"Save our planet!" is a phrase we hear often in this day and age. Unfortunately, it's not just the ramblings of an apocalypse hunter, but a real concern.
Now, to preface this, you should know: our planet is fine. What do I mean? How can I say that? Look at our oceans! Our wildlife! The starving polar bears! I'm not in any way saying that our planet is healthy, I'm just saying that our planet has survived conditions that were much worse than those of today.
What's the difference then? Today, with the number of people on the planet, electricity, fossil fuels, etc, the carbon dioxide in the air is increasing at a much higher rate. While the concentration of CO2 in the air is not the highest its ever been, it's rising more rapidly than ever.
So what should we do? I know that being environmentally friendly can be time-consuming and expensive. Instead of dishing out a bunch of money, here are some cheap, easy ways to help protect our planet this Earth Day.
Don't Wash It
If it doesn't smell, don't wash it! According to the University of Michigan's Planet Blue initiative, the average washing machine uses 13,500 gallons of water a year. Instead of washing clothing after one wash, wear it twice before throwing it in the washer. If you want to take this another step further, make your own laundry detergent and lay your clothes out to dry instead of using a dryer.
Skip Red Meat
I know we aren't all vegetarians, but skipping red meat once a week is enough to make a difference. According to Greenpeace, the livestock sector produces as much greenhouse gas as car emissions. In fact, cattle are the number one source of methane in the atmosphere.
Get A Travel Coffee Mug
This one kind of goes without saying, but not only does it save the planet, but a lot of times it also saves you money. Many coffee shops, Starbucks included, allow you to bring in your own coffee cup and take a percentage off for using your own cup.
As a broke college student, my favorite discovery has been Goodwill. You're probably wondering, what does thrift shopping have to do with the environment? According to a fashion blog titled Unwrinkling, "Producing synthetic fibers like polyester requires lots of energy, as well as crude oil like petroleum; byproducts include toxic gases and chemicals. Sadly, pesticides used on most plants mean that even cotton and linen garments have a negative impact."
With the recent news that plastic straws have been killing sea turtles in the ocean, reusable straws have become all the rage. With all different kinds of options, you can save the environment and look cool doing it.
Pay Your Bills Online
This may seem like a strange one, but the amount of paper wasted by companies mailing bills is absurd. Instead, pay all your bills online. Save paper. Save trees.
If you own anything that takes batteries, rechargeable batteries are so worth your money. Not only will the save you money in the long run, but they also keep the highly toxic, highly corrosive batteries out of landfills.
This is no surprise. Plastic bags = bad.
So, this Earth Day set a goal to make every day a little more like Earth Day. Our planet deserves to be treated with respect! And not having enough time to alter our habits is not an excuse.