn

Written by

UX designer constantly looking for inspiration. See what I'm up to at https://www.kaleighflynn.com/

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +528K people. Follow to join our community.

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