16 Simple Ways You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint In 2018

16 Simple Ways You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint In 2018

Even you can prevent environmental degradation.

It's the New Year, and with that comes New Year's resolutions. Mine this year and every year is to be more mindful of my impact on the environment. What makes a resolution successful has everything to do with how easily it can be integrated into your everyday life.

All of these tips require little to no money or resources but rely on limiting your consumption. The best way to limit your effects is not by remediating the problem, but avoiding the problem in the first place. Here are some things you can start doing today to lower your carbon footprint.

1. Lower your thermostat in the winter.

Lowering the temperature one degree saw a decrease of $10 on their monthly heating bill for some during this study done by the Environmental Protection Agency.

2. Conversely, raise your thermostat in the summer.

The less often you run your air conditioning unit, the less energy you will use.

3. Turn the water off while brushing your teeth.

Keeping the water running while brushing your teeth wastes about five gallons of water, according to the MWD. Once this water runs through your house it is brought back to a water treatment facility and processed, even though it hasn't been affected by use. Water is also a limited resource in some areas, so it's in everyone's best interest to be mindful of how much water they use, and how much they waste.

4. Buy local when possible.

27% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. Buying local decreases transportation use which heavily relies on petroleum products, specifically gasoline. The farther a product travels to get to you, the larger of a carbon footprint it carries.

5. Refuse straws.

Single-use straws are not biodegradable and are unable to be recycled due to their small size and inability to be properly sanitized. This means tons of plastic sits in landfills or is dumped into oceans where its consumed by aquatic life. Scientists are finding more and more sea creatures washed on shore with stomachs full of plastic.

6. Drive less.

This is a given. Lower your consumption of petroleum products by walking short distances and taking advantage of public transportation when possible.

7. Invest in reusable bags... and don't forget them at home!

Limiting your use of plastic bags decreases the amount of plastic produced. Invest in canvas bags and keep them in your car or at your front door so you never forget them. Bonus, you won't ever have to worry about recycling plastic bags again.

8. Turn off all lights and electronics when not in use.

Decreasing energy use is in your wallet's best interest. Like I remind my roommates through countless sticky notes and texts, if you're leaving the room, turn off the light!

9. Wash your clothes on cold.

Not heating your water before washing will save a ton of energy on your gas bill. Also, washing on cold prevents stains from setting, is gentler on clothes, and stops colors from bleeding. Win-win-win.

10. Accelerate slower from stops when driving.

Acceleration has a big impact on gas mileage, especially when driving in the city. Take more time to accelerate to the speed limit and it will take more time to need to visit the gas station.

11. Invest in reusable water bottles.

It's 2018. It's time we admit what bottled water is: a scam. They're expensive, wasteful, and unnecessary. Producing bottled water uses 17 million barrels of oil, equivalent to adding 1.3 million more cars to the roads. And if you like bottled water for the taste, 24% of bottled water sold in the United States is just filtered tap water. Save your money and just run your tap water through a Brita filter.

12. Same with coffee mugs.

Expect to also see a small discount when you visit your favorite coffee shops. Starbucks will take off ten cents from your drink when you use your own mug, and Dunkin Donuts offers any sized hot or iced coffee in your own mug for 99 cents.

13. Donate old clothes instead of throwing them out.

Much of our clothes are now made of manmade textiles which are made of way more plastic than you would think. Many clothing items are not biodegradable. Instead of sending your clothes to sit for hundreds of years in a landfill, donate them. You'll reduce waste while also helping someone in need.

14. Avoid meat and dairy one night a week (or more).

Agriculture is the greatest immediate threat to ecosystems around the world. Large amounts of land are deforested for farming and heavy pesticide use and waste runoff degrade the soil and pollute our water. Without going full vegan, cutting our meat and dairy specifically can cut down on industrial pollution.

15. Support environmental legislation.

State and local elections are incredibly important and always happen once a year! This is your opportunity to elect representatives that have you and the environment in mind. Choose representatives based on their opinions of environmental protection. Now more than ever we need legislation to protect public land trusts and regulate industrial pollution.

16. Be mindful of companies you support.

If you're thinking "hey, do all of these things really make a real difference?" this tip is for you. Only buy from companies who values align with yours and publically boycott those who don't. Your voice and your money have power. With the advent of social media, there is no knowing how much impact the next generations will have on climate change. There is still hope, but it's on us to do the work.

Happy New Year. Implement as many of these tips as you can into your daily life. Not only will they save you some money here and there, but you can feel better about your energy consumption and carbon footprint.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.

The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.

2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.

3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.

4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).

5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.

6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.

7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.

8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.

9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.

10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.

11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.

12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.

13. Goblin Shark

This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.

14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.

15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.

16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.

17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.

18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.

19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.

And finally....

20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Why Dogs Are Better Than Cats

Pick the Pet in this PETty comPETition


I hear about the never-ending battle between how we should choose between 2 different domesticated animals even though we can have both and it not be a problem and is, therefore, a PETty comPETition (petty and comPETition are puns with the word pet in it): dogs and cats. Which one is better? Should we choose one over another? Yes, we should choose dogs over cats. Dogs are better, and all I can do is offer this listicle as a list of reasons why dogs are better than cats. I do not currently have any pets, and I have not had one since January of 2017. However, I still have a testimony:

1. We have dog shows not cat shows

Everyone knows that cats cannot be trained to do anything. Therefore, they are useless animals. This may sound harsh at first, but the definition of being useful is having a use. Cats don't do anything except lounge around and break glass dishes when the glass is in their path on a table and the cat thinks that the glass needs to be moved instead of moving around it. Dogs, however, can fetch and be walked in civilized society.

2. Dogs Guard Homes

Dogs will bark at anything that moves or nothing at all. They will chase the vermin away from your beloved home and garden. Do cats guard your home? No. If a burglar tries to break into your house, the cat may hide or sleep it off. The cat may act territorial of the space, but only towards other cats. How useless.

3. Dogs are more valued

A special purebred dog can cost more than $1000 dollars, which is a lot more than the number of stray cats that people tend to accumulate out of kindness. Cats are not divided between purebred and given special sheets of paper that describe their pedigree. In contrast, new names are given to dogs as they breed together because people actually care about the different types of dogs there are in the world. Nobody cares about the pedigree of cats. Nobody should.

4. Dogs do not make you earn their love

As a child, I found it upsetting that cats would not immediately love me or make me work for their affection. No one should ever feel like love is conditional, and that is exactly what cats do. Dogs, however, love humans. Loving humans does not make dogs stupid. In fact, dogs are intelligent enough to learn tricks and ascertain certain aspects of their owner. Dogs care about their owners. Cats become passive aggressive when they are not given enough attention and will break delicate glass dishes if they are in their way on the table.

There are outliers for these reasons: sometimes a dog can emulate his inner Cujo and harm people. Sometimes, cats know how to cuddle and be comforting. However, dogs are better than cats the majority of the time. Since we mostly value answers based on a majority for most decisions, the majority is what matters.

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