Unfortunately, humans have not proved to be good stewards of the planet Earth over the years. We are responsible for the toxic water, air, and soil, let alone other major environmental problems like extreme levels of pollution. This is exactly why, every year, over 9 million people die as an indirect or direct result of pollution. Shockingly, these figures are three times the deaths witnessed due to malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDs combined.
Also, most of the damage caused to our environment commonly stems from consumption, such as how much we consume, what we consume, and how often. No matter if it’s about clothing, food, water, cars, toys, furniture, knick-knacks, electronics, and other goods, in the end, we all are consumers. Also, the idea is not to avoid or stop consuming altogether but to start educating ourselves and being mindful of our consumption patterns while understanding how each action or purchase affects the ecosystem.
How Can We Protect The Ecosystem Without Undergoing Major Changes?
Well, to preserve the planet and protect our environment for future generations and children, we must take at least some proactive steps towards cleaner living habits. The good news is that learning and becoming more environmentally friendly is not that difficult, inconvenient, or even expensive. For instance, you can easily get prepared, develop skills, manage, and respond to public health aspects of artificial and natural disasters by pursuing a relevant degree like an online master in disaster management.
In fact, make it a fun challenge to promote it among your coworkers and family. While making small changes at the individual level may seem trivial, imagine the impact it can make if everyone adopts even a few of the behavior modifications discussed below. So, to help you start protecting the environment today, here are some simple habits to adopt in our everyday lives right away.
1. Less Consumption
While you may not realize it at first, curbing consumption can create a significant impact on the overall environment. Also, you must have heard of the popular three R’s—reuse, reduce, and recycle but remember that our planet can easily benefit tenfold by focusing on the most underrepresented and important R, i.e., refuse.
So, what do we mean by this? Well, when we say ‘refuse,’ we say ‘no,’ which is not always easy to practice. For instance, cheap goods on sale, freebies at events, the latest gadgets, and hot new children’s toys are all the things that promise to make your life better, although they are not essentials.
So, the next time you are offered such items and feel tempted to accept or purchase these non-essential items, simply think about if it can actually improve your life, and if the answer is no, then call it quits and say ‘No thanks!’ instead.
2. Cut Back on Driving
You must be wondering how cutting back on driving would help preserve the environment. Well, this can help reduce the use of gasoline. One way to ensure that is to find alternate forms of transportation that are proven to consume no or less fuel. For instance, you can ride a bike or walk whenever possible to cause less pollution or reduce natural resources, or in case it is not feasible, you may consider using public transport or organizing carpools.
Remember, replacing car trips with alternatives like public transport not only helps reduce your carbon footprint but also cuts down road congestion, let alone the use of gasoline. However, if you need to use a car, use electric/hybrid vehicles or fuel-efficient models. Also, keep your vehicle maintained to ensure fuel efficiency.
3. Shop Secondhand
Another great step towards protecting the environment is to shop at secondhand stores and save natural resources and energy by purchasing secondhand clothes. To your surprise, it takes around 700 gallons of water to produce enough cotton to make one t-shirt. Thus, instead of heading to the biggest mall to buy expensive new clothes, visit vintage shops and thrift stores to buy clothing first.
You can also apply the same pattern for other categories, like searching for gently used goods like games, clothes, appliances, furniture, and toys. You may also consider trading clothes with family and friends and breathing a new life into your closet without actually wasting the money or precious resources used to produce every new piece of clothing.
4. Buy Local
After secondhand shopping, another habit to adopt is to buy locally. As you think of saving natural resources by shopping secondhand, also think about the route that stuff would take in order to get to you. For instance, consider all that packaging, besides the fuel required for delivery of goods, all of this can easily take a toll on our environment, necessitating prevention. Thus, it is better to check out your nearest local farmer’s market to get package-free and fresh food, or you may also try eating at some farm-to-table restaurant.
5. Recycle Properly
If you cannot refuse it, reduce it, rot it, and you cannot even reuse or upcycle it, then your best bet is to pay attention to the final ‘R,’ i.e., recycle it. For this, you must first educate yourself on what items can and cannot be recycled in bins at home. The reason why it is important to educate yourself is that using the recycle bin to dispose of wrong items may lead to an entire load being rejected, and this means going back to the landfill.
Also, you can easily find ways to recycle particular items like batteries, electronics, and appliances. Moreover, you can contact your local municipality to know about the drop-off sites while making an effort to drop your items at the particular disposal sites.
6. Save Water and Electricity
While most of us don’t realize water is wasted more frequently than we can possibly imagine. However, one of the easiest ways to save water is to turn off the faucets, let’s say, when you brush your teeth, or avoid turning on the shower until you are ready to jump in and wash your hair. Similarly, you can also limit the use of water while washing dishes or watering plants, as all of these habits are not only beneficial for the environment but your wallet as well.
Just like you would want to save water, you should also pay attention to saving electricity. For instance, instead of traditional lighting, you can use energy-efficient light bulbs. These energy-efficient fixtures not only last longer but also save tons of money in energy costs. Likewise, make sure to turn off the TV, lights, and other electrical appliances when you are away or not using them. Most importantly, lower your heat or air conditioning when it’s not necessary—something that is especially true between seasons.
7. Avoid Eating Dairy and Meat
Another great step towards lessening environmental impact is cutting back on dairy and meat products. It is because processing and cultivating daily meat on farms consumes energy, water, food, and energy, which ultimately leads to greenhouse gas emissions into the environment. Also, agricultural expansion itself contributes to deforestation; therefore, try to consume less meat and shift toward a plant-based diet full of vegetables and legumes, creating much less pollution.
According to an article by the Independent, we can reduce the carbon footprint from food by almost 73% just by shifting toward a vegan diet. It doesn’t mean you should turn vegan or fully vegetarian, especially if you face dietary restrictions, making it difficult for yourself. But it is just about cutting back on dairy and meat as much as your health and dietary needs allow. Also, you can replace meat with seafood as it is much more sustainable than cultivating large amounts of meat and is also a great source of protein.
8. Upcycle More
Another way to protect the environment is to be creative with your unwanted and useless items by upcycling or, basically, turning trash into treasure. You can use upcycling to create something new, like jewelry, toys, or artwork, which is not only satisfying but also one of the best ways to be environmentally friendly. Remember, upcycling not only helps keep items out of the trash but also helps prevent the need to buy new items, which often require a lot of resources to produce.
Especially if you have children at home who generally love being creative and making things, educate and encourage them to upcycle. For instance, instead of taking them to a craft store, allow them to check out the recycle bin first and let their imaginations soar.
Since the era of industrialization, we have assumed that our planet is something to tame and control, to be apart from and outside of. Therefore, we have adapted many practices that leave scars on the overall environment, obligating us to heal and restore it. However, we must realize that by becoming more eco-friendly, we cannot only preserve the planet for future generations but also limit our exposure to harmful substances while making informed decisions.
Thus, this article outlines some of the easiest and best ways to protect the environment that you can implement today. Remember, you are part of the overall environment, and your well-being depends on the healthiness of your surroundings.
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