We all know we should be doing what we can to save the planet; waste less, reduce our carbon footprint and set a good example to the younger generation. And as we mature and reach our mid twenties and beyond, for many of us it’s a realisation that we’re responsible and should be doing what we can. If you are concerned that you’re not doing enough to help the environment, here are some ways you can go about it.
Upgrade Your Home
One of the biggest ways you can make a difference to the environment is by making changes at home. You spend and lot of time there and unlike work or in public, you have a say over the way your home is run. You could insulate your walls and loft, and have replacement windows which are more environmentally friendly fitted. This way you need to use less fuel to warm your home, since less heat is being lost. Another thing you could have done is have solar panels fitted. These pay for themselves within just a few years, and are well worth looking into as they can help to save the planet. Solar energy is of course renewable, no fossil fuels are being burned and so it’s a completely clean way to power your home. Simple changes like switching your light bulbs to energy efficient models and turning off lights and appliances after use can help too. As a consumer, another thing you can do in regards to your home is purchase energy efficient appliances. Things like fridge freezers, dishwashers and washing machines will all have energy ratings, so it’s worth looking into these before you buy.
Purchase Less Plastic
Did you know that there’s a mass of discarded plastic in the ocean that it’s actually created its own artificial landmass? Known as the ‘great pacific garbage patch’ it’s an awful example of what we as humans are doing to the planet. Plastic sticks around for a very long time, with many plastic products taking in excess of five hundred years to break down. And so simply discarding it is something we should all avoid doing. One of the best things we can do is to try and use less plastic products in general. Instead of using plastic bags from stores, purchase a few strong cotton totes and take these instead. They can be reused many times and you don’t end up throwing away plastic unnecessarily. Instead of purchasing plastic water bottles, invest in a stainless steel flask and keep reusing this. Many are extra insulated meaning your hot drink stays hot for twelve hours and your cold drink stays cold for twenty four. So are more convenient as well as protecting the environment. It you use a lot of plastic straws, again buy a reusable cup with a straw in it so you can keep washing this up and using this instead of going through straws whenever you have a drink.
Make a Compost Heap
You might separate your paper, plastic, metal and glass to go to the recycling centre, however if you’re throwing away food this will end up at landfill or incinerators. One way around this is by creating a compost heap, you can do this yourself with a few simple materials or buy a compost bin. You can throw everything from cardboard to tea bags to egg shells and uncooked fruits and vegetables in, in around a year this will all break down giving you amazing high quality compost to use on the garden. You reduce the waste you’re sending out into the world, and actually get a great product to use yourself later down the line. Don’t put in meat, dairy or cooked food as this can attract pests and the bacteria can actually affect the rotting process. Check online for the types of things you shouldn’t add if you’re unsure, rather than simply throwing it on.
Eat Less Meat
One of the biggest negative influences on the environment is meat farming. We use a lot of resources growing the animals food and using up a whole lot of water on them, when we could skip the middleman and eat the crops directly. Factory farming also burns lots of fossil fuels which again contributes to global warming, acid rain and all kind of negative issues. If you’re able to go vegetarian or even vegan that’s great, but even if your choice is to remain a meat eater, eating less will benefit the environment. You could do ‘meatless Mondays’ where one day a week you consume no meat at all, or only eat meat on the weekends. Your health is likely to thank you, particularly if you’re cutting out things like bacon, burgers and other meats that are high in saturated fat. But the environment will too.
These things may seem small and insignificant, but our combined efforts really do add up. Just focus on doing your part and be a good example to others, do good where you can you have a clear conscience that you’re doing your bit.