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7 Ways You Can Help The Planet

In 2011, the population hit 7 billion people. Within the past 6 years, the population has increased by another 500 million, and it continues to grow rapidly. We collectively use more resources than this planet can sustain and in turn pollute the environment with our wastes. Climate change is an increasingly urgent issue, and as inhabitants of this planet, we need to take measures in order to preserve the Earth for future generations. If you’re reading this, you must have at least some interest in minimizing your impact on environment. Here are some easy ways to minimize your ecological footprint and help the planet!

1. Educate Yourself

The first and most important way to start making a difference is by being informed about the subject. Carry out simple research about human impact on the environment, making sure to use reliable sources; watch environmental documentaries, such as Leonardo Dicaprio’s Before the Flood; learn about your personal ecological footprint by mapping out how many resources you use on a daily basis. Knowledge is power, and education will pave the road to a more sustainable future.


2. Reduce

Purely cutting back on various resources can make an enormous difference to your ecological footprint. Shortening your shower time from 10 to 5 minutes could save about 70 gallons of water per week[¹] and going meatless one day a week could save 55,000 gallons of water over the course of a year[²][³]. Minimizing your car mileage by just 10 miles a week could decrease your carbon dioxide emission by 16,500 grams per month[⁴]. Seemingly small changes to your lifestyle will add up.


3. Reuse

Instead of constantly buying new items and disposing of them, purchase reusable items such as shopping bags, water bottles, and travel mugs. Buy used clothes from thrift shops and donate your old clothes to these stores or to charity. Not only will you be saving money, but you will also be minimizing resource consumption.


4. Recycle & Compost

Recycling has been made extremely easy and mainstream across America and should be something everyone participates in. Many recyclable items sit in landfills and take years to degrade when those items could have been used to produce new products; plastic takes 1,000 years to decompose and glass takes 1,000,000 years[⁵]. Likewise, food scraps can be composted to create fertilizer rather than sitting in landfills.


5. Public Transportation & Carpooling

Motor vehicle exhaust accounts for a significant portion of carbon dioxide emissions. The average U.S. car owner releases 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year[⁴], which hastens the greenhouse effect and the degradation of the ozone layer—both of which are harmful to the environment. Carpooling with others or taking public transportation can save hundreds of dollars on gas and minimize carbon dioxide emissions.


6. Unplug Electronics

For items such as lamps, chargers, televisions, and computers, there is no need for them to be plugged in when not in use. Even if these electronics are turned off, they are still draining energy. Often called energy “vampires,” appliances that are constantly plugged in can add an extra 10% to the electricity bill[⁶]. Even though they are not turned on, leaving them plugged in does use energy; it is estimated that $200 worth of electricity is wasted yearly by these energy “vampires.”[⁷]


7. Realize You ARE Making a Difference & Spread the Word

You may think that since you are just one person of nearly 7.5 billion, you cannot possibly make a difference. But, minimizing your personal footprint can save thousands of gallons of water, hundreds of dollars worth of energy, and can reduce carbon emissions into the environment. By doing so, you are keeping your corner of the world clean and are acting as an example to those around you. Not only should you do your part in sustaining this planet, but you should also be spreading the world, advocating for the health and future of this beautiful planet we all call home.

Works Cited

  1. http://www.home-water-works.org/indoor-use/showers

  2. http://waterfootprint.org/en/water-footprint/product-water-footprint/water-footprint-crop-and-animal-products/

  3. http://www.gracelinks.org/1361/the-water-footprint-of-food

  4. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-02/documents/420f14040a.pdf

  5. http://students.arch.utah.edu/courses/Arch4011/Recycling%20Facts1.pdf

  6. https://energy.gov/articles/4-ways-slay-energy-vampires-halloween

  7. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2002/09/vampire-appliances-cost-consumers-3-billion-year


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