7 Small Ways To Make Big Environmental Changes

7 Small Ways To Make Big Environmental Changes

You don't have to be an environmentalist to make a difference - small, daily changes have a big impact too.

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It can be hard to believe you can make a difference sometimes. When it comes to the environment, it's even harder. We assume we can't do much - we don't have the money, the education, the accessibility. This isn't true. There are things we do daily that negatively affect the environment more than we think, and limiting this alone can help tremendously, especially if you spread the word to your friends.

Here are some things you can add to your life that are a bit more eco-friendly.

1. Switch over to a bamboo toothbrush.

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Sometimes we don't realize something like a toothbrush, but they are something made out of plastic usually when they don't have to be. Not only do they compose faster, but often times they are made out of charcoal bristles which naturally whitens your teeth!

2. Drop plastic bags and use reusable bags.

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Plastic bags are often something we use too much of. Next time you go food shopping, try bringing reusable bags instead. Some stores may even offer you a discount. You can get fun with it and buy a matching set!

3. Use metal straws instead of plastic.

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This is one of the most well known environmentally friendly changes, but it does make a difference. One metal straw is equivalent to 540 plastic straws. You can put them in a container or pouch and take them with you anywhere! Obviously, sometimes you'll be putting them in a plastic cup. This doesn't mean you're not making a difference, or that it's cancelling out. Any time you would normally use a plastic straw - like a restaurant for example -and you use a metal straw instead, you've contributed. Some packs of metal straws come with a cleaner too!

4. Invest in a reusable cup instead of water bottles.

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We waste so much plastic when we go to our daily coffee shop and get their plastic cups, or when we drink out of water bottles every day. Sometimes, you have no choice. But you can help limit that usage by switching to reusable cups. Get into the habit of bringing it with you! Some stores may even offer you a little discount when you use your own cup instead!

5. Use a drinking filter.

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When you need water for your reusable cups, try from the sink! Getting a water filter limits the amount of tubes or bottles of water you buy.

6. Sell or donate clothes.

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Sometimes we forget that it isn't just trash that is polluting our lands or beaches, but also clothes! If you have clothes that are still good, sell or donate them! If they are a little bit up, try cutting them and recycling them as rags!

7. Stop buying batteries - get rechargeable ones.

Battery Energy Charging Supply Means Source

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Batteries are obviously made up of chemicals, and using them and throwing them out is never good for landfills. If you switch to rechargeable batteries, you help the environment and your bank account all in one!


They are so many small changes you can make daily. You can't do everything, but if everyone invest a bit more in the present, we can help lead us to a healthier future. Look how easy it is to make a difference.

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Are Plastic Straws Really Killing Sea Turtles?

It's no secret that plastic isn't great for the environment, but how sensationalized is this topic actually becoming?

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When I first saw a video of a sea turtle getting a plastic drinking straw removed from its nostril, I was obviously upset like any other viewer would be. I care a lot about the environment and about animal life and it was upsetting to see that a product of human consumption and ignorant waste was destroying precious parts of our world. I wholeheartedly jumped on the bandwagon of "plastic straws kill sea turtles!!!" but only knew about the issue from this video and what I heard from people or saw on social media. The whole topic of plastic waste into the ocean remained in the back of my mind until the recent pledge of Starbucks to stop using plastic straws in stores by 2020 reminded me of the issue.

As the topic of plastics and their pollution of the environment (largely the oceans) has become so recently powerful I decided to do some research of my own. If I was going to tell people to stop using plastic straws because they were killing sea turtles, I wanted to be sure that I wasn't just repeating everything I heard from social media.

Turns out, plastic straws are hurting sea turtles and other marine life, but a lot of what I thought about plastic waste was exaggerated (at least from what I had heard from others). Sea birds are the most impacted creature by plastic straws, not sea turtles. About 1 million or more seabirds die every year from ingesting plastic straws and choking on them. In research from recent scientific studies, 80-90% of seabirds have some kind of plastic inside of their stomachs. Also, the ecological footprint that plastic straws alone leave on the planet is actually pretty small compared to food waste or fossil fuels.

However, all the buzz about sea turtles may come from the fact that globally 86% of sea turtle species are known to be affected by plastic debris. Overwhelming amounts of plastic garbage in the ocean have caused a steady decline of the leatherback sea turtle over the past several years, so much that they have been placed on the endangered species list. Plastics can hinder eating and consumption, breathing abilities, and even reproductive capabilities of all kinds of sea turtles.

So while plastic straws may not be killing sea turtles in hordes, they are killing sea birds, and plastic overall have caused huge and deadly effects to many sealife species. We have known that plastic is bad for the environment and the oceans for quite a while, given the fact that the Great Garbage Patch was discovered almost 20 years ago, so it's more than time to start caring about the problem. If we can eliminate single-use plastic straws that aren't biodegradable, we can stop using other single-use plastics and make a better effort to reduce our harmful impacts on the oceans. Individually, we can move towards small changes, which can move our society to a more sustainable and healthy place. If you are more interested in this topic, I would suggest reading about how you can make a change or looking at this article and checking out this scientific journal.

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Vinicius Amano

@viniciusamano

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Being Sustainable Is Hard But It's Not Impossible

Although we've all heard of climate change and have witnessed the disastrous effects that humans have had on the environment, it still seems like most people are not subscribing to the ideals of sustainability.

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Sustainability is a tricky term. Most people that hear about it eventually put in the back of their minds, the same place they put "student loans" and "crippling depression." Most people know that to adhere to this ideal would mean to change how they live.

Sustainability is about adopting behaviors and systems that will ensure that the Earth is around for many generations after ours. Sustainability aims to preserve the Earth in terms of seven generations ahead. Seven generations after ours and societies on Earth will be using entirely different systems than what we do now, therefore, we should start this process now to ensure that they will be able to live comfortably and sustainably.

This is where most people tune out, understandably so. It's hard for us to think about the implications of our actions and how they will affect life on Earth much after our own deaths. It suddenly seems like an incomprehensible problem that no one person can ever solve.

"My actions won't make a difference," most people say, convinced that just because they stop eating meat or buying plastic or start drinking from paper straws, that nothing will change. However, what they fail to consider is how their actions will influence the minds of others around them, and one person who stops eating meat or using plastic sends a ripple effect through the people surrounding them. One person making lifestyle changes in the name of sustainability leads others to suddenly consider, "maybe I should eat less meat?" or "maybe I won't use single-use plastics anymore?"

The idea is not that any one person picking up plastic on the beach is going to save the planet, but rather that through education and awareness, we will all take small steps to preserve our home. Large groups of people all taking small steps leads to big changes, and politics and the economy will follow the demand of the people.

The most difficult thing for most people to do is to adopt those small behavioral changes. Not everyone can afford to stop eating meat, but everyone can afford to opt out of single-use plastics. Buying a personal water bottle is one easy way to do this. Stop buying plastic water bottles just to throw them away. If you need to buy them, make sure to recycle them. Instead of taking plastic silverware and straws from restaurants, bring your own reusable set.

Understandably, most of you are already cringing. It's hard to go against the grain and commit to living a plastic-free lifestyle for the sake of sustainability. And what about when you go to Chipotle with your zero-waste kit and somebody asks you a question about why you have that? Fear or convincing themselves that it's "inconvenient" will keep most of you from adopting these little changes that, over time, make a huge difference in the amount of plastic we put in our oceans.

Although we can't all be leaders of huge sustainability efforts to clean our oceans or buy an electric car, we can all make small changes to mitigate this tragic problem. On our current track, the last half of our lives will be starkly different from the first half, for the worse. Educate yourself and be part of the solution instead of the problem.

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