I’ve been thinking lately about the different ways each individual can make a positive impact on this world.
We hear it all the time: The forests are disappearing, the bees are dying, other extinction rates are growing swiftly, and the amount of damage human beings are inflicting upon this world seems to be never-ending.
But what if there were small changes we could all make to reverse the damage we’ve done?
We’ve been told since we were small children to be mindful and use the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Unfortunately, though, not everything can be reduced, reused, and recycled. So what happens then? We throw it away.
We toss our garbage into landfills and pray that it doesn’t wind up in the oceans or have too large of an impact on the world we live in. Sadly, though, many if not most, garbage we place in landfills eventually winds up where it was never intended to be causing destruction in its midst.
This is the only world we have. We don’t have a backup earth that we can inhabit when this one dies. It’s time we all start making changes, both big and small, to save the planet, ourselves and our fellow inhabitants.
1. Stop wasting water.
By simply turning the water off when you brush your teeth you can save gallons upon gallons of an element that supplies us with life.
2. Use reusable shopping bags.
Plastic shopping bags that we throw away every time we go to the store almost always wind up in our oceans. On top of that, plastic bags may not decompose for thousands of years and is often times mistaken for food by marine animals. When a plastic bag is consumed by a marine animal, it winds up starving and killing the animal. Then when the body of the animal decomposes, another animal mistakes that same plastic bag for a meal. This process continues for a very long time, leaving a path of death and destruction in its wake.
3. Plant trees.
Because of deforestation, many animals are losing their homes and then wind up in areas where they shouldn’t be, specifically too close to people. We are also losing many of the plants that make up our medications because of deforestation. By planting some trees in your yard, or maybe taking part in a “re-treeing the park” event you can make a small impact in your own community. If not for the medications and to help wildlife, perhaps you should do it just for the oxygen.
You don’t have to do this one alone either. There are many organizations that you can volunteer with. If you live in or near Virginia a good one is Tree Fredericksburg.
4. Plant flowers.
The bees are dying people! When they die, we all die! I don’t like bees as much as the next person doesn't like bees...maybe even more so. But, I understand that they play a role in my survival. Therefore, I want them to live. But, before you just go and willy-nilly plant some flowers make sure they’re bee-friendly!
5. Use a good old fashioned coffee pot.
I used to have a Keurig and when I had it, I truly liked it. I used reusable k-cups instead of the disposable kind, but now that I drink more than one cup at a time, a Keurig just won’t do. However, to those of you who have a Keurig and don’t use the reusable k-cups, I beg you to do your research. Coffee pods can take 150 to 500 years to break down and decompose! That’s insanely ridiculous. An interesting article you can read on the subject can be found here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-24/former-nespr...
6. Use reusable water bottles.
My favorite reusable water bottle is a waterman canteen by corkcicle. It keeps drinks cold for up to 25 hours and hot beverages steamy for up to 12. The bottle comes in different sizes and colors so you kind find one that fits your flare, style, and need easily. Now, this bottle may seem a bit expensive, but if you want a bottle that will last (it’s doesn’t break) it’s a great pick! You can find your new favorite water bottle here: https://corkcicle.com/products/waterman-canteen?va...
7. Ditch the straw.
Straws, although providing us with the ability to not spill on ourselves, are evil. Many of us use straws about once per day at least. Sadly, these straws wind up in the oceans just like everything else and wind up hurting and killing wildlife. Specifically, the straws are affecting the sea turtles. You can find videos and photographs online showing straws stuck in turtles noses. Imaging how painful and uncomfortable that must be. If you absolutely must use a straw you can find reusable ones such as these: https://www.amazon.com/REGULAR-Silicone-Straws-Tum...
8. Quit the plastic silverware.
When eating out, sometimes meals require utensils. Many cancer patients prefer to use plastic utensils over silverware because the chemo leaves them with a metallic taste in their mouth. As a compromise, here’s a reusable set of utensils made from bamboo that anyone, can use no matter where they are. https://www.amazon.com/Premium-Bamboo-Reusable-3-P...
9. Use public transportation.
Not everyone has this option, but if you do, use it. It will not only help save the environment, but it will save you money, and let's face it, you have fun.
10. Go Plogging!
Plogging is the new fitness craze in Sweeden that also helps the environment. When plogging, participants go for a jog and pick up the trash they see along the way. If you're a germaphobe, I suggest you wear a pair of washable gloves. Let’s get this workout craze to spread across the globe!
11. Go fluorescent.
Fluorescent lights use less electricity and they last longer saving you money on both the bulb itself and your electric bill! Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Better yet, don’t use lights. Open the blinds for that nice natural light.
12. Solar power is all the rage.
I’m a big proponent of solar power. Although a more expensive investment to begin with, it should save you big in the long haul. If I had enough money to make that large investment now, I’d be all over going solar. Until that time comes though, I’m all about natural light, and open windows, and only using what I need.
13. Use a biodegradable phone case.
We go through cell phones like crazy, always wanting the latest and greatest technology and each time we upgrade we have to get a new case to fit and protect the expensive device we just purchased. All of our old cases wind up in the trash. A new company based in Canada, Pela, has created a biodegradable phone case that does its job but will decompose when the time comes for your next upgrade. You can purchase one at the following link: https://pelacase.com
14. Use multi-purpose pencils.
We write every day. An option rather than a pen or regular pencil is one which when it becomes too short to use, you plant and it grows an herb, flower, or veggie These pencils are made by Make The World Sprout! They offer graphite and colored pencils that can be personalized with a message on the side too! You can visit their site to learn more and check out Amazon to purchase! https://sproutworld.com https://www.amazon.com/s?marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0D...
15. Reduce, reuse, recycle
If this isn’t something that your community does you can easily take your own recycling to a recycling plant. If you are trying to decide between two products, pick the one with the least amount of packaging. Reduce the amount of waste you produce. Donate your unused things to Goodwill for someone else to reuse rather than throw them away.
16. Start a home compost
Think about it, we produce a lot of trash in a year. Compost makes a great fertilizer for those bee-friendly plants we talked about earlier. Not sure how to do it or where to start? Check out this article for tips! https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
17. Drive smarter
Underinflated tires decrease your fuel economy. Traveling 70 to 80 miles per hour does too! Decrease your speed, safely, and keep your tires at the proper pressure. You’ll help the environment and your wallet.
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"I don't know how to save the world. I don't have the answers or The Answer. I hold no secret knowledge as to how to fix the mistakes of generations both past and present. I only know that without compassion and respect for all of Earth's inhabitants, none of us will survive — nor will we deserve to." — Leonard Peltier