Five ways to be environmentally conscious
Our environment is essential to our existence, and yet we always seem to disregard its importance out of laziness, underestimated our footprint or simply not know how to help. However making a positive environmental impact is not as difficult as one may think. These are five simple ways you can show your love to our planet.
~ Start a Composting System~
Have you ever gone out in your backyard and seen how the soil looks more like dirt due to the dryness? There is an easy fix to that!
What is “composting”?
Composting allows for healthy soil through planting fermented fruits and vegetables. In other words, it is saved up pieces of uncooked fruits and vegetables that you may simply throw away and let go to landfill that are instead stored in a container. These expired biodegradable leftovers are then placed into the ground, allowing for softer soil and underground ecosystems to thrive.
"How can I start and plant a compost bin?“
Simple! Whatever stems, rinds, or pieces from *uncooked fruits and veggies that you don’t use, put those into a small container that has a tight lid and store up the pieces for 4-5 days before planting. Then choose an area of soil that looks like it needs some love and dig a small hole about 8” x 8 And 5” deep. Plant a palm full of composts into each digging and cover, making sure to pat soil down firmly, and repeat until the container is empty. Make sure to wash container thoroughly and watch your soil and plants flourish.
~ Thrift! ~
Thrifting has become quite the trend recently in pop culture. Has anybody ever stopped and wondered the environmental benefits of thrifting though? Probably not if we are realistically speaking. Yet thrifting possesses A TON of both environmental and humanitarian benefits!
Often times to get rid of clothing, people may throw away their clothes resulting in excess landfill. Thrifting avoids this, as it gives clothes that are no longer useful a place where they can be!
When you buy retail, you’re financially contributing to a larger corporation that uses factories (which are a central cause pollution), and usually pay the factory workers with little to nothing.
Thrift stores are a central place for everything! Say for example you want to go buy a pair of sneakers and a book. You would likely have to make two trips, which would pollute the air with 2x more fossil fuels than if you were to make only one trip to the thrift store where you can find both items in one place.
~ Use Less Plastic (and if plastic is used, make sure to dispose of it correctly!)~
In today’s day and age, the use of some plastic products is inevitable. I am not telling you to “save the turtles and don’t use a plastic straw," because in actuality straws only add to .03% of the ocean’s pollution/plastic issue. However plastic is non-biodegradable and can be extremely hazardous to animals.
Here’s how we can help:
Purchasing a reusable shopping bag is extremely inexpensive, realistic and logical. In the end it costs you as the shopper less and helps avoid the unnecessary use of plastic.
Know where you are shopping. Stores such as Trader Joe’s use an excessive amount of plastic, which has definitely caused some controversy over the years. Many times grocery stores will use plastic on products that do not even need a covering.
Make sure to only use a plastic bag for produce if it is necessary. Far too many times, I notice people putting avocados or bananas in a plastic bag? Why? Nature already provides a wrapper for them! Unless you like to eat the banana peels... but that would be weird.
One of the main hazards to animals (especially marine life) is the improper disposal of plastic. For example, say you are having a party and you need a large amount of sodas. So you purchase those six pack sodas with the circular plastic binding that holds all the sodas together. That is absolutely fine, but make sure that when you are disposing of that binding to cut each circle! Animals can swim through those exact circles if they are uncut and get stuck in them, which can cause choking, distorted growth and eventually death. Please take the extra 10 seconds to do this teensy step. You never know what life you may be saving.
~ Carpool!!! ~
This concept of efficient transportation is so often overlooked. Fossil fuels are constantly going into the air and causing increased ozone levels just from the use of cars. Luckily, California is very mindful of public transportation. Easy alternatives to cars are:
Carpooling: if you were to carpool for just twenty days a month, it would save you driving costs by 40-50%!
Taking the bus: the use of public transportation would reduce the US’s yearly carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons!
Riding a bike/walking: The Center For Climate And Energy Solutions says that the use of biking and walking can “help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion, and oil demand... additional benefits include reducing other environmental impacts of motorized transportation, such as noise and the destruction of open space, wetlands, and other habitats."
~ Only use electric lighting when absolutely needed. ~
It is so easy to leave the room for five minutes and leave the light on— trust me I know. But it is extremely important to be mindful of the electricity (especially lighting) usage within your house.
“Why is electricity overuse harmful and how can I help?”
The use of electricity causes the release of fossil fuels, biomass, and waste burning power plants.
CO2 is a common greenhouse gas, which causes the greenhouse effect (global warming). Electricity also utilizes the use of acid rain caused by SO2. Acid rain happens when SO2 NOx are emitted into the air and transported by natural weather occurrences such as wind currents. Both chemicals react with natural components such as oxygen and H2O (water), then forming sulfuric acid and nitric acid before hitting the earth. Both acids are extremely toxic to humans, animals and their habitats.
Nitric acid is harmful due to the extreme acidic density, which can cause chemical burns. Sulfuric acid on the other hand is about the same as nitric acid, just more toxic. Direct contact with sulfuric acid will cause permanent blindness.
We can help avoid these harmful emissions into our atmosphere through the use of natural alight during the day, a single bulb lamp at night and always turning off lights when not in use.
What You Should Take From All of This:
Of course no person is perfect, and it is very easy to procrastinate or forget to do these simple solutions. Despite this, every new day is a day to start. One small step in the right direction can make a very big difference in our future!
Most importantly though, be mindful, be conscientious, and make sure to always spread love and peace.