Climate change is undeniably one of the most pressing issues of our time, yet to most people, it's a problem that's so huge and distant that solving it should be left up to politicians and multi-billion dollar corporations. To others, it may seem like they simply have too much on their plate to care about.
The harsh truth is that climate change won't wait for us to resolve all our issues and band together. Each day, it chips off a little more from the future that those who will come after us deserve. Forget condemning the past inaction of the generations before us, because it's time that we step up and get others to do the same. In this article, you'll find seven easy things you could start doing today to make a difference, organized into why you should do it, how to do it, and where to learn more!
1. Avoid plastic
Why? It has been proven that plastic adversely affects marine animals and the flow of air in various bodies of water. The sheer amount of plastic used worldwide on a daily basis is what makes the problem so severe. National Geographic, Passport Ocean, and Global Citizen have shown that
“There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way.”
“There is an island of garbage twice the size of Texas inside the Pacific Ocean.”
“Nearly a million plastic beverage bottles are sold every minute.”
“The average time that a plastic bag is used for is twelve minutes.” This plastic bag could then take ten to a thousand years to decompose.
In accordance with this, if plastic bags existed in the sixteenth century, then one used by Europeans arriving at the shores of the Americas in the sixteenth century would up to this day only be halfway through its time!
How? There are many simple things we could all do to reduce plastic pollution. We can bring reusable water bottles wherever we go instead of purchasing new plastic cups or bottles. We can bring recycled tote bags when shopping instead of accepting single-use ones. We can avoid using disposable utensils or cups. If we use plastic, then we can recycle it! The list goes on, but keep the well-known three R’s in mind whenever dealing with plastic: reduce, reuse, and recycle!
Where can I learn more? If you want to learn more about what plastic does to the environment, then this is the place for you. If you want to learn about other simple ways you could reduce your plastic consumption, check this out!
2. Use less electricity
Why? To understand why we need to use less electricity, we have to go back to the basics of global warming. The production and use of electricity release a significant amount of carbon dioxide — almost 43% of global emissions, according to Planete Energies. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which forms a “blanket” around the world. This blanket allows the sun to do its job of heating the planet, then “traps” this heat on earth. This leads to global warming, which results in a rise in sea levels, disruption of basic ecological systems, and more extreme weather conditions harmful to plants, animals, and humans alike.
How? There are several ways you can reduce your electrical consumption. Cut off any time spent unnecessarily on electronics, or, at the very least, unplug gadgets or chargers that are not in use. Even chargers that aren’t connected to an electronic continue to consume small amounts of electricity that become significant when you take into consideration how billions of people are doing the same. Letting your hair air-dry whenever possible, lessening the time spent using an air conditioning unit, spending more time offscreen, and turning off lights are just some other ways you could help the planet out!
Where can I learn more? Seattle Pi is definitely what you need if you're looking for an amazing and simple explanation as to how electricity impacts the world around you.
3. Find alternatives to automobiles
Why? With millions of cars on the road at any given moment, air, noise, and natural resource pollution is created. See, according to Penn State, about 33% of air pollutants in the United States are created by automobiles. Oil leaks from cars contaminate water, while noise pollution disrupts various ecological cycles.
How? Whenever possible, instead of taking your own car, try walking, biking, carpooling, or commuting- basically anything that leaves even just one car off the road. When doing so, remember to stay safe and alert!
Where can I learn more? Check this out if you'd like a quick run-through of the different ways automobiles are harmful to nature and why you should care!
4. Lessen your water usage
Why? As we’ve all experienced at least once in our lives, there is a little greater pleasure than taking a long, hot shower after a long day or taking a big gulp of cold water after being exposed to the hot sun. However, according to National Geographic and HuffPost, “663 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water” and “less than 1% of the world’s water is fresh water and available for us to consume.” Using excessive amounts both takes water away from people and wildlife that need it to survive and rapidly depletes the little supply we all have.
How? To reduce the amount of fresh water you use, make sure that the tap is turned off when not needed, such as while rubbing soap on your hands or face or while brushing your teeth. Sacrifice private shower concerts and awards show in favor of a five-minute efficient shower. Only flush the toilet when necessary. The list goes on, but the key is that whenever you see water being wasted, do something about it!
Where can I learn more? If you want to learn about some ways you may be wasting water without even knowing it, check this out. If you want some facts about water in your daily life and how to make the best use of it, then pay this site a visit!
5. Eat wisely
Why? Most people are shocked that it takes about 2500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef in California. Raising livestock requires much more water than we realize, in addition to producing excessive waste that pollutes natural resources and being responsible for 90% of deforestation and 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. If the drastic environmental consequences and the ethical issues behind meat consumption aren’t enough, eating meat could also be bad for your health. Among many others, it increases your chances of heart disease and cancer and it makes it pretty hard to maintain your weight.
How? Consider replacing the meat in your diet with grain, fruits, and vegetables. Make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of meat you eat and avoid wasting at all costs. These may seem like simple steps, but they’re harder than they seem. However, remember that it’s worth it and that it’s for the best interests of your own body, others, and the environment!
Where can I learn more? The New Organic You is the place to be if you want to learn why meat is bad for your health, but PETA tells you why it's horrible for the environment. If you've been convinced and want to try lessening your meat consumption, then check this out for some tips on how to do so!
6. Watch what you wear
Why? When we think of clothing, we mostly think of fashion, trends, and color schemes. We rarely think about how the latest items are produced beyond the world of fashion design. However, these fast facts may be just what you need to get a quick overview of exactly how the fashion industry impacts the environment!
Most textile factories are known to dump toxic water into rivers, thus polluting the water with substances like lead and mercury.
Producing a single kilogram of cotton requires up to 20,000 liters of water.
Throwing out clothing made of non-biodegradable materials like polyester is equivalent to tossing out plastic, which, as we already know, takes years to decompose.
Laundry uses up to 34.74 thousand gallons of water annually in the United States.
How? You should definitely support the producers of clothes made of natural fibers in places with strict environmental laws! Prioritize the quality of the fabric and, instead of tossing clothes out, donate or reuse them.
Where can I learn more? Harper's Bazaar tells you all about how to dress not only fashionably, but sustainably, too. For a more environmentally-friendly closet, here are some awesome brands to check out, and here are some not-so-awesome brands you should avoid!
7. Volunteer and advocate!
Why? You’ll be amazed at the number of people who know little to nothing about the climate crisis. Without being educated about the issue and what they can do about it, they may go their whole lives harming nature without even knowing it. While some people may choose to be ignorant about the environment, lots of others simply did not receive the opportunity to learn. It’s your turn to use the privilege of your education to make a difference!
How? If you’re already doing all the things I’ve mentioned, that’s amazing! However, your job isn’t done just yet, because there’s always more you could do to help out. You could take raising awareness beyond reposting on your private social media and opt instead to direct a beach clean-up, volunteer for environmental advocacy groups, run an environmental club at your school, or contact a local official and urge them to take necessary steps to save the earth!
Where can I learn more? Are you so convinced that you're ready to become this generation's latest climate activist? This site provides amazing advice that would surely be useful to you, while this one gives you some little ways you could get started.
The amazing thing about all of these tips is that, if a significant number of people begin to live by them, it could make a huge difference in the world, yet for each of us individually, it takes nothing more than small changes or minor inconveniences in our daily routines! Our environment is worth fighting for, and it's time that we all started to prove it.