Climate change and global warming are hot topics right now–and while many people are concerned about where our environment is going, not many people have taken action to assist in a healthy change. According to Ceasepollution.com, in the USA alone, we emit 5,414 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into our environment every year. Because of this, Conservation.org says that currently 11% of earth’s population, or 800 million people, are at risk to exposure to extreme climate change effects, such as droughts, heat waves, and rise in sea level.
If we don’t combat climate change and global warming effectively, these effects will grow worse and affect more people. A lot of people think that going to a message board or writing a letter to the president will help with climate change, and although that could assist in making a change in our global environment, there are other ways to aid in conserving our environment. One simple thing you can do is create less trash. Here are multiple ways you can cut down on your waste production:
- Straws! Eliminating or lessening one use plastic straws has been very popular. Starbucks produced a drink lid that prevents the use of a straw, and many restaurants support the “ask for a straw to get a straw” idea. To make sure you aren’t using plastic straws, ask for any drinks at restaurants without plastic straws. You can also purchase a glass, metal, or silicone reusable straws. If this is too much of a change, opt for a recyclable paper straw. You can visit https://www.ourlaststraw.org/ for more information on one use plastic straws and their effect on the environment.
- Buy in bulk! Buying in bulk eliminates the wasteful plastic packaging our food comes in. If you use reusable glass jars or burlap bags, the amount of plastic you use when buying ingredients will be lessened. In some cases, buying in bulk can even be cheaper. However, don’t use the grocery store plastic bags to buy your bulk food–as this eliminates the reason for buying in bulk!
- Opt for fresh produce instead of plastic wrapped produce! Similar to buying in bulk, buying fresh produce that hasn’t been packaged in plastic will cut down your waste production. The reason you should cut down on plastic in particular is because plastic takes forever to break down! On top of that, only a small percentage of plastic is actually recyclable.
- Get a reusable water bottle! Although that plastic water bottle might have been a good last minute purchase, it puts even more plastic into our environment. In the long run, a reusable water bottle will not only prevent waste, but save you money over time.
- Carpool! Cars emit millions of magnitudes of carbon monoxide, which unlike carbon dioxide, is colorless, odorless and extremely poisonous. Cut down the carbon monoxide
- Reduce Plastic! Bring your own boxes and containers when in need of a container. Avoid the styrofoam to-go containers or the plastic shopping bags. Reuse containers for storing leftovers or shopping in bulk. When getting juice try to get fruits and freshly squeeze them yourself to avoid the plastic packaging most drinks have. Make your own cleaning products that will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner. Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups. Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic. Even those that appear to be cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic. Plus you’ll be eating fewer processed foods! For more tips, go to http://www.greeneducationfoundation.org/nationalgreenweeksub/waste-reduction-tips/tips-to-use-less-plastic.html you’ll be surprised about the gum one!
- Compost! Although “composting” seems like a big scary word, it can actually be pretty simple. The ultimate idea of composting is to recycle food waste in your home. You can even dump all of your compost at a public compost bin in the parking lot across from the Patagonia store. For more information, go to https://www.pca.state.mn.us/waste/composting-your-backyard for more information.
These are only a few things we can do to help preserve our environment. Some other small things you can do are: turn off lights when you’re not using them, avoid putting any trash in outdoor drains, reduce food waste by serving only what you need to eat, and avoid buying single-use products. Although many of the things we need to do to conserve the environment may seem challenging and extensive at first, we still need to learn to do them. Without taking these measures, you are encouraging pollution to continue to occur. Let’s treat the earth the way we want it for future generations!