Never ending hype around global warming has its reasons. Year after year our planet is becoming more and more polluted. Over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals are killed by pollution every year. Government is taking steps towards reducing emissions and waste which just does not seem to be effective enough. If we do not want to destroy our planet completely everyone needs to participate on our way to brighter future, else our children will never be able to see a polar bear or touch snow. What little steps can we take to help fight a global disaster? In this article I will focus on a famous 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) but I will also give you some simple ideas you can try and help our planet become “greener“. Here are 8 simple things you can do to protect our planet first of which is to recycle.
What is the point of recycling almost everyone knows already. People use the word daily but why is it so important? Recycling is a process of creating new items from old and used materials. This helps in reducing energy and potentially useful materials from being wasted. If we recycled all newspapers, we could save over 250 million trees each and every year. In today’s world the word recycling has a whole new meaning than it used to have before. People brought recycling to a new level by creating lots of interesting ways you can reuse old materials. Wallets made of old leather sofas, bags made of cork or bamboo plates are all inventions of people trying to amaze the world with how creative one can be while recycling. Do not let anyone set the limits for you and feel free to be creative with recycling in your own way!
How recycling works?
2. Think again about using paper bags
A classical image of a „green“, ecological bag which is advertised by big supermarket chains as a go-to option. Not many people know that producing paper bags requires enormous amount of electric energy. A study from 2011 said “it takes more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a plastic bag.” What’s more, you can only recycle the same paper bag 6 times. It is true that plastic bags make a big harm to our nature when not in the right hands. Even though plastic material is probably less recyclable it is more durable, so it is possible to reuse it. But probably the most durable and ecological option would be to use a cotton bag. So, next time you go to a supermarket, make our planet and your wallet a favour and bring a stylish cotton tote bag with you.
3. Think about what you buy
Choosing local products over imported ones may not seem like a way to fight climate change, but picking food produced in your region means it does not have to travel that far which means less air pollution. Deciding to eat less junk food is one of the best options you can go for when it comes to our climate and your health. Beef meat in hamburgers or in general is one of the biggest polluters many people do not know of. Cow is named as a world’s top destroyer of the environment because of the amount of CO2 produced during its life. Livestock are responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together. It is not necessary to become a vegan or vegetarian, but even reducing your meat intake would help tremendously. Just bear in mind there is no need to eat meat every single day. Even experts say it is not healthy to have meat, especially beef more than five times a week. However, if you cannot imagine reducing your protein intake by eating less meet try to substitute beef with chicken. We are omnivores in the end and we should not forget to include lots of veggies and fruit in our balanced diet.
4. Transportation is another hot topic
When traveling to work try to make your daily commute more effective. Why travel alone? Buddy up with your colleagues or friends who work at a same location as you. Driving during busy morning hours when traffic is heavy can be a very stressful
experience. Make it more enjoyable by having someone to share your ride with! It will help not only our environment but your nerves as well. Or you can opt for riding a bicycle and make a use out of those cycle lanes in your city. This is a great way to exercise and keep yourself in a good condition, not mentioning loads of other benefits such as increased creativity or no wasted time in traffic jams. In some cities you can even help to produce electricity by riding a shared bike.
5. Buy second-hand clothes
Fabric industry is another big polluter of our environment. 20% of all fresh water pollution is made by textile treatment and dyeing. There are many second-hand shops to choose from warrying in price range and style. Some of second-hand shops offer clothes in a great condition or barely even worn. What is more these pieces are original so you can create your own style, but most importantly you would reuse material, produce less waste and make our planet cleaner.
Why is second hand shopping sustainable?
6. Consider changing your smoking habits
Cigarettes are made from tobacco leaves that absorbed carbon from the atmosphere as they grew. When you smoke you are creating carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals again. The cigarette butts also litter the environment and the toxic chemicals in the remains seep into soils and waterways. The key ingredient in the manufacture of cigarettes is tobacco and the reality is that most of it is planted in rainforests areas. Accordingly, it has contributed to major deforestation in the areas where it is planted. Nowadays there are so many options of smoking without smoke such as electronic cigarettes, snooze, nicotine chewing gums, plasters. If you cannot imagine living without nicotine or tobacco, there is plenty to choose from.
7. Make home improvement
Households are another field where you can easily apply theory into practice and start saving energy. Chose light bulbs wisely. There are, again, so many options, some are cheaper some more expensive, but it is definitely worth spending a little more on a good quality ecological lightbulb. Some of the lightbulbs considered eco-friendly are halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or LED bulbs and you can get them in nearly every bigger supermarket. Another thing you can do is to hang your clothes outside to dry naturally. Dryers are a big energy consumer in households. Having some time to spare leave your clothes dry naturally outside. When properly
hung up it will also save you some ironing!
8. Stop wasting electricity for no reason
Last but not least is to think about the way you charge your electronical devices. Do you leave your phone on a charger during night? If the answer is yes, you might want to reconsider this as you are wasting electricity for almost no reason. Even when fully charged, our phones plugged in still consume little bits of electric energy. When you leave your phone charging the whole night, those bits can add up to a significant amount and year by year waste energy for nothing. When you need your phone to be charged in the morning, try to think ahead and do not leave it plugged in throughout the night.
Why and how do we waste electricity?
To conclude, bear in mind that big companies listen to their customers and meet the demand. We are the ones who they are listening to, so let’s try to send a message responsibly and take care about our surroundings. Small things add up and it truly does matter if you decide to participate and help fight for cleaner planet.