Ten Ways You Can Actually Help the Environment
Often times, I feel pretty useless when it comes to saving the environment after watching a movie about dolphins dying and wastelands constantly building and destroying wildlife. But little things make a difference too! I’ve come to find that these ten small changes in your day-to-day life can have a huge impact on our environment.
You’ve heard this one before. Save the sea turtles, right? They’re right! Bloomberg News estimates that “on a global scale, straws would probably only account for 0.03 percent of total plastic waste by mass.” Almost 1% of this waste comes from straws, plastic silverware, and plastic plates. Even more of that plastic is from fishing. “Studies found that an estimated 46 percent of the debris in the ocean is abandoned fishing equipment,” according to the Huffington Post. Although, the effort to use reusable plastic for specifically food related things does help the effort to create less plastic waste. Things like using reusable containers, reusable water bottles, and avoiding plastic bags can make a big impact. To help the effort, some stores are going as far as to charge extra for plastic bags.
Using less water can also have a huge impact on the environment. In other words, you don’t need thirty minutes to shower. There is a limited supply of clean fresh water on Earth because of droughts. Shorter showers can also help you save money on your water bill.
We’ve been learning about recycling since primary school. In Atlanta, you can recycle everything from paper to cans to glass to metal and even electronics. This helps us contribute less waste to landfills. In the “sources” section at the bottom, I included links that will tell you what you can recycle in the county.
Thrifting, buying used, or selling gently used clothes is another easy change you can make. These help people to avoid throwing away so much fabric. You can see our last articles for tips for thrifting. It includes information on the best places to thrift.
Using less paper can also have a big impact on the environment. Using computers and technology helps this effort. The change in your life can be as small as emailing papers to your teacher as opposed to printing them out.
It’s insane how much CO2 is produced when we drive to work or school. There are so many other kinds of transportation that are more environmentally friendly. These include biking, carpooling, taking the bus, taking the train, walking, and so many others. Living in a big city like Atlanta, we have access to all of these alternative forms. Sometimes, not driving can get you to your destination faster than driving, especially with the traffic in Atlanta. Not only is this good for your health, it’s good for the Earth’s health as well.
Food waste has a major impact on our landfills. Do not let your food go to waste. Eat leftovers, composting what you don’t eat. Compost is super useful. You can use it in a garden, for feeding worms, and in addition, it serves as a great free soil and fertilizer. Try to avoid contributing more food waste to the landfills.
Electricity is an obvious one. Don’t forget to turn off fans, lights, your computer, etc when you aren’t actively using them. This is yet another one of the ways you can save money on bills. Energy is made from burning natural gases, fracking, and coal. Which is a huge impact on the earth. In addition, maybe people switch to using LED light which are also more energy efficient.
Books are another thing that are wasteful. There are a couple ways to avoid paying so much for them and wasting more paper than needed. You can buy books used, get them from a friend, or even from a library. At our school, we use the same books every year for summer reading. Save your money and get them from an upperclassman.
This one’s easy, and probably something you already do. A reminder doesn’t hurt anyone. Try to avoid littering and make sure to pick up after yourself. This can easily have a direct impact on wildlife surrounding us.
All in all, there are so many little changes you can make in your day-to-day life that can help lower our collective carbon footprint, save the sea turtles, and save the condition of the Earth we’ll leave to our kids. Some of these things may seem smaller than others, but even a small effect is an effect.