6 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Environmental Impact

6 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Environmental Impact

No, you won't have to spend half your fortune or quit your current lifestyle.

Climate change is real.

Humans are harming the environment and that’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. We dump chemicals into the ocean and harm other animals on this Earth. We pollute our atmosphere with overwhelming amounts of carbon dioxide.

As college students, it’s easy to feel helpless and think that this problem is beyond our ability to solve. However, everyone and anyone can do their part to make sure we reduce our own carbon footprint to alleviate this problem. Here are 7 easy ways you can become more environmentally friendly without deviating much from your usual lifestyle.

1. Bike/Take public transportation instead of taking Uber.

Cars release tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day and are one of the biggest problems contributing to climate change produced by humans. By taking public transportation like the metro, bus, or investing in a bike, we can reduce our carbon dioxide impact on the environment.

One less Uber ride may not seem much, but in the long run, that impact adds up quickly. By taking alternatives to a regular car to travel around, not only can you reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll also be saving a ton of money. Save that $25 Uber cost to Santa Monica and spend it on textbooks or food instead!

2. Stop using straws and plastic stirring sticks.

We’re all capable adults who don’t need straws to be able to drink out of a cup. Sure, straws are convenient, but they also create large amounts of plastic waste that is extremely hard to dispose of. Instead, drink out of your own reusable water bottle to reduce plastic waste.

For Starbucks addicts, avoid using the green plastic "splash sticks" to mix your drink. Instead, use the wooden stirring sticks, which are easier to take care of as waste than plastic sticks are.

3. Bring your own bags to grocery stores.

Grocery stores all over the US have started to incentivize people to bring their own bags, including charging extra for bags as well as banning plastic bags altogether. Most stores charge 5 to 10 cents per bag, and most of the time consumers disregard that amount as insignificant.

However, Spending 10 cents every time you grocery shop, assuming you shop once a week, adds up to almost $5 per year. Combined with other types of stores that also charge extra for bags, that amount can double or even triple. Instead of spending money on bags that will harm the environment, spend it on slightly pricier organic foods or a few cups of coffee.

4. Buy from eco-friendly brands and packaging.

This option may be more challenging, as more environmentally friendly products tend to be pricier. However, using the money saved up from bringing reusable bags to grocery stores, students can choose alternatives to big name brands that may be less harmful to the environment.

For example, there are many alternatives to laundry detergents that are not only eco-friendly but affordable as well. When buying milk or eggs, choose the products packaged using cardboard instead of plastic. Although a lot of the plastic packaging claim to be recyclable, not all of them can be recycled to the same level as paper-based packaging.

5. Give feedback to your school’s student government and demand more eco-friendly measures.

Many colleges have already started initiatives to transform their campuses into an environmentally friendly university, but a lot of colleges have not. The University of California school system has pushed for Zero Waste 2020, and has already diverted 69% of their trash from landfills.

However, other schools like my own college, USC, don’t even have recycling bins around campus. Make sure to reach out to your own campus about waste reduction as well as proper recycling practices. If a whole body of students demands more eco-friendly measures, universities are more likely to put those initiatives in place.

6. Avoid food products that use palm oil.

Palm oil has been linked to rainforest deforestation, which is extremely detrimental to our environment. Yet, many common food and home products still use palm oil knowing its effects. Popular food products such as Oreos and Pepperidge Farm cookies contain palm oil, while beauty brands such as Lancome and Neutrogena also use palm oil in their products.

When buying food and beauty products, check the ingredients of the good to see if they contain palm oil, and avoid buying products that do. Instead of Oreos, there are many alternative cookies that taste just as good without using palm oil. For beauty, there are even more brands to choose from.

7. Be mindful of your environmental impact.

It’s hard to constantly keep track of every single action that could harm the environment, and there’s no need to do that.

If every person is aware of the impact they’re leaving behind on the environment, as a whole society, we can greatly reduce our harmful environmental impacts.

Doing simple things like taking the metro instead of Ubering, throwing something recyclable into an actual recycle bin, and buying products that don’t contain palm oil are easy steps everyone can take without drastically altering their normal habits and patterns.

Since these methods don’t take much effort, “it takes too much time” or “I don’t have the power to help” are not excuses. Humans have exploited the environment too much already, so it is not a debate of whether we should or shouldn’t do something.

We have an obligation to limit the harm we inflict on our planet after everything we have already done.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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10 Things I Wish Animal Rights People Knew About The Livestock Industry

Get educated.

So last week, I wrote an open letter to PETA, calling them out on their lack of salvation for the animals burned by the recent wildfires. I received a lot of attention for this article, both good and bad.

In reading the comments posted in response by animal right's activists, I discovered some things that just didn't add up. Amidst the insults and hypocrisy, there were just some downright stupid assumptions that these people see as facts. It's not their fault, they're just uneducated, so I feel we as an industry should try to get some truth out there.

