Sometimes, it is easy to lose sight of the world around us. We fall into our daily routines and fail to notice the beauty we live on, Earth, and while doing so, we fail to take proper care of her. To become better caretakers, I have composed a list of 7 easy ways to help our environment and those living in it (people AND animals). After all, we only get one Earth, so let's love her.

1. Use less plastic waste

So you're a busy bee, and that's okay. You may eat your meals on the go or away from home more often than not, and you are forced to use plastic waste... eh, not really. Each time you order a fountain drink or bottle of water, you are contributing to the increase of plastic waste consuming the world we share. Instead try purchasing a reusable cup or container, or even reusable stainless steel straws (because save the turtles!). Starbucks will even reward you with a discount for doing so.

2. Try a couple meatless meals

Contrary to popular belief, meat is not necessary for survival. Shocked, huh? While becoming a vegetarian or vegan may not be for everyone, it is still possible to help the animals that inhabit our earth. Many people do not understand the impact that unethical agricultural practices have on this planet, deforestation and contributing to the increased disease we face as Americans. Try replacing a meal with tofu, pasta, or mushrooms!

3. Research legislation regarding the environment

Channel your inner Leslie Knope and become passionate about the earth we are so lucky to live on. It is up to you to become aware of changes and progressions within our environmental legislation. In most situations, it is up to the politicians and legislators to decide how we treat our earth, so let them know how you feel! Call your senators and congressmen to weigh in on the epidemic that is global warming. Use your voice to promote something larger than yourself and go to the polls to vote. It only takes a simple voice to change how someone sees our world: let it be yours.

4. Go outside

The need for new and improved outdoor recreation is constant— and we have everything we could ever need right at the tips of our fingers. Instead of spending money to spend a day outdoors, try a free, nature-preserving alternative like a picnic at the park or a nature hike through the forest. Options are endless and they do not have to break your bank.

5. Volunteer

You've been told most of your adolescent years that you should volunteer, and for once, they're not wrong. If you put back in what you take out of your environment, then this new increase of global warming and environmental destruction could decline. All you have to do is find an organization you are passionate about and work with or even create an initiative to better our environment. Whether it be recycling, picking up trash, or even educating those unaware about ways to contribute to a thriving world.

6. Stop eating so many processed foods

This one is about you and your health. America is a leading country in the area of obesity, and it directly correlates to the increase in the normality of processed goods in the diets of Americans. In schools we see a rise in vending machines containing sugary snacks and drinks. Aside from the obvious health concerns, these goods also produce an absurd amount of plastic and waste, directly affecting our environment.

7. Try more cruelty-free products

Many Americans are unaware of how the products they use every day are tested. Products go through a series of trials and testing and for some companies they choose to test their products on innocent, furry creatures. So why do so many people continue to use these products? The answer is usually ignorance and lack of knowledge. Instead, try spending more time reading the labels on the back of your shampoo bottles and less time sniffing out the best scent. Try some awesome products from ETHICAL brands like "Tarte", "LUSH", and "NYX." You will look great while feeling guilt-free about the products you are using.

Use this article to gradually incorporate earth-benefiting practices into your daily life. It takes a few simple changes to help a world in need. We need to show Mother Nature some love, guys!