“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” -John Keating
15 Eco-Friendly Words
Have you ever heard that the way you speak has a direct impact on how you think? It’s the reason that many motivational and self-help gurus tell us to use positive affirmations. Stand in from of the mirror and tell yourself it’s going to be a wonderful day; you can do this!
If words can change your attitude, they can also change your actions. So why not start using eco-friendly words to develop an eco-friendly attitude and take action today?
Too often, we think that we are too small to impact the entire world or to make a difference. But that attitude will only lead to continued pollution and environmental damage.
Each and every one of us has the power to change our own actions. And those actions have ripple effects that cause bigger and bigger changes with each wave.
I tell myself every day that I can change the planet; I can save it through my words, choices, and actions. And I do! That’s the power of words.
Before you can begin using eco-friendly words, you’ve got to know the words and what they mean. There are literally thousands of words we could associate as being eco-friendly. I’ve narrowed it down to 15 powerful words to get you started, and I split them into three groups: The Basics, The Attitude, and The Solutions.
Table of Contents
The BasicsThese are some of the common terms you hear from the environmentalist crowds. Join the conversation confidently with this knowledge:
Carbon FootprintThe “carbon” in carbon footprint refers to carbon dioxide, a chemical compound that is released through many processes, such as burning wood or fuel, or processing materials like wood for paper.The “footprint” portion of the phrase refers to the size of the impact of a specific person, company, building, event etc. Imagine the footprint you leave behind in mud or snow, it’s an imprint left behind as you go.Much like tracking mud across a clean floor, we leave a trail of mess behind us when we use resources irresponsibly. There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint, here are some tips that you can follow completely for free.You’ll see related terms like “carbon savings,” or, “carbon neutral,” used to describe a positive impact against our carbon footprint.
Climate ChangeClimate change is what the scientific and environmentalist communities use to refer to the overall change in the Earth’s average temperature. The temperature is known to be rising much faster than expected. This is sometimes referred to as Global Warming, though that is somewhat of a misnomer as the effect of climate change can vary by region.Historically, it has taken literal eons for a temperature swing as big as the one we’ve seen over the last century. In recent history, the warmest period we’ve seen is from 1983 to 2012.The most notable impacts of climate change are increases in severe weather, this is because the surface temperature of the ocean has a major impact on the weather and things like tropical storms. And the Amazon Rainforest has a direct impact on weather in the Pacific Northwest.It might be more accurate to call it Global Storming instead of Global Warming.
BioBio is most often seen as a prefix on words such as biodegradable, biofuel, or bioplastics. It’s short for biological and essentially indicates a natural state or component.Bioplastics, for example, are produced from things like sugar cane or other plant materials instead of fossil fuels. Some examples of biofuels include corn-based ethanol or biodiesel, which can be made from fats produced by algae or vegetable oil.It should be noted that just because something has “bio” at the beginning, does not necessarily make it eco-friendly. Corn and soy-based ethanol, for example, use agricultural processes that may negate the overall carbon savings from using an eco-friendly fuel.
Eco is another oft used prefix. Eco-friendly, eco-conscious, ecological, ecosystem, eco-choice, and ecotourism are examples of where you might see “eco” used. Eco-warrior is one of my favorites, if for no other reason than that it’s quite melodramatic, just like me!
The meaning is to simply identify the base word as being good for the environment. Eco may be derived from ecological or perhaps ecosystem. If it is eco-friendly, it’s good for the ecosystem. it’s really just another way to say good for the planet.
When we’re thinking about the word “environmental” as an eco-friendly word, we mean the natural environment or the ecosystem. If you’re an environmentalist, you actively work to improve and save the natural environment.
Environmentally friendly is just a longer version of eco-friendly.
Green is a color, but it’s also a word we associate with the environment. We use phrases like, “green living,” or “going green,” to describe an eco-friendly lifestyle.
The word “green” paints a picture of a lush and healthy forest or grassland, a plentiful ecosystem, and a healthy planet. That’s why it’s so commonly associated with behaviors and products that are good for the planet.
The AttitudeThese words represent the attitude of an environmentalist. While the basic words will help you join the conversation, these words are what will drive your attitude and make you the next great eco-warrior…if you’re into that sort of thing.
EthicalWhen adopting an eco-friendly mindset, ethics should be a primary concern. Whether it’s the ethical treatment of animals, ethically sourced materials, or ethical treatment of workers, we have a responsibility to all living organisms.One way to think about an eco-friendly lifestyle is that it’s simply a measure of your ethics against a product, company, or activity. For example, many of us have ethical concerns about the mistreatment of animals, but we still eat mass-produced meat. This may be because you don’t see any unethical behavior of meat processors, it’s out of sight and out of mind.When you adopt an eco-friendly mindset, you must investigate and think about the ethics behind your choices. You must hold yourself accountable and make ethical decisions.
MindfulIf you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, you must always be mindful of your choices. Being mindful means that you are conscious of and aware of the consequences of your choices. Does eating that burger mean that an animal had to suffer? Does using a straw mean that more litter and pollution will be going to the oceans?Considering that straws and plastic lids from beverages make up nearly 13% of all plastic pollution, the answer is probably yes. If you are mindful of that consequence, you may choose to forego a straw or get a veggie burger instead of a beef hamburger, or maybe you’ll just use locally raised meat from a ranch that uses humane practices. Or maybe you’ll buy from eco-friendly shops, like EarthHero.
RespectBeing eco-friendly means respecting the Earth, the animals, and your fellow humans. Particularly, it means respecting that our resources are meant for everyone, not just for your personal convenience.If you use a non-renewable resource, that means it won’t be there for anyone else to use. Future generations will be left without key resources that we’ve been enjoying our whole lives. Animals will lose their homes as human consumption destroys their habitats.Respecting the rights of people and animals ultimately leads to an eco-friendly attitude.
StewardshipStewardship is, “The job of supervising or taking care of something.” Environmental Stewardship is our responsibility to care for our environment. Our responsibility to use it wisely and with respect. Not to pollute and waste for our own convenience or advantage. And to replenish what we have used.
The SolutionsNow it’s time for women words you can use to talk less about the problem and more about the solution. It’s good to know there’s a problem, but it’s far more important to focus on the solution!
The 5 RsI’m sure you’ve heard, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” before, but did you know there’s more to it than just those? These five words are key actions you should take if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.Make note of their order, start at the top, and use it as a decision tree. If you can’t refuse something, then try to reduce it, if you can’t, then try to reuse it, and so on.
- Refuse: Make a conscious choice to refuse items like plastic straws or bags.
- Reduce: Reduce your carbon footprint by reducing your consumption: drive less, buy less, use less.
- Reuse: Why buy new when the thing you already have will do? Make smart purchases for durable reusable items like reusable water bottles or shopping bags.
- Recycle: If you must use disposable items, or if your item has hit the end of its lifecycle, recycle it. You may need to seek out a recycling collection site for non-standard items like batteries.