In our minds there is always the thought that we are not, as individuals, big polluters like factories, and hence we can continue with our daily routine without paying attention to how we can minimize the impact that we have on the environment. But admit it, from choices about transport to the choice of the food and other products we use, every decision that we make is affecting the space around us.
-We use 50% of the Earth’s land area for food production and 50% of the Earth’s available fresh water for drinking.
-The main source of water pollution is not chemical waste but the excrement of farm animals.
-About 70% of the world’s marine species are at risk of extinction.
-By the year 2100, extinction may reach one third of all the species now living.
-Animals raised for food currently generate between 15 and 20% of methane emissions globally.
-Every ton of recycled office paper saves 380 gallons of oil.
-Each year, over 63,000 square miles are destroyed resulting in more than half the world’s tropical forests being lost.
If we are not concerned about the quality of our air, drinking water, food, and not least the future of our planet and many generations after us, who will be? And if you agree that this situation is critical, here are some suggestions about what you can do to become a super hero and save the planet. Surprisingly, many of the things that we can do are free of charge, and depend only on our motivation.
Recycle and reuse
This is probably the most basic and the easiest thing that you can do, but the impact is huge. Instead of plastic bags, use cotton bags. You can find them in every store, and moreover, some stores will replace the old bag with a new one-free of charge. More and more companies are using these as a promo-material. It is just up to you whether you are going to be hip and start using them. Separate the trash. For every ton of paper recycled, 17 trees are saved. A manufacturer can make twenty recycled aluminum cans with the energy it takes to manufacture one brand new one. Find out where you can give away the clothes and things you no longer need. Before you throw something away, think about whether someone else might need it. Maybe you can donate the item to a charitable organization or post it on a web site designed to connect people and things, such as Freecycle.org. Many fashion companies, like H&M, are starting to think green and are collecting and reusing old clothes. In return you will receive a shopping voucher.
Try to save energy at home
These are easy steps, all you need to do is pay attention. Try to turn off lights when they are not in use, and buy energy-saving light bulbs and other energy-efficient products. Check if the faucets in your kitchen and bathroom are leaking, and think of replacing them with low flow models. Turn of the water while shampooing your hair, brushing teeth, etc. Think about adjusting your thermostat one degree cooler in the winter. Each degree Celsius less can save around 10% on your energy use! Turn off your computer at night instead of leaving it in sleep mode. In this way you are saving 40 watt-hours per day.
Thing about the content of the products you buy
Try to avoid toxic materials, especially in products like paint with lead or food products with pesticides. Let your choice be organic products if possible, and pay attention to which things are the safest for your consumption and for the environment. These might cost more, but with their use you are improving the quality of your life. Choose more local, organic, and seasonal food, because this will reduce unnecessary transportation costs, and will keep the environment cleaner and your body healthier. Try to be vegetarian at least once a week and when you eat meat, choose better quality varieties. This will save water and stop the suffering of animals through mass production.
Driving is one of the biggest causes of pollution. Have you heard that politicians in Denmark are cycling to work? You didn’t expect this, right? Well, in a country with such a high level of awareness about the environment, it should not be a surprise. You can also follow the Danes’ example and instead of driving a car every day, take a bike or public transportation whenever you can. And when you decide to take a car, pay attention to speed limits, and avoid rapid acceleration and excessive breaking and idling. You can reduce carbon emissions by keeping your car in top shape. Keep tires properly inflated to improve petrol mileage. Every 10 days, drivers with under-inflated tires and poorly maintained engines waste 70 million gallons of gasoline. When you fly, use an e-ticket because the cost of processing a paper ticket is around 8 EUR, while an e-ticket costs less than 1 EUR. If all passengers used e-tickets, airline companies could save around 2,5 billion EUR per year. In addition to this, with no use of paper tickets trees and water would be saved as well.
Share your knowledge
If you are already thinking and living green, try to be a good example to others as well. Share the news about new solutions and developments in the world, organize workshops and seminars. Many NGOs and businesses are happy to support green initiatives, so apply for funds and do something interesting and useful. Give a friend a seeding tree as a present. Think green!