Let's face it, our planet needs our help and it needs it fast. Climate change and the rate is going is a byproduct of human behavior. Yes, a small portion of climate change/ global warming could be the result of changes in the sun's energy, in other words, "solar irradiance" (which is out of our control). HOWEVER, the effects of this are rare and do not pose nearly as big of a threat as humans. The Earth's natural greenhouse is being manipulated by an increase in chemicals like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane.

One can argue that something like the release of carbon dioxide is "out of our control" because it is released by nature in the form of volcanic eruptions. But, if this was the case then the Earth's carbon footprint would be larger than ours and statistically, that is not the truth. So, now that we know that the reason why water levels are rising and why the weather has just been plain weird in some areas (not just "hot") is because of us. While we essentially can't reverse the damage already done, we can hit a pause button and reduce our carbon footprint going forward. Here are some simple and cool things you and your friends can do every day to make a difference!

1. Buy a Reusable Water Bottle

Photo by Taelynn Christopher on Unsplash

This is probably the easiest lifestyle change that you can make not only to improve your daily water intake, but help reduce how much plastic is being thrown into the environment. As we all know, plastic does not decompose and only finds itself into our oceans later. If anything, this is way more convenient than carrying around a plastic water bottle all day long, and you want you water to sat cold all day too right?

2. Shorten your Showers

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

I know the one thing we want to do after a long day is take a satisfying long, and hot shower. However, maybe try reducing your showers to 15 minutes! On average, about 2 gallons of water are being used every minute while showering so if you're used to taking hour showers, you can do the math.

3. Recycle!

Photo by Hamza Javaid on Unsplash

I know this seems pretty obvious, but sometimes people genuinely forget. So, here I am to remind you! However, remember that certain plastics like bottle caps, plastic bags, or styrofoam are NOT recyclable! Make sure to check the label on the container to double check or you can always look it up if you aren't sure!

4. Unplug

Photo by Mike Marquez on Unsplash

Trust me, your electric bill and the planet will both thank you for this! You would be surprised what a difference unplugging the coffeemaker can do! Just plug stuff in when you need to use them! Of course, with exception to things like the fridge and washing machine. Unplugging a little can go a long way!

5. Go Plant-Based!

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

I understand, going vegan or vegetarian can be difficult for some people, but I promise that any little change you make to your diet can impact the planet for the better! For example, producing meat requires a lot of energy and water. Producing just 1 pound of meat requires around 2,000 gallons of water! So, cutting out a meal with meat just once a week can go a LONG WAY. Anything helps. This lifestyle change will make you feel better physically and make mother Earth smile.

I hope that you are able to take at least one of these pieces of advice to incorporate into your everyday life. Major lifestyle changes can be difficult, especially when you're already used to living a certain way. But, the planet is begging for our help and it would be a shame to lose what beauty we have left. Like I also previously mentioned, the damage that has already been done can no longer be reversed; but we can try our best to stop the destruction of our home. If you believe climate change/ global warming is real (and I hope you do), not only will doing the 5 things I mentioned help, but also making sure we elect individuals that support the science as well! If you are still too young to vote or are trying to figure out who to vote for in upcoming elections, do research and make sure that you're not only voting for policies but for our planet, too.

In the past, there have been certain government officials that correlate climate change or global warming to only "hot" weather changes. While yes, the planet does become warmer due to the greenhouse gas effect, but it also consists of unusual weather changes in certain areas. For example, this year it snowed in some areas of the world where it definitely should not have. While it was a beautiful site, it should also be very alarming for what the future holds. Let's give our planet the attention she deserves and try to slowly heal her for the future's sake. I don't know about you, but I don't want to have to live underground due to our natural greenhouse turning extreme like Venus's