Living in a first world country, it can be hard to imagine what it would be like to not have access to basics things like electricity, clean drinking water, and an abundance of fresh food. But just because we can get pretty much everything we need without really trying now, doesn’t mean it will always be that way.
How many dystopian movies, TV shows, and books are there that depict a world where people have to fight for every single thing they have? And that future could be a lot closer than we think if we don’t do what we can to conserve, share, and replenish every resource we’re so fortune to have. Luckily, technology—and a lot of really smart people—are constantly coming up with ways to protect the earth and keep it healthy for future generations. Our job is to actually listen to those people and take their advice. It might not seem like you can do much on your own, but that’s no reason not to try. Here’s a few simple ways you can do your part for the world and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
E-commerce is huge right now, and there’s no reason it will be slowing down any time soon. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on shopping in actual stores completely. When you shop local, you’re helping to nurture your community, creating jobs, and supporting the economy. Beyond that, local businesses take up less land and use less energy compared to huge corporations that have to ship massive quantities of everything they sell all over the world.
This should be a given by now, but there are still plenty of people who either don’t recycle at all or aren’t aware of how to recycle properly. But the benefits of recycling can’t be denied. For example, did you know that over 100 million tons of plastic are consumed worldwide each year, and recycling one plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a 60W light bulb for six hours? It might not seem like a lot, but it does add up.
To make sure you’re recycling the right things, look up your city’s guidelines. They’ll tell you what can and can’t be recycled, if you need to sort different materials, and remind you that you do have to rinse out containers before throwing them in the recycling bin.
Choose reusable whenever possible
If you’re a coffee drinker, you might already know that those disposable cups at Starbucks and many other coffee places aren’t recyclable. That’s reason enough to bring in a reusable thermos or request a mug if you’re not taking your drink to go. There are plenty of options for reusable water bottles including the super trendy S’well bottles available in a wide range of different designs. You should also never leave the house without a reusable bag. You never know what you might need to pick up a couple things from the grocery store or shop a surprise sale at your favourite store.
Eat less meat
If you took a second to look at your diet, you might realize you’re eating a lot more animal proteins than you need to. If you cut down, you’ll be doing both your health and the environment a big favour. Meat production is extremely hard on the earth and it creates a ton of carbon waste. You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to make an effort to cut back on your meat consumption. You can simply commit to making one or two days a week meatless and focus on getting your protein from plant-based sources instead. When you do buy meat, look for local and organic options. If the demand for meat goes down, there will be more room to make sustainability, and raising quality, nutrient-rich animal proteins, a priority. That can only be a win, right?
Cut down on energy use
Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature through every season is probably important to you, but do you really think you’d notice if you turned the thermostat down a couple degrees in the winter? Or up a couple in the summer? If you do it gradually, you won’t even feel a difference. Other little adjustments, like always turning to the lights off when you leave a room, never running the dishwasher or washing machine unless you have a full load, and cooking in bulk so you don’t have to use the oven as often can all make a difference too. It’s really all about being more aware and adjusting your habits. You’ll not only see the difference on your energy bill, but you’ll also be doing a little to help the world as a whole.
If you want to make a bigger contribution, look into to supporting the development and promotion of renewable energy sources like wind or solar power. Invest in companies that are trying to make a difference, not the ones that are going full speed ahead with no regard for the planet we call home.