As Earth Day approaches, it is a good time to reflect on the health and future of the planet and the habits and practices that we can adopt to help overcome some of the major climate and ecological issues facing the world today. While it can be incredibly overwhelming to think about our impact on the Earth, it is important to consider how the things we do are affecting the world around us.
It can be depressing to consider the future and the uncertainties; however, it took millions, thousands, and hundreds of years to reach this point in history- and the Earth did not get here without human interference. It took people working together to create the newest innovations and resources to build our cities and skylines and create the world we know today- they did not do it alone. They filled the skies with smog and the oceans with plastic, and today the same things are happening.
We have the choice to work together to achieve a brighter future. We can do it together, and it does not have to be hard. Here are 5 tips and tricks to reduce your ecological footprint and help save the planet:
Eat less meat.
One of the biggest wastes producing industries is the meat industry. The UN estimates that the meat industry is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. You don’t have to go vegetarian or vegan but opting out of a meat meal at least one day a week could help you reduce your carbon footprint. Little actions matter a great deal- so try an amazing vegetarian meal the next time you want to get creative in the kitchen.
Put Down the Plastic Water Bottle.
This can be a hard habit to quit, especially if you are living on campus in the dorms where the tap water is questionable. However, opting for a metal reusable water bottle could help impact the planet in a big way- scientists estimate that there are more than 8 million tons of plastic water bottles in the sea each year. So, make the extra trip to the water fountain to fill up your bottle- the oceans will thank you.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
The old mantra, but it works. Recycling helps prevent the unnecessary emissions of many greenhouse gases and water pollutants as well as saving energy. Check on the packages of food items and toiletries to see if they can be recycled and see where the recycling stations are in your building. There is so much waste filling the fields and oceans, so take the extra step and see how much you can recycle.
Flip the Switch.
This is both easy to do and easy to forget about. Reduce your energy intake (and save money) by turning off lights when you are not using them and unplugging unnecessary items (toasters, hairdryers, etc.) when not in use.
Put Down the Keys.
Cars and driving contribute to climate change in massive ways. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that vehicles contribute to 75% of carbon monoxide pollution in the United States, not to mention many other dangerous greenhouse gases. So, if you live on campus and need to get to class, consider walking or riding a bike. Not only will you get to spend time in beautiful, fresh air, but the planet will thank you.
These are just a few things that you can start doing today to help reduce your ecological footprint. The future may seem uncertain, however together we can impact the world in tremendous ways. It is up to us now, so take the time to consider how your actions are changing the world, for better or for worse.