On October 8th, 2018 the United Nations released a statement on the effects of Global Warming. It basically states that if we don't take action now, by 2030 the effects and dangers of climate change will be practically irreversible.
As the world has collectively begun to industrialize, we've been so occupied with the advantages that these advances in technology bring and we've ignored the potential consequences that come with those. Now that we have the curse of hindsight, we are able to see where everything went wrong. Unfortunately, there is a whole group of people whose refusal to acknowledge the fate of the world is affecting the change that we can bring to this planet.
Companies, corporations, they profit off of using certain resources that affect the planet badly. An example would be gas, oil and coal industries which are the main contributors to the emission of greenhouse gases, which negatively affects climate change.
There is a point in time where the state of this planet trumps money. And that point is now.
People are so used to living in their comfort zones, and I am most definitely not exempt from that; however, if there was ever a moment in your life where one should set aside their comforts and make some sacrifices for the greater good, it's now.
If you've been on social media, then you have seen the #10yearslater trend where people post pictures from 2009 to 2019 in order to share how much they have changed. There are many public figures who have hopped on to this trend in order to share the changes to our environment (for the worst) in the past 10 years.
There are some people who are going to read this article and feel sad but go about their daily lives, unable to sacrifice even the slightest amount of comfort. But, I hope, that there are more of you who are willing to join in on the movement with me, as we learn to lead a slightly less convenient life to a "still very convenient just not as much" life.
Here are small ways that you can help the environment:
Use reusables whenever you can.
Reusable bags, water bottles, containers, STRAWS, literally so many things that you can buy and reuse which will save both your money and the world.
As a college student, you get a lot of free stuff. Don't take those stupid bags for granted and instead bring them with you when you go grocery shopping. Which brings me to my next point...
Try to shop local and organic.
By shopping locally, you are supporting smaller and local farms which stops those farms from being bought out for commercial use and it also holds local farmers accountable for making sure their products are produced in an ecologically advantageous way. It also helps the travel impacts of getting food shipped from bigger corporate farms, which is always a benefit for the environment.
Try to find alternative forms of transportation.
Traveling by bike, taking public transport, carpooling and walking are great ways to help reduce your carbon footprint. Personally speaking, this is the most inconvenient one for me, just because my car has become such a vital part of my day-to-day life. But there are always little things that we can do! For example, I live right next to Walmart, so instead of driving there to grocery shop, like I usually do (especially in the summer when it's scalding hot), I can suck it up and walk there. And I can even carry my groceries in my awesome reusable bags!
Reduce your meat intake.
Unfortunately, the way in which big farming industries grow their livestock and make their meat for shipping to grocery stores is incredibly impactful to the environment in a very bad way. By reducing the number of times a day, a week, a month and a year you eat meat, you can greatly benefit the environment.
Pay attention to how you use energy.
Change to energy efficient light bulbs. Turn off the lights when you're not in the room. Unplug all of the appliances you can when you're not currently using them. Pay attention to your thermostat and really ask yourself whether you truly need the temperature to be 72 degrees at all times.
There are a lot more things that you can do to help the planet; however, those five are relatively easy places to start.
On MLK Day, I volunteered at a club to serve food to the homeless and/or disadvantaged. I met a man who didn't have much that he owned, nevertheless, he spent most of the time that he ate with us, telling us about how we can reduce our impact on the environment. He made me realize that all of my internalized feelings about being inconvenienced, about life being too busy right now as a college student, that I already have a lot on my plate; these are all products of my ignorance. If this man can do his part to save the Earth, even with everything he has to worry about, then I sure as hell can too.