So, here are 10 things I wish animal right's supporters knew about the livestock industry:

1. A 20-25 year life expectancy for cows is not realistic.

Just because some cow somewhere lived to be 25 does not mean that they would live that long without the agriculture industry. Most cows used for beef production live to be about 13-15 years old and die of natural causes. In sandy environments, cows live around 5-9 years because the sand degrades their teeth to the point that they cannot eat.

2. Livestock would mate and reproduce each year without the help of humans.

I kinda thought it was common knowledge that most species cycle monthly when they reach sexual maturity. When females cycle, they do their best to get bred. There's no forcing going on there. If they were left in the wild, they would still mate and reproduce causing inbreeding.

SEE ALSO: Don't Buy That Coverup: Boycott Animal Testing

3. Farmers and Ranchers are not just upset at the loss of profit from these fires.

I couldn't believe my eyes the first time I read this, and then the second, and eighth. Farmers and ranchers are not only upset about the loss of profit, which is devastating, but also upset to see their animals suffer. Have you ever had to put something out of its misery? Watch a cow writhe around sluffing its charred flesh off, hear it wheeze, and watch a rancher put a bullet in its head out of pity, and I guarantee the sadness in that rancher's heart isn't about money.

4. All "momma cows" are not dairy cows.

There are hundreds of breeds of cattle out there. Some breeds have certain traits that are suited for different parts of production agriculture. Not every momma cow is milked by hand daily and her milk sold.

5. All dairy calves are not ripped from their mother and slaughtered moments after birth.

I don't know much about the dairy industry, but since it is up and running obviously there has to be live calves to grow into cows and bulls.

6. Beef cattle are not raised in closed quarters.

The operations that raise beef cattle from birth are called cow/calf operations. These cattle roam over large pastures and fields most of their lives.

7. Sheep are sheared for their own good.

I cannot count how many pictures I have seen posted by animal rights organizations of mutilated sheep. That's gross and unless someone is a complete dunce with a razor, that never happens. Sheep will overheat with a full coat, or become matted to the point he/or he cannot move.

8. There is not enough cropland to sustain everybody in the world.

Oh man, okay so as Animal Rights Activists you guys want us to let all the cows, horses, sheep, goats, and pigs roam at their own free will. You think we can all live off veggie-tales reruns and rainbows but that is not so. If all animals are roaming free, they have to eat too. So they need space, and the crops humans eat need space. IT WON'T WORK.

9. It's not all about the money.

Lol, yeah right. Have you worked in agriculture? The bank owns our asses.

10. It's not gonna happen.

You can go on your crusades, you can martyr yourselves. It's not gonna work. Meat will always be a necessity.

But mostly PETA people, get educated!

Cover Image Credit: Straight

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Finding Light On Your Rainy Days And Important Self Care

There are so many ways to treat yourself on days like this where everything just stops for a moment, the world is expecting nothing of us and instead allows nature take over that way we can relax.

With the weather being dreary and tiring over the last week and the forecast not looking the best for the next few days, there are many ways to bring to the surface on how to love the rainy days.

For starters, the day is most likely going to be a gloomy one which to me makes everything feel less serious.

You can be lazy all day and you won’t feel bad about it because nothing is expected of you in this moment.

Wrap yourself under the blankets and work with the darkness outside watching Netflix all day knowing you don’t have to get up.

I personally love to put on some music after and open the windows, that way I’m able to listen to the rain.

Sometimes baking is even nice to do, the saying calories don’t exist on the weekend I would say applies to rainy days as well.

Doing nothing is so relaxing and once you start to think of these kind of days in a positive light rather than a negative or moody kind of atmosphere you will realize how nice it is to let it all in.

There is something about the noise that comes with rain and thunder that takes over and allows you to just release any stress and not worry about anything.

I find that my best writing days are when the weather is bad like this because I’m not being overwhelmed by the silence or the anxiety of having other things to do, I know I can just sit here being that most people in my position are having an off day of responsibilities too.

Although I made the statement about doing nothing because no one expects anything out of you that also ties me to the point of why I like to use these days to get the best workout in.

Going for a run in the rain gives me something to be distracted on and for some reason it motivates me to keep going. I know if I’m able to get a hard work out in this I won’t feel so bad if I give myself a lighter workout a different day.

There is also no denying that being at the gym when the weather is bad makes me feel so much more confident in work ethic, the fact most people are lying in bed because “it’s raining” makes me feel unstoppable.

Sometimes I even find myself with at the library with coffee either reading or online shopping.

There are so many ways to treat yourself on days like this where everything just stops for a moment, the world is expecting nothing of us and instead allows nature take over that way we can relax.

In regards to that, next time you are handed one of these torrential downpours, let it excite you rather than frighten or sadden you and figure out the ways the make you learn to appreciate them.

Cover Image Credit: facebook audi photography public

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