Environmentally conscious people often choose to follow an environmentally friendly lifestyle. This way of life is commonly called ecological life or sustainable life. Ecological life consists of reducing the carbon footprint or, more generally, having the least possible impact on the natural environment.
Green Living promotes an environmentally friendly lifestyle in three key areas: reducing physical waste, limiting energy consumption, and finding greener means of transportation. While all three domains are equally important to people who adopt the green lifestyle, the domains are not on an equal footing in the eyes of the public. For example, a massive shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources would be a daunting and costly task for any nation. Doing so would almost certainly meet with public resistance. Small, concrete steps, such as reducing physical waste in everyday life, are easier to digest, more viable, and therefore more attractive to the masses.
For example, in March 2002, the Irish government imposed a 15-cent tax on all plastic bags. In the 17-month period after the introduction of the tax, the use of plastic bags fell by 95% as consumers switched to reusable shopping bags. Since then, other nations have followed suit, and on January 1, 2010, Washington, DC became the first city in the United States to implement a similar policy.
Several companies have also been successful in implementing policy changes aimed at reducing physical waste with little public protest. For example, in 2008 Deer Park launched its Eco-Shape bottle which allegedly uses 30% less plastic than its competitors ’bottles. Meanwhile, video game makers Microsoft and Nintendo have introduced environmentally friendly gaming cases. Some critics see these policy changes as little more than marketing techniques, as there are more obvious ecological options, such as filling reusable bottles instead of buying bottled water.
A sustainable lifestyle is only part of a broader environmental movement. For example, the green way of life is closely linked to the Locavore way of life. The announcers only eat food grown within a radius of 100 km for economic and environmental reasons. Economically, local food supports farmers in the region. Eating locally is part of the green lifestyle, as products often travel hundreds or thousands of miles before they end up on supermarket shelves. Locally grown products do not require a large expenditure of fuel and therefore have a lower carbon footprint.