Little Lifestyle Changes You Can Make To Live More Sustainably

Little Lifestyle Changes You Can Make To Live More Sustainably

The small changes you make now can have a big impact on the future.
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It's no secret that sustainable living is important, but the idea of a sustainable lifestyle is intimidating, to say the least. You may want to start making changes in your life but may not know how. Or, you may not even know what sustainability really is.

Essentially, sustainability is how we meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. Little changes that you implement in your daily routine can make big waves in the grand scheme of things. What you do now matters in the long run.

Chances are, you've heard R3 (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) time and time again. I will tell you not only how to effectively follow R3, but also how to Be Mindful while you do it.

Reduce

Taking time to consider the impact of the resources you use every day on the earth. 72% of our earth is made of water. While that sounds great, once you factor in the water that makes up our oceans, icecaps, and salt lakes, less than 1% of that is drinkable. While the water coming out of your sink faucet won't run out anytime soon, eventually it could. Take the time now to reduce your water usage (and, in turn, it'll reduce your utility bill at the end of the month!).

You can also take steps to reduce your carbon emissions into the atmosphere without making a drastic change to your lifestyle. Try to reduce the time you spend driving your car alone. You can carpool with a friend or two or get healthy and ride your bike or walk where you need to go! You can also take measures in your home to reduce carbon emission by turning off the lights when you leave a room, don't turn your thermostat up too high or down too low and make it overwork, and you can insulate your home to reduce drafts and air leaks!

Reuse

Plastic bags fall through our fingers faster than we realize. The last time you went the grocery store and left your cloths bags in your car, you probably walked out with 20 or more plastic, single-use grocery bags in your hands - especially if you asked the cashier to double bag your milk. Many counties are taking initiative and banning plastic bags in order to promote reusable bags in everyday life!

It is also important to abstain from using single-use water bottles, zip lock bags, and styrofoam food containers. Instead, invest in reusable water bottles and Tupperware containers! Not only will you be treating the earth well, you won't have to take your trash our nearly as often as you do now! Reusable containers are convenient for travel and if you take your own cup to Starbucks, you save 10 cents on your order!

Recycle

Obviously, recycling is an important factor in sustainability, but many of us don't know proper recycling techniques! One of the most important things to know is that not everything that has a recycling symbol on it can be recycled in your county. That number inside of the three arrows means something! Check on your county's website and see what you can recycle and what you can't.

You can't recycle anything that has any food or chemical waste on it. So that cardboard pizza box with the grease and cheese stuck to the bottom is a no-go. So is your milk carton until you've rinsed it out completely and there is no food waste. Fun fact: you can recycle the container that holds Lysol wipes - but not until after you've rinsed it out.

You also cannot recycle staples, paper cups, or straws.

Be Mindful

In addition to educating yourself on the R3 system, educate yourself on products that are simply good or bad for the earth. One of the most detrimental substances is plastic. Most of the time when we use plastic, we know it, but recently something has popped up called a microbead. Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic that can be used in toothpaste or facewash. Microbeads also fully compose containers of glitter. Since they can be found in products that are often just washed down a drain, microbeads are sent directly to waterways that contain marine life that mistake the beads for food. Then we eat the marine life that ate the plastics, and you get the picture. Not only does our misuse of plastics affect other life, in the grand scheme of things, it affects us too.

There are many things to be mindful of when it comes to sustainability, and if we don't research them, chances are we'll never know. Implement small changes in your life now and you will make a big impact on the future.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

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I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Dear Young Voices Of America, Stand Up, Speak Up, And Do Something

Our time is now.

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Dear young voices of America, I think we can both agree that we are sick of being told we are America's future while simultaneously being told our opinions don't matter. Now I personally do not listen to the people that tell me I'm better seen than heard; however, I know there are people that are a little timider when it comes to raising their voices. I am here to encourage you to be loud and speak up on topics that matter to you. There is no better time than the present to make your voice heard. Whether you are advocating for change in your school or the government, your opinion matters and is relevant.

We are the future of our country. How are we supposed to evoke change and reform if we can't have our voices heard? I call bullshit and I think it's time to take action. Even if you're the first or only person to advocate for your cause, be that person. Don't be afraid of anyone that tries to stand in your way. The only person that can stop you from speaking up for yourself and your cause is you. No matter how many nos you have to hear to get a yes or how many doors you have to knock on to get someone to open up, never give up. Never give up on your cause, never give up on yourself or the people you're representing, just don't do it. There is someone out there that supports you. Maybe they're just too shy to raise their voice too. Be encouraging and be supportive and get people to take a stand with you.

It is never too early or too late to start thinking about your future or to take action. But don't hesitate to say something. The sooner you start speaking up, the sooner you have people joining you and helping you, and the sooner you start to see and experience change. So get up, make that sign, write that letter, make that phone call, take part in that march, give that speech. Do whatever you feel fit to get your point across. Shout it from the rooftops, write it on your profile, send it in a letter, ignore everyone that tries to tell you to give up. Maybe they don't understand now, maybe they don't want to listen, maybe they're afraid to listen, but the more you talk about it and help them understand what exactly you are trying to get across, they will join you.

Even when it feels like you have nobody on your side but yourself, I am on your side. I will cheer you on, I will march with you hand in hand, I will write letters and make phone calls and help you find your voice. My life changed when I found my voice and yours will too.

So dear young voices of America, the time is now. Your time is now. Don't be afraid of the obstacles that you may have to face. Someone is out there waiting for you, waiting to grab your hand and march on with you. As Tarana Burke once said "Get up. Stand up. Speak up. Do something."

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