Climate Change. It’s real and it is developing more and more every day. Being bombarded with endless news about the Earth being damaged makes you feel useless in a way. People in power aren’t making any progress in developing/enforcing environmental policies.
Its time to take matters into your own hands. Here are 10 ways to be more sustainable this year.
Plastic water bottles, plastic straws, PLASTIC EVERYTHING is the biggest burden when it comes to sustainability. Plastic has become your new best friend. Why? Its an easier, cheaper, light-weight material to hold onto items for a short period of time. It’s convenient.
However, single-use plastic is responsible for the great garbage patches such as the North Pacific Garbage Gyre. There are five garbage patches in total, spread from the West Coast of North America all the way to Japan.
The point is there are several “plastic islands” floating in the ocean. Plastic bits get pushed to the ocean due to plastic being thrown on beaches, or folks failing to locate their trash in the appropriate trash bins.
These garbage patches pose a threat to marine life. Some plastic items can be confused as food to marine animals, causing them to consume plastic. Plastic for marine life is not digestible. The plastic in their digestive system will clog up their stomachs causing them to die.
You all saw that atrocious video of the sea turtle having to have a person take out a straw from their nose. It was painful to watch a marine animal in pain due to our own humanly behaviors. This vide0 started a whole trend #savetheturles that was brought forth by the social media community.
The hashtag was both a blessing and a curse. #savetheturles brought awareness to people who were the consumer of single-use plastics. It created a movement to purchase reusable metal straws. Starbucks even went “straw-free” and brought the Nitro Lids to their franchise.
However, the hashtag created space for the “VSCO Girl” trend, removing the severity of single-use plastic and created the movement into a trend. I also hate to break it to you but, just because Starbucks stopped using straws, doesn’t omit them from still using plastic.
Okay, okay… plastic sucks. What do I have to do? Simple make more conscious sustainable choices.
1. Reusable water bottle
Whether its a Hydroflask or a Nalgene water bottle, purchase it! Ditch the single-use water bottles! Its time for the re-fills! It’s sustainable and better for the environment! Easy way to be more sustainable!
2. Reusable Straws
Jump on that VSCO Girl trend. Don’t do it to be trendy but do it because you love the environment. Kindly decline the plastic straw given at a restaurant and take out your handy-dandy metal straw. You will feel prepared and more sustainable.
3. Reusable Ziplocs
Yes, they exist! Take a moment and think of a time you used a plastic Ziploc for an item like chips and then automatically threw it away. The chances are it has been more than once if not several times in your lifetime. Ditch the single-use plastic and be more sustainable.
You can easily purchase this re-usable Ziplocs on Amazon for a few dollars. You can wash them and microwave them! It will make you feel so much better inside knowing you’re using a reusable product. Yay for being more sustainable!
4. Reusable Shopping Bags
Why pay 10 cents every time, when you can pay a couple of dollars once? Trust me those 10 cents add up over time. Make the investment to buy a few reusable bags next time you go shopping. Carry them everywhere.
Have a few in your car, your backpack, your purse, your sachel, your pocket, your keychain lanyard. Have them everywhere, they will come in handy more often than you think.
Easy way to be more sustainable!
I know, I know… Take-out is delicious. Mcdonalds really hits the spot after a long day. As delicious as take-out is, the wasteful packaging is not so hot. Try to eat more home-cooked meals and pack them in reusable Tupperware.
If you really want to get some takeout but are truly wanting to be more sustainable, bring the Tupperware to the fast-food joint. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they can place your food items in the Tupperware you brought.
If they decline, make sure you place the food packaging in the approbate trash bins.
Great way to be more sustainable!
For all my students, are you tired of carrying several notebooks for multiple classes? What if I told you, that there is a notebook you can have for one class that you will never run out of pages?
Yup. That’s right. A reusable notebook! It also exists!
This notebook allows you to write your notes with an erasable pen, transfer your notes to its own “Rocket Book App,” and clean off the notebook with a damp towel. Voilà!
The notes are scanned by a barcode on the bottom left of the notebook, the Rocketbook App can link your scanned notes to your Google Drive. This way you never lose any notes and you can have a clean new notebook in seconds.
Awesome way to be more sustainable.
7. Thrift Clothes
Buying brand new clothes from your favorite clothing store is all good! Until you realize it takes 1,800 gallons of water to make a single pair of jeans. Yup. You read correctly, 1,800 gallons. You go to Old Navy and buy a few pairs, say 4 pairs of jeans, that is 7,200 gallons of water.
Yes, shopping is fun and it helps you de-stress from life responsibilities. However, when you don’t think sustainably you don’t really think how much work and resources go into producing your clothes.
A more sustainable way of shopping would be to recycle clothes through the means of thrift shopping. You will be surprised what good items you can snag from thrift stores! You are recycling old clothes and limiting the production of new clothes.
Doing your spring cleaning? You take out a few shirts and jeans take it to your nearest Thrift Store. You just put more clothes into the recycling system. Yay! To being more sustainable!
8. Meat-Less Mondays
Have you ever taken a Carbon Footprint online evaluation? If you haven’t you should. Carbon emissions are what is responsible for the rapid growth of Climate Change impacting the planet, not only does it have to do with the way we take transportation but by what you chose to eat.
If you love to eat a juicy steak this is going to break your heart. For every serving of beef, you are emitting 6.61 pounds of Co2 into the planet. Yes, what you eat also impacts the environment. This isn’t only with beef, it’s with several types of meats and vegetables.
Studies show that plant-based food options are more sustainable and release less carbon emission to the planet. Now, I am not saying you should go vegetarian, but there is valid evidence that plant-based foods are more sustainable.
Try omitting meat from your diet at least once a week. It may not seem like much but it truly is helping the environment. The more “meatless Mondays” you have, the better!
9. Water Wise
Bringing in that music speaker to have full-on concerts, meet and greets, and interviews in the shower is the best feeling. However, as caught up as we are in our celebrity shower fantasy, the showerhead is still running.
About 2.5 gallons of water is let out each minute the shower is running. You take a 3o minute shower that is 75 gallons of water used for a single 30-minute shower. As fun as it is to jam out in a shower, it is important to recognize, the importance of having access to clean water whilst being more sustainable.
Try cutting your showers down to 15 minutes, try to aim for shorter shower times as time goes on. This allows you to be more sustainable!
10. Rely Less on Car
If it’s not that far, try walking or taking a bike. Try to use a car only when you truly need it. If a grocery store is a few blocks down, try walking rather than driving. You really want to go to downtown? Take the Metro. It’s more sustainable and helps you save on gas! Try it! It helps you be more sustainable!
The planet is facing a lot of detriment. It can cause one to feel useless or doomed! Just because authoritative figures aren’t taking proper action doesn’t mean you can’t. We hope these tips brought insight on how to be more sustainable this year.
What are your sustainable methods? Which of these sustainable methods have you tried out?
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Journalism Major California State University Dominguez Hills