If you’re looking for ways to be kinder to the environment, look no further. Here are five things you can do right now to help the environment for years to come.
Leave Your Car
One of the biggest things you can do personally to help the environment is to leave your car behind wherever possible. Not only will this be better for the environment, but it will also be better for your wallet and your health. If you walk or bike to work or the store instead of driving you’ll save money on gas and the simple act of walking every day can drastically improve your health, so check where pedestrians have the right of way in your neighborhood and get walking.
Wherever possible, buy used and buy local. Buying used is a practical way to support recycling efforts, and usually local causes as well, since so many secondhand shops support local charities. Any time you buy something brand new, that item has to be manufactured somewhere and potentially shipped to the store you bought it from. Either way, that new item has a carbon footprint, and it adds to yours. Buying used and buying locally creates less of a carbon footprint, or rather, divides the carbon cost across more people, effectively reducing each person’s carbon footprint.
Change Your Eating Habits
Another thing you can do to help the planet is to change your eating habits. This is more nuanced than it initially sounds. Advocates for vegan and vegetarian lifestyles will say that eating meat is killing the planet, but the systems used to grow and process plant-based foods can be just as bad. The knee-jerk instinct of “GMOs are bad” does not account for plants that have been genetically modified to need less water in dry environments, or reduce dependence on pesticides. The answer is to be an educated consumer, conscious of the choices you are making.
Watch Your Water Consumption
While you’re thinking about your carbon footprint, don’t forget about your water usage. Water waste is a huge problem, and it’s one that you can help to address in your own home. Choose water-efficient appliances and do what you can to avoid needing to water your lawn by planting a yard that matches the climate you live in. There are lots of other small ways you can reduce your water consumption.
Talk to Your Representative
The most important and most effective thing you can do is talk to your representative. The vast majority of pollution, in the air, in the water and in terms of carbon emissions, comes from corporations and international businesses. Those businesses can only be effectively controlled on a federal scale. Call your representative to let them know that these issues matter to you, and when the time comes to vote, remember who has the best long-term interests of the planet at heart and who is only thinking of short-term profits.
Remember, Earth is the only home we’ve got and if we don’t take care of her now, our children feel the effects for generations to come.