In honor of Earth Day, many people love to post captivating pictures of nature on Instagram and celebrate the natural beauty of the Earth; however, while it may feel good to post these pictures, it doesn’t really do anything for the environment, defeating the whole point of Earth Day. After you post your pictures to celebrate the day, you can partake in some of the actions below to follow through and be a true advocate for the environment.
Calculate your carbon footprint
Your carbon footprint is essentially the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions that are produced to support your everyday life. As greenhouse gases are the driving factor behind climate change, it’s important to recognize your personal impact and reflect on the things you’re willing to change to help the environment. There are many different websites with calculators; here is one website made by the Global Footprint Network that makes it super easy to find out your ecological footprint.
Eat less meat
Although not everyone can adopt this dietary change, for those who are able to, it is important to recognize that a lot of resources — including fresh water, fertilizer and many acres of land — are dedicated to growing crops for animals to eat. Meat consumption, then, ultimately requires a large number of natural resources. You don’t have to quit cold turkey (or, cold cow – I’m sorry, I had to go for it), but eating less meat can help conserve resources and reduce pressure on the land.
Use a reusable water bottle
Each year, billions of single-use plastic water bottles are sold, creating a lot of waste and, of course, plastic — two environmental curse words. Using a reusable bottle is a simple way to buy less plastic materials, ultimately leading to less plastic production and waste. Also, it’ll help you save money because you don’t need to buy water from a grocery store, so you can save the Earth and save money.
Avoid wasting food (and compost what you do waste)
In the United States, about 40% of our food is thrown out every year, and globally, humans produce enough food waste to feed at least 1 billion people. All this food waste typically finds itself in landfills, where it eventually leads to the production of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. We at the Clog understand that we’re all human and prone to making mistakes like wasting food; however, if we compost remaining food waste, those nutrients in our food can go back into the environment instead of going to a landfill where methane will be produced.
Use public transportation (or carpool)
Although now is not the best time to be going out, once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, using public transportation is a great way to help the environment. With cities investing in public transportation that uses solar energy or has better gas mileage, each person that uses the bus, subway or train means one less car on the road producing air pollution. If you don’t have access to public transportation, carpooling is still better than driving by yourself. Ultimately, if you could limit the number of days you drive through carpooling, public transportation or even walking, the environment would thank you.
Follow the three R’s
We’re sure you’re familiar with the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. While these words are a fun catchphrase, they’re incredibly significant and ordered in level of importance. First, you should always start with reducing. Getting less take out, going on fewer plane rides and using less power are important because if you decrease your use, fewer greenhouse gases are put out into the environment. Next, if you can’t reduce, it’s important to reuse because reusing leads to less waste and items that are produced for mass consumption. Finally, recycling, the last “R,” is still great because this involves converting waste into something new. This includes companies turning plastic bottles into reusable bags and other things.
Ultimately, practicing awareness in your everyday choices is a great way to become more environmentally conscious and help partake in eco-friendly behavior. Think about the resources used to produce your food and the path that food takes to get to your plate. Think about the amount of power you use and the gases produced as byproducts of creating electricity or the energy required to power your things. Think about your impact. Finally, it’s also important to be aware that only 100 companies produce the majority of global emissions (about 70%). While we just listed all these things you can do to help the environment, be aware that big corporations play a pivotal role in creating the emissions that cause climate change. They have a major responsibility to help fix the problems they cause. We can hold them accountable by electing politicians who support environmentally friendly legislation and remembering that the Earth is home for all of us.