How You Can Help Save The Earth
Updated: Nov 28, 2020
15 things you can do today to begin living a more eco-friendly lifestyle
It's a helpless feeling, sharing your home with billions of roommates who don't clean up after themselves. As our planet spirals into climate crisis, the"reduce, reuse, recycle" jingle is going numb to our ears and we're all beginning to wonder what more we can do to make a difference. A real difference.
Just the other night, I was perusing the library of Netflix when a newly added Nature Documentary caught my eye: David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet. I get so worked up watching nature documentaries because everything I fear is right there in front of me on the screen. I have to look at the earth being destroyed by my kind and it feels like there's nothing I can do to stop it. But I think that's the kind of passion and upset we all need to feel- that's the intention of the documentaries. When we feel this strongly about a topic, that's when we're most likely to enact change.
Unlike most documentaries, this one in particular did a decent job at providing a "call to action". It talked about the things we, as humans, can do to help stop the catastrophic destruction of our planet. It still didn't give as many solutions as I would have liked, but that's why I've taken it upon myself to type up this post. I've taken everything that documentary made me feel and channeled it into research on how we can all do better. I highly recommend you watch the documentary and also recommend that you revisit this post after you get all fired up for change.
The documentary really put things in perspective and made me question why saving the planet hasn't been a priority- for all of us. Listed below are some things I've been practicing in my own life along with some practices I will be adopting from this point forward. Read through these next few points and educate yourself. Learn about ways you can become a more mindful, conscious, earth dweller and a better roommate on this planet.
This year and every year- vote. The key to positive change is good leadership- without it, we will continue fighting an uphill battle. Please, please, register to vote.
And don't think your vote ends with politics - each dollar we spend is also vote. Every time you make a purchase, you are voting on what kind of world you want to live in. If you purchase organic produce and locally-made products, that's you saying "I want to see more of this". If you eat out at fast food restaurants, buy from large corporations, and pay for single-use materials, you are saying "I want to see more of this".
Most people struggle with this because often times, the eco-friendly products are more expensive- so they go for the cheaper option. I'm guilty of this. But we have to remember a few things when adopting this mindset- firstly, the companies making more sales will be able to sell their products for cheaper. This is why large corporations are able to provide better deals. If we keep supporting these corporations, they will continue to have the better deals. However, if everyone starts supporting the eco-friendly local brands, those companies will eventually be able to lower their prices and provide us good deals as well.
Secondly, we have to remember this- there are no investments more important than your health & the earth's health. Never budget in these areas.
Consider eco-friendly product purchases as your rent for staying on planet earth ;)
2. Eat less meat (and dairy)
I should list this as number one but this topic usually veers people away from further reading. Diet is a sore spot for most, as much of our culture and daily routines revolve around what we eat. But let me assure you of this- no single action is more powerful at protecting this earth than participating in a plant-based diet. And let me assure you of one more thing- eating plant-based is not boring. It's not just salads and carrots for every meal. Anything can be vegan-ized nowadays. You can still have ice cream, pancakes, burgers, fries, Mexican food, Chinese food, you name it! And it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Simply switching from dairy milk to almond milk or trying one meatless meal a week helps. The more the better but every little bit helps.
Want to learn more the environmental impact of our diets? Check out Cowspiracy on Netflix!
3. Bring Your Own Bag
This is one of the easiest things that everyone can do to make a huge impact. Next time you are at the grocery store, opt for the 99 cent re-usable grocery bag and keep it in your trunk so you always have it with you. You can also bring a tote or a purse if you don't want to purchase a bag.
Forgot your bag and already finished shopping? Put your items in the cart and take them to your car. You can grab a bag from your home once you get back and carry the groceries in that way. It might be a little inconvenient but remember- it's a small price to keep the earth clean and healthy.
It's so ridiculous to use a bunch of plastic bags just to transport the groceries from the store to your trunk/house when you can simply use the cart, your own bags, or just make an extra trip inside once you get home.
4. Invest in a Water Filter or Ionizer
I want to tell you about 2 great options for getting unlimited filtered water right in your home. (No more plastic bottles!)
The first option is a "Below Sink" Water Filter. This is a filter system that can easily be installed under your sink. A small spout can then be placed next to your faucet where unlimited filtered water can be dispensed at your finger tips. The filters will occasionally need changed.
The other amazing option I want to tell you about is a Water Ionizer. These do more than just filter your water- they allow you to control it's pH. You can choose to pour yourself some alkaline water for health benefits, or even dispense acidic water for chemical-free cleaning uses. These machines run a bit more than the basic water filter systems but they provide a host of health benefits and contribute to an overall eco-friendly household. I purchased my Water Ionizer from Air Water Life and if you're interested you can shop for one here! Kangen machines are popular as well but those cost thousands of dollars whereas Air Water Life machines only cost a few hundred.
