First of all I have been an Environmentalist my entire life- for a love of geography and the natural landscapes scoping our world. I did as one point want to be a geologist when I was in year 8 but that soon changed. Not because I fell out of love with geography but simply because I wanted to have a job in politics to actually do something for the planet. (I explain all this on my ‘why I am vegan’ page check it out.)
I have adapted the way I live to be more environmentally sustainable and I am continuously improving this all the time (ie. the month of February I will embark on the plastic purge a step toward going fully zero waste- Stay tuned for posts on this journey) and I do believe if we all change at least 1 harmful thing we do every day to something more friendly- we could help save our world.
Sometimes we don’t even realise how much damage we do to the earth. Something as simple as using plastic straws in our drinks when we go out or even in the house, this one time plastic cannot be recycled and they almost always end up in our oceans & or go straight to landfill sites.
Did you know that 500million of these straws are produced every single day and that end to end these straws could circle the earth 2.5 times to just be part of the 43% of plastics that go to landfill. Scary right? So why not make this your pledge today. To stop using plastic straws and invest in a glass or steel one (I know I have.)
So now I should probably get into the main purpose of this post; to give you 12 ways in which you can save the world, yourself. Exciting stuff. I have done and am continuing to do some of these points myself and the others I am yet to do but slow progress is better than no progress. I hope that you are the same, there’s no time like now to start making better choices for the environment.
Turn off Lights – So they say that if we turn off lights we don’t need for an hour every day, we’ll save 5 million kilowatt hours of energy nationwide, every year! How easy is that like? Confession time** I am one who usually forgets the bathroom light- Oops! I know it’s a silly wee thing luckily I have family to turn it off soon after haha. But this is one thing I have been trying to remember and so far it’s working, I hate the wasting of energy it does even for a simple few minutes.
Use E-tickets – Fly using an e-ticket as opposed to a paper one, it saves wasting all of that paper but also the stress of having to remember the paper tickets; it’ll all be on your phone. How great is that?
When I fly to London to see my boyfriend I use the airline Ryanair they have an app you buy your ticket on and keeps your e-booking pass- I was so worried the first time I used this app- as a travel anxious person I was worried about the app not letting me board the plane but it was so simple and I use every time now. I do recommend making the switch- if your airline has this option.
Plants trees – Multiple benefits to planting a tree in your garden such as it is good for the environment both the land and the air, it can cut back your air con usage if you are in a warm climate; however for me the climate here is rather mild so air con is not a thing we use in the UK but I do have a tree in my garden- maybe because it’s the countryside but having trees helps reduce the CO₂ emissions as they use this to photosynthesis and their waste product is oxygen which we need to survive. You could say humans and trees were a match made in heaven!
If you cannot plant trees on your property due to permissions etc. you don’t even have to personally plant the trees- but by simply switching your search engine from the likes of Google to this one called Ecosia. For every search made through the engine they plant 1 tree. I made the switch over a year ago now and have helped plant over 5 million trees so far. Could you make the switch today?
Recycle – If every newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250million trees each year. Recycling 1 aluminium can saves enough electricity to power 1 TV for 3 hours. How amazing is that, simply 1 can!?. And the glass is another great saving. Every ton of glass that is recycled saves nine gallons of the oil used for fuel to produce new glass. You can even recycle batteries, paper and plastic bottles (just check) I do enjoy recycling as the environmentalist in me always makes sure that all the waste is sorted into categories (Compost, Recycling, Reuse and then waste) before throwing it all out. If you do this to, comment below.
Shop at thrift stores – A lot of things and great things at that, can be sourced second hand. This saves you money and helps to reduce packaging.
I do love a bit of ‘thrifting’ half my wardrobe is second hand clothing- it has just been something I’ve always done and will continue to do simply because I believe that we need to reduce our consumption, the amount of products that are created it is suffocating the earth, we really cannot afford it! Stuffocating is a good word to use! If you want to understand how the fashion industries are killing the planet & our people watch the documentary ‘True Cost’ on Netflix it is a great eye-opener and you’ll most definitely want to stop purchasing unethical clothing.
Use tote bags for shopping – Plastic carrier bags are not biodegradable, nor are they recyclable. They sit in landfills, and take about forever to dispose; they often end up polluting the ocean and infiltrating food sources. Use a stronger, reusable bag made of natural materials, you can even get cute ones. Style them with your outfit- how fun right!
Reduce junk mail – The average person gets 40 pounds of junk mail per year, That’s a lot of paper wasted. You can register for services that reduce the amount of junk mail you receive. Not only is this beneficial to the environment, but let’s face it, none of us want that junk mail anyway – the clue is in the name! So why not do it, like now!
Re-use your glass jars and bottles –
Did you know that unrecycled glass can take up to a million years to decompose? That’s crazy, and scary to think how much is actually laying in landfill?! Always make sure to re-use/recycle your glass. It can reduce related water pollution by 50% and related air pollution by 20%. I love using jars to store items in- it not only is helping the earth but it looks pretty cute too.
Shop locally – Where possible, buy local produce from local farmers. This saves all the pollution incurred by transporting goods long distances; reducing your carbon footprint, by alot. I enjoy shopping at the local veggie shop (sourced local farm produce) there seems to be a lot less plastic wrapping around the produce as well which is more beneficial.
Invest in reusable travel mug and steel containers – Having a travel mug keeps your coffee/tea hot for longer, meaning less waste and less re-boiling the kettle! Some coffee chains will even offer a discount for filling up your own cup rather than issuing a paper one. So a win- win situation you could say! I am yet to get one as I don’t buy coffee out as much as I used to but I will get myself one when I go to university in September, I have heard great things about the Keep Cup, do you use one?
Go vegan – You don’t have to give up meat for life, but try to commit to one meat free day a week. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef- that’s the equivalent to 30 showers. And each hamburger that comes from animals on ex-forestry ground is responsible for the destruction of 55% square feet of forest. I do believe that veganism is the one best thing to do for the environment; living vegan you require 1/3 less land than a carnivore lifestyle, you save 20lbs of CO₂, 30sq ft of forests and 1 animal everyday- what better way to be a superhero! Start small work your way to fully vegan, like I did cutting out meat and dairy first then beauty products then clothing etc.
You don’t have to completely change everything you do in one go- (unless you want a radical change) I think taking your transition to a more sustainable lifestyle slow is the best thing to do. Going all in at the start can be off putting and make you want to quit. Like I mentioned before ‘Slow progress is better than no progress’ and it is the realist quote to this change. I hope you found my list helpful let me know if you do any of these already or are now planning on adapting these ways soon, drop me a comment below or tweet me.
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Love Leigh | Namaste.xx