You may have heard the anxiety-inducing climate news that came out last week, which essentially told the world that we have until 2040 to get our shit together or else the planet is going to pay for it. Scary right? When I first read the news, I couldn’t help but feel a bit scared myself, as this doesn’t necessarily paint the best picture for our future now does it? But, don’t worry because the world isn’t doomed yet! The first step toward decreasing greenhouse emissions and helping the environment starts by adjusting a few daily habits to be more sustainable. Here’s how to help:
1. Ditch the straw.
Single-use plastics have become some of the worst culprits in contributing to the climate issue as not only do they take forever to decompose, but even the production of these plastics emits harmful greenhouse gases like sulfur and nitrous oxide. To make matters worse, since straws are so small, they can find their way into the ocean and seriously injure endangered marine life such as sea turtles! In a bid to reduce their plastic waste, major cities such as Seattle and even the entire state of California have vowed to ban straws from their restaurants. Think of banning straws in your life as the gateway to living more sustainably. Will it solve the whole issue? No, but it’s a great start!
2. Invest in reusable coffee cups.
Another way you can kick your plastic habit is by buying reusable cups to use at cafes or coffee shops. Coffee addicts rejoice! If saving the Earth isn’t enough of an incentive, a lot of big brand coffee shops like Starbucks or Dunkin will give their variation of a “cup discount.” Starbucks will give you a ten cent discount if you get your drink in your own cup, mug, or tumbler, while Dunkin will give you a hot or iced coffee for just 99 cents!
3. Recycle (properly).
There’s surprisingly a lot of confusion on what can and cannot be recycled properly. For example, did you know that if you try to recycle something that has food waste, it typically will be sent to the landfill rather than actually being recycled? Here I thought I was helping the earth by trying to recycle that one paper plate covered in pizza grease. Waste Management has a super helpful guide that gives the full rundown of what should and should not be recycled.
4. Take shorter showers.
I know shower time for some is a time to sing your heart out or to ponder life’s vast mysteries. But, by reducing your shower time to about five minutes, not only will you be doing Mother Earth a solid by saving water but you will also be reducing CO2 emissions by 70-80%!
5. Spread the word.
Spread your new green lifestyle to friends and family! If you see a friend opting for an unnecessary straw or a family member is taking YEARS in the shower, educate them on the effects their habits will impact the Earth in the long run. Plain and simple, the more people who are on board the (fuel efficient) “Save the Earth” hype train, the bigger the impact will be!