As indestructible as mother nature may seem, the choices we make everyday are greatly impacting our planet. The tipping point of our environment is creeping closer and closer. According to National Geographic, “Scientists don’t think people realize how little time we have left, to stop irreversible and disastrous changes to Earth’s climate systems.” We cannot ignore these issues anymore!
There are countless ways we can lessen our environmental impact by trying to live more sustainably. Below are just a few simple ways to reduce your impact on the environment.
1.Stop eating meat and dairy
Adopting a plant-based diet is not only good for your health and the lives of millions of innocent animals, it is also the most sustainable way to eat for the planet.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. That's about the same amount as all the emissions from all the transport in the entire world.
The water being wasted to produce meat and dairy is just as staggering. According to The Water Footprint Network, it takes an average of over 1,800 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef and about 1,000 gallons of water to produce just one gallon of milk. It takes a lot of feed and water just to feed one animal to be consumed when we could be going straight to the source and consuming these resources directly. The animals are essentially just the “middlemen” in this process.
2. Switch to reusable
As convenient as plastic water bottles, paper plates, plastic bags, and other single-use plastics are, they generally just end up polluting our landfills and water systems. According to Plastic Free Challenge, “We produce roughly 300 million tons of plastic each year and half of it is disposable! World-wide only 10-13% of plastic items are recycled.”
A few alternatives to single-use plastics are reusable water bottles, long term dishware, canvas shopping bags and buying in bulk to avoid excessive packaging.
3. Thrift for clothing
The fashion industry is taking a toll on our environment. Ever heard of the term “fast fashion”? A lot of the clothing on the market nowadays are designed to be replaced quickly which is inherently damaging our environment. According to Forbes, “we send 13 trillion tons of our clothes to landfills in the U.S. alone where they sit for 200 years leaving toxic chemicals and dyes to contaminate local soil and groundwater.”
Rather than contributing to the fast fashion trend, consider thrifting instead. Thrifting is a great way to get multiple uses out of clothing that has already been brought into this world, not to mention it is often less expensive as well. Purchasing items from thrift shops or donating old clothes to a friend, family, or someone in need can be an exciting way to find a new wardrobe and help save the planet.
4. Get Creative
The skies the limit with the multitude of ways you can reuse anything from a laundry detergent container to an oversized t-shirt. The YouTube Channel 5-Minute Crafts has a ton of different crafts and hacks to turn things that seem like trash into something incredibly useful. Pinterest is also overflowing with creative ways to reuse common items around the house
I am a big fan of borrowing! Just ask my momma! One reason I love borrowing is because I am the queen of frugal, but also because I’d rather borrow an item and return than clutter my house or landfills.
If you just need to use an item once, or on rare occasions, consider borrowing from a friend or family member. This rule can be applied to all sorts of things like seasonal clothing, lawn care tools, specialty home improvement items and everything in between. The Simple Dollar has a great list of 14 items to borrow, not buy. I think I’ve borrowed about ¾ of this list from my mom, sister, or other family member at one time or another. Check out the list below!
Tables and Chairs
Tents and Other Camping Gear
Outdoor Sporting Equipment
Items for a Wedding
There are a ton of other ways to help reduce our impact on the environment than just the 5 ways I mentioned above. Please add to the list in the comments below!