By Danae Reid
As global warming becomes more and more of a concern, the world in general has begun working overtime to grow a “green” thumb. We’ve seen the effects of our frivolous behavior — the melting of icebergs, inconsistent weather patterns, geological alterations, animal extinction, etc. — and as of right now, the damage seems to be irreversible.
The decisions we make on what we eat, what we buy, what we support, and even how many children we decide to have have grave impacts on our environmental footprint. And while it seems that a single decision does not matter, multiply that by 7.53 billion others who may think the same way, and then think again.
We have created a massive hole, and if we don’t act quickly, we will be swallowed up in due time. While we have a long way to go, there are some ways that we can reduce unnecessary waste and limit our resources.
Realistically speaking, the entire world isn’t going to stop eating meat, or trade in their car for a pair of walking sneakers, but there are a few ways that we can make a huge impact by making small alterations to our everyday life.
1. Opt for the reusable products (metal straws, bags, cups, plates/silverware, etc.) as often as possible: According to Business Insider, the average American throws out approximately five pounds of trash per day, per person. This is an issue because much of our single use items end up in landfills.
You may be asking yourself, “Well why is this a problem? I didn’t litter!”, but the answer is simple; landfills are bad for our health and the environment. The destruction of litter and waste produces carbon dioxide and methane gas.Both are dangerous greenhouse gasses and contribute to climate change.
By using reusable products such as the ones listed above, you ultimately save money and you’re helping the ecosystem as well.
For more info, check out this website: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/burning-trash-bad-for-humans-and-global-warming/
2. Reduce the energy you use in the home: Unplugging your appliances/household items and being diligent with the resources you do have goes a long way. Here are some things you can do to conserve energy from your home.
• Turn the lights off when they’re not needed/when you leave the room.
• Unplug your appliances when they’re not in use.
• Opt to air dry your clothes, hair, etc. instead of using a dryer.
• Take shorter showers to conserve water.
• Never leave water unattended and running. Turn it off
• Try opening the window instead of turning on an air conditioner.
3. Ditch the plastic water bottle, get a filtration system: Drinking tap water is more cost effective, is healthy in most cases, and cuts down the use of plastic water bottles. According to The World Counts.com, 1.5 thousand water bottles are thrown in either landfills or the ocean every second. The average plastic water bottle is also harmful to our health as it’s made of particles known to cause cancer and other illnesses alike.
To learn more about the harmful effects that water bottles have on our health and the ecosystem, refer to this link: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/whats-the-problem-with-plastic-bottles/.
4. Resell/Donate Items: In addition to reselling or donating old or unused items, thrift shopping is a great way to be unique and stylish, and to save and make money. It’s also great for the planet as well! Circulating clothing/items rather than throwing them out reduces both waste and pollution. Through the sourcing of textiles, manufacturing, transportation, etc., the textile industry alone contributes to about 1/5 of the world’s pollution.
To learn more about how the textile industry is contributing to pollution, visit : https://www.nrdc.org/issues/encourage-textile-manufacturers-reduce-pollution .
5. Recycle: Recycling items helps reduce pollutants caused by waste, thus lessening the excess that will likely land in landfills or incinerators. By salvaging items that can be reused, we conserve energy, natural resources, and it makes the country self-sufficient because we’re better able to rely on our own resources and less on external ones.
To learn more about what to recycle, how to recycle, and more information on the benefits of it, visit:https://www.epa.gov/recycle/recycling-basics
While these are not all of the ways in which one can do their part in making this world a greener place to live, they are proven to work. I encourage everyone to try at least one new thing, even if it’s not listed.
What’s your favorite sustainable habit?