Top five habits of eco-friendly people

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Top five habits of eco-friendly people
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We all have a role to play in combatting the climate crisis and making tweaks to our daily life is a good place to start. Not only can you reduce your carbon footprint but a sustainable lifestyle will reduce waste and promote healthier habits.

And if you’re looking for inspiration, why not take some tips from A-list environmental activists on their responsible and environmentally-conscious habits.

Drive an electric vehicle and reuse cups like Leonardo DiCaprio

One of the most visible, Hollywood environmentalists, Leonardo DiCaprio has not only funded documentaries on the climate crisis but has long advocated for environmentally-sound practices.

In the early 2000s, the actor made headlines for driving a Toyota Prius, a hybrid petrol/electric vehicle - even reportedly buying the same for family members and friends.

The 46-year-old later expanded his fleet to include electric vehicles (EVs) such as a $200,000 Tesla Roadster and hybrid Fisker Karma. DiCaprio is also often spotted on two wheels, cycling with his entourage on Citi Bikes near his Manhattan home.

EVs have a smaller carbon footprint than gas-powered cars, even when taking into account the electricity used for charging, the US Environmental Protection Agency reports.

And the actor is not shy of a sustainable investment either. The A-lister owns an island called Blackadore Caye in Belize where he’s building a luxury eco-resort where only reusable cups and containers will be allowed - though the development is years behind schedule after hitting multiple local roadblocks.

Reusable materials not only prevent waste from single-use products but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) that come from manufacturing items, and later sending them to landfills and incinerators.

The US only recycles about 32 per cent of waste, according to 2018 EPA data, though that is up from an estimated 6 per cent in 1960.

Use recycled insulation like Adrian Grenier

Grenier, who played a character modeled partly on Dicaprio’s real life in HBO drama Entourage, has adopted some of his fellow actor’s enthusiasm for sustainability.

The 45-year-old told People magazine last year that he used shredded jeans for insulation in his remodeled Brooklyn brownstone. Not only has he utilized recycled denim insulation but also “floorboards repurposed from the original wall beams, and cabinetry created only from wood that is certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)”.

“I think honoring the history is part of what sustainability is,” Grenier said. “We wanted to be able to bring some of that history and keep it and preserve it, but also update it.”

Sustainable insulation doesn’t have to come from your old dungarees, however. Materials such as wool and cork also require far less energy than fiberglass insulation and can help reduce emissions.

Burning fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil to heat homes and for electricity is the largest single source of global GHGs, according to the EPA, accounting for 25 per cent in 2010.

Adapting homes with recycled insulation, along with ground source and electric heat pumps, can help make a dent in that daunting figure.

Stay out of the skies like Greta Thunberg

The 18-year-old climate activist leads by example when it comes to travel, choosing transportation such as trains and boats over planes to keep her carbon footprint small.

Aviation accounted for 2.4 per cent of global CO2 emissions in 2018, according to the DC-based Environmental and Energy Study Institute, which added: “Consider that if global commercial aviation were a country in the national CO2 emissions standings, the industry would rank number six in the world between Japan and Germany.

“Non-CO2 effects, such as warming induced by aircraft contrails and other pollutants, bring the combined total contribution of commercial aviation to approximately 5 per cent of the world’s climate-warming problem.”

Thunberg has taken a high-profile stance against flying – and her example has prompted thousands of followers worldwide to give up on flights.

New efforts have sprung up in dozens of countries challenging people to swear off flying. In Thunberg’s native Sweden, for example, a group called We Stay on the Ground was formed in 2018 to recruit people to pledge to give up flying for a year.

“For most people, it’s know that others have made this decision. That’s really the most powerful way to make people change their minds,” said founder, Maja Rosen. Similar efforts in 61 countries have recruited more than 10,500 people.

Eat clean food and grow your own like Gisele and her Brady bunch

Gisele Bundchen and her NFL star husband, Tom Brady, reportedly have a zero-waste and plant-based lifestyle. The supermodel penned a detailed personal essay last year for Marie Claire magazine, explaining how the family buys food from local farmers to reduce packaging waste, composts scraps, grows their own vegetables and eats a mostly vegan diet.

Food production accounts for an estimated quarter of GHG emissions and, according to an Oxford University study, “reducing the intake of meat and other animal based products can make a valuable contribution to climate change mitigation”.

Like her ex-boyfriend DiCaprio, the Brazilian model also advocates reusable containers and wrote that she’d already seen the impact on her kids.

“I see them talking with their friends about it and showing them the water bottles in hopes they might join them and use them too,” she wrote.

“It makes me so proud to see them eager to share with their friends. Although a simple, small gesture, this is what it’s all about: Having positive conversations, taking a solutions-oriented approach, and learning from one another.”

Wear your advocacy on your sleeve and face like Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway and fellow A-listers

While Adrian Grenier might recycle jeans for insulation, it’s just as helpful to wear them. Anne Hathaway has made no secret of her commitment to vintage and recycled clothes whenever possible for sustainability – and Gwyneth Paltrow is an advocate of eco-friendly fashion, starting lines with famous friends such as designer Stella McCartney.

According to the United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, the industry is responsible for up to 8 per cent of the world’s GHGs and consumes 215 trillion liters of water each year. Textiles also account for approximately 9 per cent of annual microplastics entering the oceans which are consumed by fish, end up in the food chain and on our plates.

Swapping newly-bought threads for vintage designs can offset those worrying figures – and makeup choices can also be vegan and cruelty-free. Drew Barrymore, for example, started an affordable line called Flower Beauty, offering guilt-free, responsible facial beautification.

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