Whether it’s energy efficient blinds or electric cars, people are gradually becoming more aware that fighting global warming and climate change is increasingly important. Despite the fact that household carbon emissions and consumption of electricity are hardly the main culprits for the dire straits that we find ourselves in these days, the fact remains that many of us also do not go out of our way to reduce our carbon footprint.
Of course not all of it is intentional. Most of us do not go through life actively wanting to harm the environment and arguably most of us would like to protect it as much as we are able to.
However, it can feel like a daunting task considering the list of things that need doing, so here are some easy changes you can try making to take at least a little strain off the earth’s resources.
Change Your Diet
The diet with the lowest carbon footprint is arguably one that is plant-based. Not only is adopting a plant based diet arguably better for your health since plants are often rich sources of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, but plants have a much smaller carbon footprint compared to animals since they require less resources to grow and fully mature. Additionally, with diets such as veganism catching on and more people becoming health (and environmentally) conscious, more and more food establishments are offering plant substitutes to a variety of food products and more large grocery chains are stocking the ingredients needed to adopt a plant-based diet.
However, some people are unable to change their entire diet to one that is mostly plant and vegetable-based due to personal reasons, but there are still some ways you can adapt your current diet to leave a smaller carbon footprint whenever possible. For one thing, you can opt to be more conscious of your choice of meat. Different animals leave different carbon footprints since the amount of resources needed to grow them and the amount of processing to turn them into meat is different. Even adopting a single day of the week to have only vegetarian food will not only pay off in the long run for your health but will also help the environment a little.
For example, a chicken has a smaller carbon footprint than a cow. This is because the chicken needs less food to fully mature than a cow, and due to its smaller size also produces less carbon waste than the cow. Therefore, by choosing to eat more chicken meat than cow meat, you would overall be leaving a smaller net carbon footprint than someone who eats primarily beef. Additionally, cow farming can be harmful to the environment since cows produce methane as a byproduct of digestion, which is a rather notorious greenhouse gas. Chickens also produce methane as a byproduct (all animals do) but they produce much less and as such they are the lesser of two evils to raise.
Waste Not, Want Not
The average human is capable of producing several thousand pounds of trash every year and most of it will make its way to either the incinerator or the landfill. Waste reduction has been the goal of many recycling education programs, but in an age where everything seems to be wrapped in plastic or made of plastic, what are some things that can be done to reduce our impact on the environment?
One thing you can consider is, first of all, not buying unneeded things. While it is tempting in an age of rampant consumerism to buy every new and shiny thing the market has on offer, the fact of the matter is that most of us are guilty of buying things we don’t actually need or don’t actually use. After all, online shopping makes it ever so easy to do so and the flood of new trends that seem to change every other week that we see on social media doesn’t help either.
Not only will being more mindful of your spending benefit the environment as you waste less resources, but it also allows you to invest your savings into things that you actually want and to save up to buy things of better quality that will last you for a longer time. Rather than buying a bag full of fast fashion items which will start to decline in quality after only a few wears, it is far better for the environment if you buy one item that’s a little more expensive but will last you for several years before it needs replacing.
Ultimately, the consumer holds an unimaginable amount of power than ever before. By being selective with what you want to eat, you send a message to the industry about what your priorities are and what practices you would like them to adopt. Although it may take time, producers will generally try to accommodate these changes which is how we can eventually make a lasting impact on the environment. It may be daunting for one person, but if enough people change their lifestyles, it will take just a little of the burden off of the Earth’s already strained resources.