A question I often ask myself is whether individual actions make a difference in the long run. Do your once-a-year efforts (like those for Earth Day) change anything in tackling one of the Earth’s most important issues today?
The answer is yes!
Earth Day was celebrated last holidays on 22 April. I don’t think one day is really enough to achieve a great change which is why I believe people should really commit to making a difference and do it by changing a few things that will make such a big impact.
Here’s a list of 5 things that you can take on that will not change your lifestyle which is why as many people as possible should get involved!
1. Limit the things you buy that you can only use once like paper towels. Instead of paper towels, use rags or cloths. You will save money and a few trees.
- If every house in the US used one less 70 sheet role of virgin fibre paper towel, 544 000 trees would be saved. The energy used in this production and transportation would also be saved!
2. Say no to plastic bags
If you buy one or a few items that you can easily carry, say no to plastic bags. Sure, people will probably look at you funny if you struggle to carry a week’s worth of groceries but you can take reusable bags for larger shopping trips.
- 100 000 marine animals die every year from getting tangled in plastic bags or ingesting them. Plastic bags are used for an average of 5 minutes but they take 100 000 years to break down!
3. Meat or dairy-free once a week. Obviously going completely vegetarian or vegan involves a lot of effort in organising meals and such so just commit to it once a week.
- Taking dairy off your diet reduces fat intake, reduces your risk for chronic disease like cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes
- Decreasing your meat intake by one burger per week is the same as one car off the road for 515km.
4. Shop at second-hand and charity shops. The fashion industry looks good but do you know how the clothes get made? So many companies use sweatshops to produce their products. Not to mention the number of resources used to make the clothes you wear releasing emissions into the atmosphere. Save money and or support a charity when you shop. 85% of shoreline plastic pollution comes from the plastic fibres in synthetic clothing material, such as nylon.
5. Avoid plastic utensils and carry a reusable water bottle. This is so easy for all ladies who carry a bag and every man who’s got some style and enjoys rocking a man bag! You can buy bamboo cutlery or bring your own from home, making a small kitchen in your locker…
- In the UK alone, plastic cutlery is used for about 7 minutes before being thrown away. That’s a lot for something that will never biodegrade!
- It takes 7 litres of water to make one plastic bottle. Also in the UK, it’s estimated, one will buy 200 water bottles every year so if you go a year without purchasing any, you will save about 7000 litres.
by Aisha Dadlani