5 Small Ways You Can Save the World

Global warming has been a debated topic of discussion in politics, especially in the last few years. A lot of us accept that it’s a problem that we need to work on, some people refuse to acknowledge humankind's contribution to this earth-shattering issue, while others all together believe it’s one giant hoax. However, this article isn’t about the politics behind global warming (we’ll save that for another time), it’s about recognizing that we all have a responsibility to treat our planet better than we have been.

If you’re anything like ~the majority of people~ this notion can be a little bit overwhelming. How can an individual help save the world? What if you don’t want to become a vegetarian or a vegan or give up processed foods or sort through all your garbage all the time? But here’s the thing: contributing to a better, greener earth doesn’t have to be complicated or interfere with your lifestyle at all. Here are five small ways you can help save the world without even really trying.

1. Turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth.

Water conservation is a big deal! Every living organism on this planet needs water to survive, and our supply source is limited, especially considering so much of it is salt water. By turning off the faucet when you’re not using it, or spending less time in the shower or waiting for the water to heat up (can be such a waste!), you’re allowing that water to be used somewhere else for a purpose. In addition, this saves energy, which in turn reduces our carbon footprint.

2. Turn the lights off when you leave a room.

If we all turn off two lights in our homes for an hour everyday, we’d save over 5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity nationwide each year. THAT’S SO MUCH. Just so you can visualize this, the amount of coal that would have been used to create that amount of energy could fill up the empire state building 3 times. Turning off the lights when you’re not in the room, or while you’re watching TV, seriously reduces your carbon footprint.

3. Invest in a reusable water bottle.

THIS IS HUGE and so easy! One of the most fun ways to help save the world if you ask me. Why is this fun you may ask? Well, first of all, water bottles come in so many different designs and colors. Plus, you can decorate them with stickers. Not only will you save money on purchasing plastic water bottles all the time, but you’re no longer contributing to the 80% of the 50 billion bottles ending up in landfills each year. I think you deserve to treat yo self for that, don’t you?

4. Bring reusable shopping bags to stores.

A lot of stores now will actually give you a small discount if you bring your own bags into the store. In Europe, and now in San Francisco, you actually have to pay .05-.10 cents anytime you want a plastic bag at a retailer or grocery store. This is another super easy way to cut down on plastic usage, which has been seriously damaging our ecosystems.

5. Use hand towels.

This one’s for those of you who live communally (we’re talking dorms and sorority houses especially). You will epically cut down on the amount of paper you waste if you keep a hand towel in the bathroom or kitchen to dry your hands on instead of using paper towels. If you think plastic is bad, it takes twice the amount of energy to produce paper than it does to produce a plastic bag. Additionally, deforestation is a huge component of global warming. Wasting paper means we have to cut down more trees, which is terrible for our ecosystem. To print the Sunday edition of the New York Times alone requires 75,000 trees. Furthermore, all of the paper we waste each year could actually build a 12 foot high wall from New York to California. I don’t even want to know how many pieces of A4 paper are needed to reach 12 feet.

As you can see, all of these greener methods are super easy lifestyle changes we can all make, yet can have a huge impact on the world if we all take it upon ourselves to make them. Just think about how great the earth could be if we all cared a little bit more about it.