Scrolling through social media and seeing the posts about the starving polar bears and dying sea life break my heart. I normally scroll quickly past to avoid almost tearing up at the sight of the images. However, recently one of my goals has been to stop turning a blind eye to the obvious issues and do my part (no matter how small) in helping the environment. These are all super simple ways that require little to no effort that can make a huge difference in the environment. It doesn't seem like what we do makes a difference in the grand scheme of things, but every effort counts, and the more people that hold themselves responsible for their actions, the better the environment will be.
Using reusable cups
Every time I go into Starbucks I am shocked at just how much plastic is thrown away. The garbage can is normally overflowing with plastic cups, lids, and straws. It is crazy to think about how many people go to Starbucks daily to just end up throwing all that plastic away. Buying the two dollars reusable cup is something that everyone can do. It would help eliminate billions of cups being thrown out each year. Plus, Starbucks offers a discount to anyone that brings in a reusable cup, so in the long run, it is a win-win.
Stop buying plastic silverware
As a busy college student, it is so much easier to buy the plastic forks and spoons that you can just throw out instead of washing. However, taking the 20 seconds to rinse off a fork is so worth it in the long run. It will not only save you money by not having to buy the plastic silverware, but it can prevent that fork from ending up in the stomach of an animal.
Buy a reusable water bottle
This is something that everyone should do, not only for the environment but for your bank account. Plastic water bottles are expensive, and who wants to spend $2 on water?
Having separate a recycling bin next to your garbage-can will make it easy to recycle. This can help ensure that the plastic and aluminum cans do not end up in the oceans or in a landfill for hundreds of years.
Walking instead of driving
It is much easier to just jump in a car to drive a mile down the road to run errands, but if we all did our best to take those extra 15 minutes and walk instead, it would make a huge difference in the emissions that are causing global warming. Plus, getting those extra steps in never hurt anyone!
Carpooling and taking the bus
If it is too far to walk, or cold and rainy (which seems to be the case a lot in Kentucky), then using public transportation or carpooling with friends is a great way to do your part in helping the environment. Lexington has a great public transport system, so you can almost guarantee there is a bus for all the essential places you need to go. This will not only help with emissions but also save you so much money in gas!
Cook at home
As easy as driving through somewhere or getting take out is, it produces a huge amount of waste because of the plastic it comes in to guarantee freshness. Instead, buying fresh ingredients at a grocery store and making your own meals can reduce a lot of waste. There are plenty of simple recipes out there that can be ready to eat in less than 10 minutes. This will also help your bank account, because who wants to pay for a seven dollar salad when you can make your own for under three.
Eat less meat
Scientists say that raising cows, pigs and chickens generate as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks, and automobiles combined. By eating less meat and dairy each week we can have a huge impact on the health of our environment. Many people participate in Meatless Mondays which is an easy way to cut down on meat intake. There are so many amazing recipes that do not have meat in them.
Buy recycled shoes
This sounds strange, but there are some great shoe brands out there that make their shoes out of completely recycled materials. One of the new brands out that many people are raving about is Allbirds. They come in many different styles and are so comfortable. Anyone can find a style they love and can feel good about.
Picking up trash
As spring approaches, and the ice and snow disappear, the litter that has built up over the winter begins to pile up. By simply picking up the trash you see instead of ignoring it can make a huge difference. It is something we all can do to not only help our environment but also make Lexington more appealing.