5. Switch To A Menstrual Cup, Ladies
Still using tampons and pads? Let me sell you on the menstrual cup- and don't keep scrolling past this paragraph just because you're scared of them. I know they're big and intimidating but they're super easy to use, comfortable to wear, and truly a life-changing investment for your time of the month.
First let's talk about cost: It's estimated that women spend around $1800 in their lifetime on tampons and pads. Menstrual cups will run you $20-$30. Granted, while the menstrual cup has the potential to last forever, it is recommended to get a new one every few years.
Now let's talk waste: Women use around 9,210 tampons or pads in their lifetime. Now multiply that by every woman in the world who uses those products- that's a lot of waste! Menstrual cups are re-usable so there is virtually no waste when using these products.
In addition, menstrual cups relieve you from the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome and keep you from introducing any harmful chemicals or dyes into your body. They also don't dry out your vagina like tampons do. I'm sold!
6. Reusable Utensils and Straws
This is a one-time investment that will do wonders for life on planet earth. Instead of grabbing for plastic utensils at the store or your favorite restaurant, pick up a cheap set of bamboo silverware (the set usually comes with a cute little carrying case) and keep it in your purse for convenient use! You can pick up a set of re-usable metal straws while you're at it too and put one of them in with your silverware.
7. Bring Your Own Cup
This step is a bit trickier right now during the pandemic but it's another simple way to reduce waste. Most (if not all) coffee shops and to-go establishments allow you to bring in your own glass or mug for your drink and will often give you a discount for doing so- win win! Just don't forget to bring your reusable straw!
8. Reusable Household Items
Continuing on with the topic of an eco-friendly household- here are some common products you can easily switch out for reusable versions (just do a quick internet search to see the different options are available. Simply type in "reusable _____" filling in the blank with any of the following terms):
9. Recycle Your Electronics
This isn't a super well-known fact, but Tantalum is a mineral extracted from an ore called "coltan". This ore is used in the production of electronics such as cell phones. Most of this ore is extracted from places in Australia, Canada, and Brazil. But due to the excessive amount of electronics being bought and sold around the world, some manufacturers have begun mining for this ore in African rainforests- leading to habitat destruction. If you want to help save African wildlife, be sure to recycle your electronics and reduce the need for further coltan mining. A quick google search will show where you can recycle electronics in your area.
10. Boycott Palm Oil
Rainforest are being cleared on the daily not only for animal agriculture, but for palm oil production. Trees are being cut down and wildlife habitats are being knocked out. Palm oil is grown because it is a productive crop and it is cheap. But this all comes at a cost. If you want to reduce your impact on rainforest wildlife, make sure you check the ingredients on everything you buy (not just food, haircare products and lotions as well- it can be put in nearly anything) and purchase products that are free of palm oil.
11. Electronic Bank Statements
Opt to go digital for your bank statements and give online banking/billing a try! There's no need for paper when it can all be done online. You can also opt for email receipts at the store instead of the classic paper print-outs.
12. Reuse, Recycle, & Compost!
Compost makes great fertilizer for gardens and the process of making it helps you get more connected with the earth and it's cycles. Throwing organic matter into landfills directly cuts off the circle of life. If we don't all start composting soon, the soil is going to become void of nutrients all together.
We've been told to recycle for years but many of us have lost sight of it's importance. Make sure that any single-use plastics you do have to use get recycled. If you don't have a recycling program in your community, try to get one started!
Recycling & reusing applies to clothing and household items too- always buy second-hand when you can! We have enough "stuff" floating around on this planet as it is- there's no need to get something new when you can get it used (and still in great condition).
Sometimes taking all these actions still doesn't feel like enough. I've had that feeling before- I felt like I needed hands-on experience to feel like I was truly making a difference.
I performed a simple google search on my computer this morning and I was able to find multiple environmental volunteer organizations right here in my community- one even offered the opportunity for an internship! So go ahead and do a quick web search to find some environmental programs near you. Get out there and make a hands-on difference!
14. Go Electric
This one is a bit trickier given that most of us probably aren't in the market for a new car anytime soon but this is a good thought to keep in your back pocket for when the time comes. When you're able, make the switch to electric so you aren't using up fossil fuels every time you want to take a drive. California plans to stop selling gas-powered cars by the year 2035 so they'll hopefully be setting the trend for the rest of the world!
15. Educate Yourself (and others)
One of the most powerful things anyone can do to fight this climate crisis is to educate themselves. Then share this information with others. Find out ways we can all be better guests on planet earth and start making changes. It's each and every one of our responsibilities to make these changes- and we can't forget how impactful our actions are. Every decision we make should have the health of the earth in mind. This is our home. This is our only planet.
Comment below with any additional tips!
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