Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard of the crisis our planet is currently facing. The consequences of our careless actions are apparent all around us. From global warming, declining wildlife populations, deforestation, and the fact that the amount of plastic in the ocean will surpass the fish population by the year 2050. Where did the balance between humans and nature get so out of whack? With an ever-increasing population, it is more important than ever to learn how to take care of our planet. Here are a few tips to get started.
“The Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the Earth.”
~ Chief Seattle
1. Give up Single Use Plastic
This is a huge one! We live in a world of saran wrap, plastic baggies, convenience containers, water bottles and disposable diapers. All these things are very handy and useful; however, they are used once and then tossed into the garbage. Now we all know it takes 500 years for that sandwich bag to decompose in a landfill. So, now that you finished your PB & J sandwich and toss that used baggie in the trash, you don’t have another thought about it. But think if a billion people toss their baggie in the trash, we now have the Taj Mahal of plastic. Out of sight, out of mind does not mean it just magically disappears. It will be here long after we are gone.
Here are a few easy swaps to cut down on plastic: Included are links for these great products
- Swap that one-time plastic water bottle for a Nalgene or Swell.
- Buy reusable bamboo cutlery instead of disposable forks and knives.
- Buy food in bulk (quinoa, beans, rice, nuts) and store in glass jars. Saves on packaging.
- Stop using plastic bags at the grocery store. Buy yourself a cute reusable tote and mesh produce bags.
2. Go Paperless
Nowadays, virtually everything is online. So, change those bills, bank statements and insurance policies to online only. You can even change magazine subscriptions to online. Think of all the trees you will be saving and also cutting down on all that clutter on your desk.
3. Save Water
Water conservation can be a very simple task. Turn the water off when brushing your teeth, shorter shower times, water saving shower heads (Watersense program), high efficiency toilets, running the dishwasher/washing machine only when full and checking all faucets and pipes for leaks.
4. Ditch the Car
You can opt for walking, biking or public transportation whenever possible. Or for those times when using a car is unavoidable, try car sharing.
5. Plant a Tree
Trees can help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen back into it. They also filter water, purify soil and provide homes for a large amount of the world’s animals. Many cities have programs that will actually give you a free tree and plant it for you. Here in Denver we have the Be a Smart Ash Program. Check it out.
6. Use Natural Light
Instead of flipping that switch, try utilizing natural light whenever possible. Also, natural light can lead to more productivity and increased energy levels. So, throw up those blinds or switch to energy efficient light bulbs.
7. Go Meatless
I’m not saying you can’t enjoy In-And-Out burger, but try eating plant based once a week. I promise it won’t kill you. Start a new tradition, Meatless Mondays. Food production is a major component of environmental damage, by deforestation to make way for livestock, agricultural pollution, and greenhouse gases emitted from livestock.
8. Ditch those toxic cleaners
Household cleaning products could be one of the most dangerous things in your home. Sure, they make your toilet sparkle like its new, but all that cleaner you just dumped in goes straight back into our water system. Try swapping those cleaners out for more natural products. My favorite is Branch Basics. I use it to clean everything in my house and don’t miss those harsh chemicals one bit. This results in taking better care of our precious water supply and also your own health.
See what local projects are happening in your area. Volunteer for a neighborhood cleanup or check out some of these fun ideas. You can clean the waterways of London while stand-up paddle boarding or canoeing, Paddle and Pick. Or join a Clean Up, closer to home.
10. Educate Yourself
When you choose to further educate yourself, you can help others understand the importance and value of our natural resources. The internet is a plethora of information.
In closing, learn to love this planet, it’s the only one we have. Continually educate yourself on how we can change this global crisis. It starts with us!