The impact that an individual has on environmental activities is greater than you think. Your living habits can either cause negative impacts on the environment or help protect it, and the outcome is all up to your decision. Therefore, to start your 2022 with a little more responsibility to our common home, here are 7 sustainability practices that you can try and share with your friends and family in order to make the Earth a safe home.
What Does Sustainable Living Mean?
It’s important to first understand what a sustainable lifestyle is before actually starting it, as having no insight about it will make all your efforts pointless and unsatisfying. A lot of sustainable living followers merely know about this lifestyle as a way to help protect the world, but the way it works is still vague for them.
In a nutshell, living a sustainable lifestyle means reducing the use of the Earth’s resources in your daily life, from there reducing the negative personal or societal impact on the environment.
These damages and negative impacts are also called “carbon footprint”, and the higher the figure, the harder the Earth is affected. This will break the “zero energy balance”, which means we take more from Mother Nature than we give.
Living sustainably is the best way for individuals to make up for what that humans have taken away from the Earth, contributing to achieving “net-zero” by 2050.
You Can Live Sustainably By:
Say No To Disposable Items
Do you know that plastic and nylon take up to 1 million years to decompose in the environment? Disposable items made from plastic or nylon are non-recyclable, and overuse of these products can cause serious effects on the environment and ecosystems.
You can begin your sustainable lifestyle by simply using reusable plates instead of disposable ones, or switching to cloth shopping bags instead of plastic bags. This way, you can greatly reduce the amount of hazardous trash generated from your daily activities.
According to data from The Keeling Curve, the global CO2 concentration is increasing and will soon reach the 425 ppm peak if no action is taken. Vehicle emissions are one of the major factors that worsen the greenhouse effect, negatively affecting the planet’s climate systems and weather patterns.
Don’t use private vehicles unless absolutely necessary. Consider taking public transportation, using bikes, or even walking whenever possible in order to reduce traffic as well as cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Just changing your driving habits can contribute a lot to reducing the human impact on the environment.
Use Water Wisely
The rapid growth of the global population, as well as the development of the economy, have made the use of water globally more and more difficult to control. Statistics from UN-Water have shown that since 2000, the lack of safely managed drinking water has increased by 50%, and 80% of wastewater is discharged back into the natural environment without any proper treatment or being reused. This led to around 1.8 billion people using unsafe water for their daily lives.
As an individual, you can help tackle these problems by being a little more mindful of your daily water use. Reuse water when possible, take shorter showers, use water-saving appliances, etc. – minor details like these can bring significant results in reducing water waste and water pollution.
Change to Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is the future of green industry, green life. Using renewable energy such as solar energy or wind power can provide you with unlimited power without harming the environment. Switching from a fossil fuel lifestyle to using natural energy can drastically reduce your carbon footprint, helping to limit global warming.
Starting from your electricity supplier, make sure they use renewable energy to generate electricity instead of fossil fuels. You can also consider other options such as using solar panels to power your house.
Practice Reuse and Recycling
Instead of throwing everything in the trash mindlessly, it’s time for you to practice garbage sorting and finding ways to reuse things. Sorting garbage is a necessary step to ensure efficient garbage segregation and recycling, limiting the amount of non-biodegradable waste that goes to landfills.
Doing this also helps you determine which items can be reused for other purposes, for example, empty jars, old clothes, newspapers, etc. Reusing these items can help minimize the overuse of natural resources.
Reduce Your Paper Usage
The papermaking industry has always been considered as one of the most damaging industries to the environment, as it takes around 24 trees and nearly 20,000 gallons of water to make a ton of paper. Trees being cut down for paper, together with emissions and waste from the manufacturing process, not only weaken the Earth’s natural ability to generate oxygen, but also significantly destroy ecosystems.
Reducing paper usage in daily activities is a very simple yet effective solution to help save natural resources, as using less paper means less paper is produced, fewer trees are cut down, and less water is wasted. Send emails instead of writing letters, take notes on your smart device instead of paper. Any possible paper alternatives that you can think of (no harm to the environment, of course), use them. Also, you should practice recycling paper, as it can be recycled up to 7 times, and doing so can help save a lot of trees.
There is nothing better in improving and reducing air pollution than trees, and that’s why reforestation is receiving so much attention. You can also join hands to make our planet greener and cleaner by having your own little forest in your backyard, balcony, or public garden.
It doesn’t have to be large or rare trees. There are a lot of fruits and vegetables that can be grown very easily, with which you can build a green diet while keeping the air around you fresh.
Saying that, growing large trees is still an option. Trees like Douglas Fir, Maple, or Tilia are extremely efficient in reducing air pollution, and they are also suitable to be grown in small areas. If it’s not possible for you to grow your trees yourself, apps like Tenere can help you both save money and plant trees globally with your daily shopping.
Environmental Protection Is Everyone’s Responsibility
Environmental protection has always been an obligation, responsibility for all countries, and throughout the last decade, a lot of efforts have been made by environmental organizations in order to tackle problems caused by climate change. Having said that, even though these collective efforts have brought certain successes, without the contribution of individuals, the dream of a green planet would still be very far away.
A small effort won’t make a big difference, but with the united effort of individuals, including you, making the Earth green again will never be an impossible goal.