We all know that global warming is increasing at an alarming rate. Regardless of where you live in the world, things are changing and it isn’t good for any of us. Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and much more aggressive. Glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising.
But what can we do? Let’s take a look at 5 simple lifestyle changes that we can practice to make a positive impact on our environment.
Use Your Car Less
Car pollution is one of the major and most common causes of pollution to the environment. Cars emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that provide absolutely no benefit to our planet.
Most families and individuals have a car. And more often than not, those cars are driven on a daily basis. A great way to make an impact on the environment is to use your car less. You can practice using your car less often throughout your weekly routine by:
- Walking — Walk more often, especially during short distances. Walking will not only help your environment but it will also contribute to living a healthier lifestyle. Clearly, the pros of walking instead of driving speak for themselves.
- Work from home — If you’re able to, work from home. Working from home can decrease or completely eliminate the need for a daily commute. Even if you go into the office a few days a week and just work from home maybe once or twice, it makes a difference.
- Carpool — Make carpool arrangements with your coworkers who live nearby to immediately decrease car pollution. What’s the point of 3 people who live in the same area all driving to the same place in different vehicles?
- Get a bike — If you’re super interested in avoiding car usage but need to make journeys to places that are a little further away, consider getting a bike. Like walking, biking can also lead to a more active lifestyle, all while not producing an ounce of pollution.
Avoid Single-Use Items
Avoid single-use items at all costs, especially plastic. Single-use items are quite literally made to just become a waste. Even though single-use plastic items are made with one-time usage in mind, they stick around for a long time. Plastic can take over 400 years to break down. And even then, it still doesn’t fully decompose.
To put it frankly, from the production line to disposal, plastic is harmful to the environment. In the end, it’s just not necessary or worth it in any way to purchase single-use plastic. Instead of using single-use items, you can use:
- Reusable drinkware — BPA-free water bottles, glass travel mugs, etc.
- Stainless steel or bamboo straws and utensils — Always opt to use your own reusable stainless steel or bamboo straws and utensils while out and about.
- Reusable food containers — Food containers made from sustainable materials such as glass, stainless steel, or bamboo are great options for eating at home or on the go.
Shop at Sustainable Companies
Make an impact on the environment by shopping at sustainable companies that make an impact on your community. Sustainable companies are companies that practice ethical production methods, make environmentally-friendly choices, and more.
Companies that sell things like affordable furniture and give back to their communities using proceeds from their sales can be sustainable. Your money is going towards activist projects in your local area, such as beach and park cleanups. You can shop at companies like these worry-free. You’ll get all of the items you need while also doing your part for both your local and global community.
Compost as Much as Possible
Composting is the process of naturally recycling organic matter into a rich nutrient-filled fertilizer. Everything that grows will decompose eventually. However, when you compost you’re simply speeding the natural process of decomposing along. Some items that you can compost are:
- Wood chips
- Vegetable food scraps
- Newspapers or printer paper
- Wood shavings
- And, believe it or not, you can also safely compost meat, dairy, bones, and human waste
Compositing enhances the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi. The process of composting does this by breaking down organic matter to create a nutrient filled material called humus. If you have an at home garden, composting can be especially beneficial to you. Compositing naturally enriches soil, which in turn reduces the unnecessary need for harsh chemical fertilizers.
Shop and Eat Locally
The more items you eat and purchase from your neighbors and local shops, the better. Shopping locally will impact your environment by:
- Stimulating your local economy — More money stays within your community, which in turn provides more jobs and resources for locals.
- Greatly reducing your environmental impact — Local shops are easier to get to and more often than not, they will have what you’re looking for. If a local shop is nearby try taking a walk there to search for socks instead of ordering them online. In most cases, when we order items online, they travel quite the distance to get to us, burning through even more fossil fuels.
- You’ll get more attention — This point doesn’t have anything to do with an impact on the environment, but we think it’s still worth mentioning. When you shop locally, you’re usually going to have a much better customer service experience. People employed by local shops are probably your friends, neighbors, and family. It’s a great feeling to know that your hard earned money is going directly into the hands of your local community.
Eating locally will impact your environment by:
- Helping to maintain the environment — When you purchase local grown foods, you’re creating more of a need for them. In turn, this leads to farms and agriculture businesses actually having a job to do. As local farmers make more sales, they’ll earn more resources to maintain and cultivate their land.
- It’s healthier — It’s no secret that local food is much more likely to be nutrient filled and fresh. Imported food typically travels for a long time before it ever ends up on your grocery store shelf. When you grocery shop at farmers markets, you will notice a visible difference in the quality of food before ever taking a bite.
Whether it’s walking instead of driving, cutting out single-use plastic, or composting, your lifestyle change will make a difference. Never feel like your contribution to the environment will be too small. If each of us do just a little something every day, our planet can thrive.