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8 Tips and Tricks for Being a Better Citizen on Planet Earth

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

“The Earth is 46 billion years old. Let’s scale it down to 46 years. We’ve been here for 4 hours. Our industrial revolution began 1 minute ago. In that time, we’ve destroyed more than 50% of the world’s rainforests.” (Greenpeace)

I am sure most people know that the Earth is suffering, and it is largely because of us humans. While deforestation, drought, and global warming are all complex issues that cannot be solved by just one person, there are small things that every single person can do that will help save the Earth, and thus help us. 


1. Use reusable water bottles.

Photo credit: Bestlyy

While I know this tip may sound obvious, this one is extremely important. Even though lots of people own reusable water bottles, people forget to bring them or they think that one plastic water bottle will not make a difference. And to the people who are not fans of tap water so they buy plastic water bottles thinking it’s more “pure,” did you know that 25% of bottled water is simply tap water? Reusable water bottles are healthier, more cost-efficient, and you can personalize them with stickers! I recommend S’well or Hydro Flask


2. Get your receipts by email or text.

Photo credit: Stripe

I do not know about you, but I always hate getting paper receipts because they get crinkled up at the bottom of my bag and I never find them again. Then, if I do find it, I have to come to terms with how much money I just spent on clothes. Either way, paper receipts are not the way to go. When you get your receipts emailed to you, you save paper and you can either delete the email or put it in another folder to be hidden away and saved for later. 


3. Buy eco-friendly beauty products.

Photo credit: Michelle Raena

What is better for the Earth is even better for your face. Chemicals like parabens and sulfates are bad for the planet and can negatively affect your hair, face, and body. Buying products that are natural will improve your skin without letting dangerous chemicals seep into the ground. You also have to worry about what is on the outside too because a lot of plastic is wasted on packaging beauty products. Next time, opt for a bar soap or buy some of the Naked products from Lush


4. Bring your own reusable bags.

Photo credit: Spoon University 

When you bring your own bags to the grocery store or even to the mall, you are doing so much with one little action. First, you are helping the planet by not taking one of those awful plastic bags. Second, you are saving money because more and more places are charging for bags these days. Third, you will not have to worry about figuring out what to do with the plastic bag because you are just going to reuse your bag next time. And fourth, you will not have to be boring and use one of the plain white/brown bags because you can pick a bag that you actually like! Win-win-win-win. 


5. Eat less meat.

Photo credit: Miami New Times

I know, I know. I cannot make everyone a vegetarian because they love steak too much or because ‘it’s the circle of life.’ But that does not mean people cannot eat less of it or at least choose more carefully when purchasing meat. Some red meat can have a lot of saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol. Do your research before you buy; places like farmers markets or butcher shops tend to sell more ethical meat than supermarkets do. 


6. Bring your own mug.

Photo credit: Gramha

Whether it is to Starbucks, work, or wherever you get your coffee, you should bring your own mug. Starbucks estimates that they distribute 6 BILLION cups annually, and those cups usually end up at a landfill or in one of the oceans. By bringing your own mug, you are reducing that waste while also keeping your drink warmer than it would be in a plastic cup. I recommend buying a byta which comes in different sizes and colors and keeps your drink warm (or cold, if preferred) for hours. 


7. Say no to plastic straws.

Photo credit: Aliexpress

In 2017, Americans used 390 MILLION plastic straws EVERY DAY. That is way too many straws and too much plastic going into the ocean and hurting our marine life. To help this problem, you have two choices:

1) flat out reject the plastic straw and sip the cup or

2) some cups require a straw so you can use your own reusable straw.

Reusable straws are great for smoothies, milkshakes, or if you are out at a restaurant and just wanna pop one in your drink. This straw comes with a portable case with its own way of cleaning itself and it’s collapsible! 


8. Try Ecosia instead of Google.

Photo credit: My Good Planet

Ecosia is a search engine that uses their ad revenue to help plant trees. And their servers run on 100% renewable energy. Ecosia is free and all you have to do is search something. There have already been 50,458,935 (and counting) trees planted because of Ecosia. This is definitely the easiest tip for going green so make sure to add it to your computer!

I hope everyone who reads this will implement all of these tips and tricks into their life. I promise you the changes you make will make a difference and it will not be that hard. After a while, you might even want to step it up, like only shopping fair trade or becoming vegan, who knows? 


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Peyton is a sophomore at Boston University majoring in journalism in the College of Communication and minoring in Women, Gender and Sexuality. Besides writing for Her Campus, Peyton also writes for the Daily Free Press and is a member of Students for Reproductive Freedom. In her free time, she tries to find the best places for dessert in Boston and reads along with Emma Watson's book club "Our Shared Shelf."
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.