Have you thought about the environment lately? If not, you should! Earth Day was this past Monday and there are many things to think about with it. I will talk about three different ways that you can make an impact on Earth Day, then hopefully every day. Despite our President’s beliefs, global climate change is a real problem that will affect all of us and our children. The major cause of this is carbon dioxide emissions, which creates a blanket around our atmosphere that insulates our Earth and is increasing Earth’s core temperature. Sea levels are rising due to melting glaciers and soon our Earth as we know it will be gone. It is time to start making changes to how sustainable we are, and to start to protect our planet instead of continuing to cause it harm.
The first way that you can impact our environment in a positive way is to change your diet. Livestock are actually the number one cause of carbon dioxide emissions in the world and use too many resources. Over 60 percent of our food being produced is going to feed livestock, while 70 percent of our antibiotics are also going to these animals. As I mentioned in my last article it takes about 600 gallons of water to make one gallon of milk! This is an unsustainable way to feed our population as the environment will not be able to bear this burden as population continues to grow and temperatures rise. Switching to a diet more based on plants and whole foods will allow you to support the environment with low impact foods that are actually helping the environment. As the weather is getting warmer, try starting a small garden or even planting a tree in your yard, as trees sequester carbon they help us to have clean air to breathe amidst all of the pollution we are creating.
The second way that you can help our planet is by reducing your travel times. The second largest contributor of carbon emissions is the transportation sector. Now more than ever people are driving long distances to work and are taking single passenger rides. This can be easily remedied as the weather is getting nicer. Walk into town if you need something, ride a bike, or take public transportation. If you need to get home for the holidays, carpool with some friends from the same area, as it will save you money. It’ll give you someone to talk to and lessen the impact on the Earth. This can also be done by buying locally as well, as everything has a carbon footprint from production and travel, so try to support and make purchases from your area.
The last way you can help our environment is by reducing your waste. I am not saying that you need to go zero waste, but by being conscious about the trash that you are producing you will start to make some changes. Try to use more reusable products and stay away from single-use items. Easy switches include having a few hand towels in your room instead of paper towels, a few dishes instead of paper plates, and (the most obvious) a reusable water bottle and travel mug. I have also switched to carrying around a tote bag and this helps me to stay away from those unnecessary plastic bags at grocery stores. Making a conscious effort to see how much trash you are creating and how often you need to empty your trash will definitely force you to think about how much you are contributing to landfills and our oceans.
Overall, I urge you to start thinking about how your actions will affect our future. “What we do in the next 10 years will affect the next 100.”
Isabella Pratt can be contacted