As we constantly hear news about the struggling state of our climate day in and day out, it can make one feel hopeless, feeling as if they have no way to put an end to the troubles facing our Earth. Thankfully, there are a myriad of opportunities for an individual to make a little difference in improving our environment, simply by finding small ways to live more sustainably through efforts that rarely require any extra time or energy whatsoever.
- If you aren’t recycling already, it’s never too late to start. By accessing the Earth911 Recycling Directory online, you can readily find what items your community accepts for recycling, and what services will pick up these items for you.
- Use reusable water bottles
- The manufacturing and transportation of plastic water bottles leads to significant fossil fuel emissions, and after being used, many are not even recyclable at all. Reusable water bottles are far more eco-friendly and quite easy to acquire, making this a simple way to help save the Earth.
- Avoid plastic straws
- Upon disposal, most plastic straws eventually just break into ever-smaller particles, releasing chemicals into the soil, air, and water that are harmful to all living life. Go straw-less whenever possible at restaurants/at home or use reusable straws to stop this cycle.
- Use reusable bags when shopping
- Stores around the world carry cheap reusable bags now more than ever, and these are easy alternatives to single-use plastic bags, which often end up in landfills and oceans, greatly negatively impacting wildlife.
- Reduce energy consumption
- When you use less energy, you can help reduce carbon emissions. At home, this can be as easy as switching off standby appliances, upgrading to LED lightbulbs, and turning down the heat.
- Reduce water usage
- Plants, animals and humans alike all require water to survive, and therefore, it’s imperative that we work to conserve it as often as possible. This can be accomplished by only running full loads of laundry and dishes, installing a low-flow showerhead, and fixing leaky faucets.
- Go paperless
- When possible, ask to receive letters and other important documents (such as assignments for students) over email, only printing them off if very necessary. The less paper you use, the more sustainable your life will be overall.
- Avoid food waste
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 94% of the food we discard ends up accumulating in landfills. To reduce this food waste, you can start planning meals in advance, saving leftovers, or merely learning how to properly store foods.
- Grow your own food
- Get that green thumb ready! While gardening certainly isn’t for everyone, it holds many personal and environmental benefits, and it’s one of the easiest ways to give back to the Earth while getting a little bonus in return. Start simple with vegetables such as lettuce, cucumbers, and carrots.
- Shop local and organic for food
- If gardening is a no-go, you can still prioritize shopping locally and organically for food, as you’ll be financially supporting organic farming, which reduces pollution, conserves water, reduces soil erosion, increases soil fertility, and uses less energy altogether than traditional farming.