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The beauty of the Caribbean is second to none — which is part of why ensuring it's here for future generations is important. Finding ways to preserve the Caribbean's natural resources through greener, more sustainable living can help balance environmental impacts.

The Caribbean islands are prized with an abundance of nature’s treasures concentrated within its small land masses. Its rich biodiversity includes rivers, mangroves, waterfalls and beaches — all reasons contributing to the sensorial experience that has made the entire region the haven it is today. Both visitors and locals seek to refresh and renew their sense of self in its air and water.

However, it’s important to be mindful of protecting and preserving this tropical paradise in a sustainable way has become increasingly important.

Here are 8 easy ways you can adopt a greener lifestyle in the Caribbean:

1. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Recycling hasn’t advanced in the Caribbean as far as it has in other countries; however, the concept and practice have come a long way. With a greater understanding of waste and the negative environmental impact it has, many islands have implemented separate bins for collecting glass and plastics that are filled quite regularly. Additionally, getting the most usage out of an item a few times before its disposal (such as bottles for water) is one way to reduce your waste footprint. A minimalistic approach also adopted is to stop buying plastic products altogether. Consider adopting reusable shopping bags when you go to the grocery store. Whichever you choose is entirely up to you. The main takeaway is that this immediate change can happen overnight and making it a family practice goes a long way.

2. Save water

By using less water you can help to make sure there is enough for us and the environment, while also saving some money on your bills. You can save water in and around your home by making a number of small changes. Installing a rainwater tank or collecting device and making use of this for watering plants or flushing toilets is a smart way to avoid wasting clean drinking water.

3. Go paperless

Avoid wasting paper means saving trees elsewhere. Send email invitations and letters, and print off documents only when necessary. Ask shops to email receipts.

4. Save energy

The way most energy is produced today contributes to carbon emissions and air pollutants in varying degrees. Using energy more efficiently may not only lower pollutants but also reduce your energy bills. There are a number of ways you can save energy at home, including installing energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs and turning off or unplugging appliances that use standby power — like a computer in sleep mode.

5. Don’t waste food

Food waste that ends up in landfills can contribute to the amount of methane released into the atmosphere. Freezing, preserving or donating edible food can all help prevent them from ending up in landfills. Composting leftover food can also be an efficient way to feed your garden.

6. Drive less

If your island is one where bike lanes exist and it’s safe to walk, these are both great ways of conserving fuel and doing your part to reduce emissions – it’s better for the environment and your health. Using public transport or carpooling is another good way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save on increased gas prices.

7. Grow your own produce

By growing your own fruit and vegetables, you can impress friends and not contribute to the fuel consumption needed to transport produce to supermarkets. You can also choose organic gardening methods to avoid adding pesticides and herbicides to the local environment.

8. Participate in a beach clean-up

There are environmental organizations in your community that regularly organize beach clean-ups — sadly often collecting numerous bags of garbage. Consider volunteering in your community to help pick up beach garbage. You can also set an example among your friends and family by not littering.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.