Environmentally aware individuals often choose to follow an eco-friendly path in life. This lifestyle is commonly known as green living or sustainable living. Green living involves reducing one’s carbon footprint, or, more generally, making as small an impact on the natural environment as possible.
Green living promotes an eco-friendly lifestyle in three key areas: cutting down on physical waste, restricting energy consumption, and seeking greener means of transportation. While all three areas are of equal importance to people who embrace the green living lifestyle, the areas don't hold equal footing in the public eye. For instance, a mass transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources would be a daunting, expensive task for any nation. To do so would almost certainly meet with public resistance. Small, actionable steps – such as cutting down on physical waste in everyday life – are easier to digest, more viable, and thus have more mass appeal.
For example, in March 2002, the Irish government imposed a 15-cent tax on all plastic shopping bags. During the 17 month period following introduction of the tax, plastic bag use dropped by 95 percent as consumers switched to reusable shopping bags. Since then, other nations have followed their example, and on 1 January 2010, Washington, D.C. became the first city in the United States (US) to implement a similar policy.
Various corporations have also managed to implement policy changes geared toward reducing physical waste with little public outcry. For instance, in 2008, Deer Park® launched its Eco-Shape® Bottle which purportedly uses 30-percent less plastic than the bottles of its competitors. Meanwhile, video game manufacturers Microsoft® and Nintendo® have introduced eco-friendly game cases. Some critics consider such policy changes to be little more than marketing techniques, as there are more obvious eco-friendly options like refilling reusable bottles rather than buying bottled water.
Sustainable living is just one part of a larger environmental movement. For instance, the green living lifestyle ties in closely with the Locavore lifestyle. Locavores eat only food grown within a 100-mile radius for economic as well as environmental reasons. On the economic side, eating locally supports area farmers. Eating locally fits into the green living lifestyle since produce often travels hundreds or thousands of miles before ending up on a supermarket shelf. Locally-grown produce doesn’t require a great expenditure in fuel and thus has a smaller carbon footprint.