4 Easy Ways You Could Save the Earth

April 22nd is National Earth Day, but in all honesty, I think every day should be Earth Day. We get it—you’re busy. It’s a hassle to go out of your way and do something that might be more of an inconvenience, especially when your schedule is so packed that it barely allows you to breathe. You might even be thinking “What’s the point? I’m just one person. Would I even be making a difference?” But I promise you, a little goes a long way. We only have one Earth, and if we keep up our detrimental habits, who knows what it’ll look like in future generations. So here’s 4 little daily habits that could help heal our planet little by little.

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1. Invest in reusable straws, bottles, and bags.

Have you seen that video of a straw being removed from inside a turtle’s nose? Or pictures of plastic found inside a dead whale? They’re heartbreaking, and if those aren’t enough to get you to make a difference, I don’t know what will. Humans produce about 260 million tons of plastic every year and about 10% of that waste ends up in our oceans. 10% might not seem like a lot, but if you do the math, that’s about 71,200 tons of garbage a day!

Think about it. How often do you use a straw? Whether it’s in your Starbucks, Jamba Juice or boba milk tea, the average American uses about 1.6 straws a day, adding up to 500 million straws a day nationwide, along with an estimated 100 billion plastic bags being disposed every year. To make matters worse, even though plastic bottles are recyclable, the average American only recycles 38 out of 167 disposable bottles. So out of the 50 billion bottles that are used every year, only 11 billion of them end up actually being repurposed. What happened to the other 39 billion? 

But recently, using reusable straws and bottles have become more mainstream with the help of trendy Hydroflasks and the increasing popularity of metal straws.

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2. Control the amount of waste you produce.

We don’t really think about the amount of waste we make until we actually sit down and consider it.

You woke up this morning and got ready. In the process, you flushed toilet paper down the drain and disposed a string of floss. The products in your everyday routine come in plastic bottles that are eventually going to end up in the trash. Maybe you had two eggs (which means two egg shells), fried some bacon and toasted a slice of bread (which came from plastic packages). You dropped by Starbucks for a drink before class, which includes the plastic cup, lid, straw and the paper that wrapped around it. Maybe your allergies have been acting up and you’re using tissues left and right. Dinner rolls around and you cook at home, but you’re always left with the vegetable stubs you can’t really work with.

That’s just one day. So if you consider what trash could be avoided, cutting little parts out of your routine or even switching up how you handle it could make a big difference. Maybe consider investing in your own reusable Starbucks cup or composting your food trash instead of throwing it in the bin! (I don’t know how to help you with your allergies though, sorry).

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3. Control the amount of water you use.

Simply put: We are running out of water. Less than 1% of Earth’s natural freshwater is actually available for human use and the rest is filtered anthropogenically. Every country has different amounts of available water, with some being better off than others. This could affect humans agriculturally, economically, and could potentially contribute to the spread of disease in nations that are severely water-deprived. You could do easy things like taking shorter showers or turning off the water when you’re brushing your teeth or washing dishes. Even eating less meat helps because it takes a lot of water to feed the animals you’re consuming.

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4. Changing up your mode of transportation.

Carbon dioxide is a major player in the greenhouse game, with a giant source being transportation. One gallon of gas produces about 20 pounds of CO2, equating to 6 tons produced per car annually. Not only does this mean that our atmosphere is getting more and more polluted, but that it’s also going to get warmer, which could mean terrible things for our ice caps and environments of the like. It’s understandable that some lifestyles are not suited for anything else but driving, but even little changes like biking to the market instead of driving could greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions over time. 

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