The word sustainability has become an internet epidemic, a buzz word. But for most of us (myself included) with SUVs and full-time jobs in a city, we may find it hard to apply environmental sustainability to our daily lives.
At Gensuite, we build cloud-based tools to help drive sustainability on a large scale, but on a small scale we aim for sustainability too. Many of us that work here have a green story to tell. It may be someone in Human Resources who gave up bottled water. It may be someone in marketing who bought a Prius. Or me, who just learned the basics of urban beekeeping.
With small changes, you can drive environmental sustainability too. Make changes at home, at work and everywhere in between – and take sustainability beyond the buzz word. Implement some of these tips below to help you create a more sustainable lifestyle.
Keeping Honeybees Alive
Beekeeping seems to be the trending green topic. However, you don’t have to keep bees to save them. Sometimes small changes make a big impact – and with ones geared toward saving bees, we could read less headlines about species of bees being protected under the Endangered Species Act.
- Plant plants. Bees prefer blue, purple or yellow flowers. Sunflowers or clover are great choices. You don’t have to limit yourself to flowers – think big and plant a flowering tree such as sourwood. You can even opt for multipurpose plants such as oregano to attract bees to your garden. Not only are plants a bonus for the bees, but for you too.
- Save a dandelion. With the chore of lawn mowing often comes weed whacking, pulling, maybe even However, bees love dandelions! Consider mowing around two or three and avoid using harsh chemicals to get rid of them.
- Eliminate pesticides. Pesticides are harmful for humans, which means they harm bees too. Look into organic options instead or other natural forms of pest control.
- Support your local farmers market by buying honey, honey sticks, bee pollen, bee’s wax, etc. You can even help on a larger scale by donating to causes such as The Sierra Club, who’s campaign donation helps to save honeybees and other endangered wildlife.
Not only do these tips help the bee population, but starting a pesticide-free garden with edible plants will be much better for you. All of this contributes to a healthier and more sustainable you.
Lower Your Carbon Footprint
You don’t have to have solar modules mounted on your roof to lower your carbon footprint. There are many effortless and affordable ways to make the transition to a greener, more sustainable lifestyle.
- Switch to renewable energy. Start using a renewable energy source, such as wind-powered electricity for the same cost as your current supplier. Making the switch is easy, and requires almost no effort on your end. Fill out a short form, and that’s it – it took me about 5 minutes. You won’t even need to switch your current provider – just your supplier. Green Mountain Energy is a great option.
- Ride in style. Walk, bike, carpool or select you next car more carefully. Opt for an electric car charged with clean energy, or one that gets better gas mileage. Even keeping your old car in good condition can help improve fuel efficiency.
- Stop junk. I mean this in two ways. Stop junk mail and junk food. Did you know junk mail accounts for more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than 2.8 million cars? And eating locally produced organic food will help reduce GHGs as well. An estimated 13% of GHG emissions result from the production and transport of food.
Whether your goal is to start a more sustainable lifestyle for ethical reasons or health reasons, you’ll find benefits from both. Offsetting the amount of anything you use in your daily life in an effort to counteract carbon pollution should empower you, which is your contribution to climate change.
Bees, Energy and Beyond – Sustainability Management
Sustainability at home and in-between is in your control, but how does environmental sustainability translate to the workplace? Take these tips to work with you by suggesting wind-powered electricity, or start a small rooftop garden with coworkers.
Measuring sustainable efforts like these at home are much simpler when it’s just you or your family, but on a large scale, the effort becomes harder. How does, or how can, your workplace reduce its carbon footprint and track sustainable operations?
- Custom Sustainability Reports. Report and track sustainability metrics to facilitate decision making and demonstrate progress toward goals and reduction targets.
- Eco Project Deck. Track resource conservation projects and activities to completion, replicate success and evaluate projects on overall sustainability footprint.
- Eco Treasure Hunt. Identify, quantify and compare efficiency across multiple evaluation criteria (e.g. energy savings, CO2 emission reduction, cost savings).
No matter your mission – to start sustainability on a personal level or on a large scale, to start a garden or ride a bike to work – you can have an impact. Implementing the right compliance software and taking small steps all help take sustainability beyond the buzz word.