With the ongoing global climate crisis, temperatures are rising and natural disasters are happening at a rapid pace. It is impossible for any individual to make a significant contribution to creating a better environment, but everyone can do little things to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Practicing simple, sustainable habits will help reduce our carbon footprint, and incorporating simple and environmentally friendly habits will make a total difference.
There are sustainable alternatives and environmentally conscious approaches for most activities and tasks. One example is the moving process, which can involve huge amounts of unnecessary packaging film, single-use cardboard, etc. Moving is stressful enough without worrying about the impact on the environment, considering the amount of junk that comes with moving boxes and packaging. To counteract excessive waste during this process, less tape should be used to seal moving boxes, and moving companies should consider renting reusable plastic containers rather than just using cardboard boxes. Additionally, one way to reduce the size without creating more waste is to simply donate items that are not used or needed to a local charity. Keeping excess “trash” and rubbish out of landfills by donating or giving things to friends and family is a great way to help protect our planet while helping others. Donating to local thrift stores and charities would also be a good place to start.
It is also important to focus on sustainability when gardening. Instead of constantly buying chemical fertilizers or using organic material to maintain your garden, consider composting. Composting reduces the amount of methane released into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming, and is a wonderful source of natural fertilizer. In contrast, organic matter in landfills does not decompose completely and releases harmful gases into the atmosphere. Choosing to compost at home will provide healthy nutrients to plant life while reducing methane emissions and reducing the amount of waste in local landfills. It’s a simple process that uses leftover vegetable scraps and coffee grounds!
Our diet is also closely linked to the well-being of our planet. Even for non-vegans or vegetarians, we can all do our part to reduce the harmful effects of animal husbandry by reducing our meat consumption. This can be done in small steps, for example by avoiding meat at least once a week or even during one of the daily meals. A “meatless Monday” can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in factory farming. The meat industry is damaging to the environment because animals need lots of land and water to thrive, which can cause serious problems like deforestation and damage to water catchment areas. By consuming less meat daily or even weekly, we can all do our part to reduce the total amount of meat consumed in the human food supply chain.
A reduced use of plastics can also define an environmentally conscious lifestyle. From grocery bags to disposable coffee mugs, plastic is a common non-biodegradable material used in packaging and more. Every plastic cup on earth gives off a small amount of carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere and contributes to global warming. Some plastics also contain harmful chemicals and toxins that can get into the soil, air, and waterways. Instead of using plastic bags when shopping or buying disposable plastic coffee mugs, consider using reusable bags and coffee mugs instead. This simple lifestyle change is easy to implement and a great way to begin a sustainable lifestyle without significantly changing your daily routine. It’s also an actionable way to reduce the amount of garbage produced in general while lowering your daily expenses.
Aside from these simple alternatives, there are many others that can be implemented to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Paying attention to energy usage can start with turning the lights off when not needed or setting the thermostat a little higher. Water can be saved by taking a shorter shower or just leaving appliances such as the dishwasher or washing machine running at full capacity. Instead of driving to the library or the café, cycling or walking can help reduce our carbon footprint. While these small actions and alternatives may seem insignificant, if more people practice them regularly, they could have a lasting effect.
While large corporations and the agribusiness are having the greatest impact on the worsening climate crisis, we all have a responsibility to be environmentally conscious. As more people start practicing sustainability in their daily lives, we can see positive results. Our world and the environment are finite, which is why it is so important to start fighting the threat of climate change now. Only then will we have a hopeful future for humanity, the environment and the animals that inhabit it with us.
Dirce Guerra is a writer for Porch.com. Contact the opinion bureau at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter @dailycalopinion.