Regional and seasonal shopping
The most sustainable foods are those that are in season in your region. You do not need energy-intensive storage and transport. Products that are not available locally are best purchased from Fairtrade production. If you also pay attention to organic, you are doing something good for yourself and the environment. Organic farming preserves the soil, avoids genetic manipulation and is subject to strict regulations on the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
The trip to the weekly market on foot or by bike is also crucial: it is better to go to the market on foot or by bike than by car to the organic supermarket. And no matter where you shop, avoid packaging as far as possible.
Here you will find a seasonal calendar for fruit & vegetables.
Meat and fish
Less is more! A purely vegetable diet is not for everyone, of course. But who is eating meat, should be aware of that: The production requires vast amounts of resources, often with devastating consequences in terms of animal welfare and the destruction of nature. When you buy meat, never buy products from factory farming, but from organic farming in your region. Also for your health: organic meat and fish do not require large amounts of medication.
When buying fish, the following also has to be taken into account: many stocks are overfished or on the verge of being overfished, and common fishing methods damage the sensitive ecosystem. Therefore, you should rely on products from sustainable fishing. You can find a good shopping guide here.
Housing and living
In your own home you can do a lot to protect the environment. Here are four tips that always help:
You can save a lot of water by turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, soaping, washing dishes, etc. Shower instead of bathing, the shorter and less hot the better. A water flow limiter also helps you to use less water.
Avoid waste, separate and recycle – or try upcycling and give old objects a second life.
In the household, the following also applies: organic is better. Use cleaners, detergents, cosmetic products, etc. from organic production.
A particularly large amount of energy in the household is used for the indoor climate. Try to cool and heat your rooms as moderately as possible.
Further information you can find here: www.die-stromsparinitiative.de, www.energiesparen-im-haushalt.de or www.heizsparer.de
Anyone who is the owner of a property should consider an energy-efficient building renovation. For example, the replacement of outdated heat pumps is very effective. Also, the use of solar energy for river or warm water is ecologically and economically meaningful. The possibilities are numerous and many measures are state-subsidized. Who builds a new house, does this best in the passive or plus energy house standard.
Green power supplier
Switching to a green power provider takes just a few clicks and is an important step. In many cases, renewable energy is cheaper than electricity from fossil fuels. In addition, green electricity protects the climate and you from continuing to fuel global warming with your electricity consumption. When selecting a suitable provider, it is best to choose one that only offers renewable electricity. Many conventional electricity providers offer green electricity rates because they can attract customers, but in fact they have nothing to do with the production of renewable energy and continue to finance the combustion of fossil fuels. You can find a detailed green power comparison here.
Money is power – that’s why your money shouldn’t be in the wrong accounts. We have known what banks can do with their actions since the financial crisis at the latest. So switch to a bank that invests your money in projects for sustainable development. Since September 18, 2016, switching has never been easier, because you no longer have to worry about switching your orders yourself – your bank will take care of that. You can find a good comparison of sustainable banks here.
Anyone who invests money should think about the topic of divestment and take a close look at their investments. Many financial products are involved in business with fossil fuels, armaments, etc. and thus harm the environment and society.
Do not waste Food
On average, 82 kilos of food per person and year go straight from the refrigerator into the trash can, with more than 230 euros flying out the window. Make sure you throw away as little food as possible. Planned shopping and the use of leftovers are helpful. In addition, be aware of the best-before date – in most cases, products are still perfect and edible after it has expired. Just trust your eyes and your nose! And don’t confuse it with the use-by date, which quickly perishable products like ground meat carry: https://utopia.de/ratgeber/mindesthaltbarkeitsdatum-abgelaufen-lebensmittel-weiterhin-essbar/
Watch out for quality sea
Quality seals can help people find their way through the mass of different products and identify sustainable products. They provide information about manufacturing and production conditions that cannot be obtained from the product alone.
They exist for almost all product categories, such as food, textiles, wood and paper, electrical appliances, etc. But not all labels are good; in the flood of labels, there are also unhelpful and meaningless labels. The standards of the labels are what counts. A good orientation including background information can be found on www.siegelklarheit.de
Electronics and Lightning
Many electrical appliances consume electricity even though they are not running. It is therefore better to switch them off completely instead of switching them to standby and to disconnect chargers from the mains after charging. Replace old light bulbs with LEDs, which are long-lasting and energy-saving. And – banal but effective: When you leave the room, switch off the light. Old household appliances are evil power guzzlers. Check to what extent you can replace them with energy-efficient appliances. Consumer electronics such as cell phones and PCs, on the other hand, are often used for far too short a time – it doesn’t have to be a new device every year. This is a quick way to save a few kilowatt hours and euros.
You should also think about the environment when it comes to travel and mobility.
Use public transport, car sharing or the bicycle instead of the car. The number of electric vehicles on the market is growing all the time. For long-distance travel, you should prefer trains and buses to cars or planes. Minimize air travel and create a CO2 offset, e.g., via www.atmosfair.de or www.myclimate.org. Those who cannot do without the car should consider electric mobility.
Work and professional life
Not only the way we live is crucial, but also how we work. We can tell you from our own experience: It’s insanely fulfilling when you have the good feeling that you’re making a meaningful difference with your work. Does your employer live up to its social responsibility? Do his and your values coincide? Feel free to question – and if necessary, consider switching to a sustainable employer. Or you can implement your own green idea…
Social and political commitment
At first glance, this may not be everyone’s thing, but as we all know, you grow with your challenges. As a start, you could take part in an event, demonstrations, human chain or signature campaign. This is very inspiring; the atmosphere is infectious. Be critical: write letters to the editor, contact politicians, dare to say it if you don’t like something. Exchange ideas with friends, neighbors, colleagues, motivate each other. Help others do good by supporting environmental organizations and campaigns. And take advantage of join-in offers for volunteering in ecological projects, e.g., www.bergwaldprojekt.de