There's no doubt that climate change is real, it's caused by humans, and that while the effects are here, the worst is yet to come if we don't make some real changes.
For the average person, this can feel a bit overwhelming. After all, it's a big world out there and sometimes the problems seem too big for one person to fix. While it's true that one person can't solve everything, everyone is able to take small steps that add up to a big contribution.
Here are five easy steps to take that make taking care of the planet incredibly easy:
1. Be aware of how certain actions affect the environment.
While most people are aware that they should reduce the amount of time they drive in order to help out the environment, other things are not as widely known. Balloons released into the air have the potential to be eaten by an animal that mistakes it for food, making its way into the food chain. Throwing away old batteries or electronics can leach harmful chemicals into the ground. While individually packaged food might be convenient, all of that extra plastic is a burden on landfills.
2. Buy products that are more eco-friendly.
3. Eat all of the food that you buy.
A tremendous amount of water and resources go into food production, and the fact that a third of all food gets wasted means that it's stressing the environment for nothing. Don't buy more food than you can reasonably eat before it goes bad, take home whatever goes uneaten at a restaurant, and don't throw away leftovers after dinner. Making the most of the food you buy isn't just good for the environment, but it significantly helps out your wallet as well.
4. Reduce the amount of disposable items you use.
While it's really convenient to grab a cup of coffee from a local barista every morning, the number of paper or foam cups really begins to add up. Disposable plastic utensils might be convenient, but it's a lot easier on the planet to just bring a real spoon or fork instead. Shake the excess water off of your hands after washing them to reduce the number of paper towels used to dry them. By choosing items that can be reused, such as an aluminum bottle instead of a plastic one meant for one use, or a canvas bag instead of plastic grocery sacks, makes things easier on the planet.
5. Tell your politicians to take the environment seriously.
While individuals can do a lot to help out with the little everyday choices, it's up to politicians to make the decisions that will affect corporations and cast a larger net. Contacting these people and making them understand that their constituents care about the Earth is a great way to make sure they, too, will show an interest in sustainability.
Of course, not everyone can or will completely turn on a dime and completely eliminate their carbon footprint. However, starting to become more aware of the problems the environment is facing and taking positive steps to preserving our Earth provides the best chance that we can all work together to make a real difference.
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