Earth day is a great reminder of the very real issue of climate change, and the need for each and every one of us to take steps, big or small, to modify our lifestyle, habits and actions for the benefit of our planet. No change is too small! One person making one small change might not seem like it will have an impact, however if 1 million people were to make the same small change the impact would be considerable. Read on for some simple ways to reduce your environmental impact and make earth day every day.
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11 SIMPLE WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT AND HELP REVERSE CLIMATE CHANGE
1. Consume Less Meat
Animal agriculture and its byproducts are widely recognized as the #1 contributor to climate change. Reducing your meat and dairy consumption is the single best way you can help put an end to climate change. According to conspiracy.com, livestock and their byproducts account for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Starting with meatless Monday is a giant step in the right direction! Need inspiration? Here is a list of my favourite plant-focused recipe sites!
Research also shows that reducing your consumption of animal protein has significant health benefits (learn more here).
If you are 19 or older, check out the platforms of each political party and vote for the party you believe will do the most to support the environment and help reverse the damaging effects of greenhouse gasses and climate change.
3. Reduce Your Energy Consumption
Turn off the lights when you leave a room, unplug unused appliances, don't leave the TV on, use cold water for laundry, reduce the temperature on your hot water tank, only run your washing machine or dishwasher once they are full, hang your clothes to dry, use energy efficient lightbulbs, turn off your heat/AC when you are not home and open your blinds during the day for natural light. Making a habit of doing at least some of these things consistently will make an impact, and could also save you hundreds of dollars each year. For more more useful tips check out www.powersmart.ca.
4. Conserve Water
Take shorter or less frequent showers, use a water saving shower head, reduce your water pressure, compost food scraps instead of using the garburator, run your washing machine and dishwasher less often, turn off the tap when shaving or brushing your teeth, check your toilets for leaks, monitor your outdoor watering and try to utilize grey and collected rain water whenever possible.
5. Produce Less Waste
Make it a habit to bring your own cup, container, bag, etc. Check out these 8 Simple BYO Options to Waste Less for easy tips.
6. Recycle Better
Educate yourself on what can and can't be recycled and how to make your recycling efforts count. For more information check out these 12 Simple Ways to Up Your Recycling Game.
7. Shop Local
Shipping stuff around the world burns significant amounts of fossil fuels. Whenever possible purchase food, clothing, household goods and other items made closer to home to reduce your environmental impact.
8. Leave Your Car at Home
Unless you are driving a 100% electric car, you are burning fossil fuels with every trip. You don't need to get rid of your car, but consider whether you could at least sometimes walk, bike, scooter, transit or carpool instead. Also, when you do need to drive, take a minute to plan out your trip to reduce your time on the road, avoid sitting in traffic and ensure you hit all your stops in 1 trip (vs. 2 or 3).
9. Live with Less
Nope, you don't need the newest and coolest technology (the average lifespan of an iPhone is over 4 years, despite new ones being released annually), an overflowing closet of clothes you don't wear, 25+ pairs of shoes, cupboards stuffed full of kitchen gadgets you rarely use, more cars than family members or a mini toy shop in your basement. Stuff is not the key to happiness. In fact, as much as 99% of stuff we purchase becomes trash within 6 months. Yikes.
10. Buy Secondhand
Secondhand stores are full of awesome one of a kind vintage scores at a fraction of the price AND environmental impact. You can also score some awesome used stuff on Craigslist, Kijiji, Varagesale and Facebook.
11. Go Green When You Clean
Most cleaning products on the market contain a slew of hazardous chemicals that are not only bad for our health (hello cancer), but also make their way into the environment with each use. A quick google search for DIY cleaning products will yield hundreds of results for solutions that require as few as 1 ingredient and do the same if not a better job. A win-win.
Wanting to change and actually taking the step and making permanent changes can be two very different things. To start, pick one thing you want to do and turn it into a goal. Once it has become routine/habit go back and set additional goals.
If we work together,
The earth will get better.
The land will be clearer.
The soil will be wetter.
The sun will sine brighter.
The trees will be greener.
The sky will be bluer.
The air will be cleaner.
- The Lorax