How you can help save the planet – with minimum effort
-Jun 5, Hannah Hargrave, Living -
Don’t let a busy schedule stop you from helping save the planet. We’ve come up with six ways you can make a major environmental impact by doing absolutely nothing.
World Environment Day is the perfect opportunity to take a little look at the way we live our lives and how it might negatively effect our planet. While it can sometimes be easier to look away and promise ourselves we’ll make a change tomorrow, if we don’t act now it’ll soon be too late.
So if a hectic life, career, family or all of the above are stopping you doing your part here are ways you can make a difference without doing anything.
Don’t eat meat
Breeding animals takes up a lot of space and forests are being cut down to make way for these vast cattle farms. The earth, atmosphere and climate relies on the carbon held within the trees. Without trees the earth is uninhabitable.
On top of that rearing meat and animals for dairy too uses an insane amount of water. Water shortages are likely to be one of the biggest problems when it comes to climate change and on top of that there are millions of people who don’t have access to safe, clean water and yet we’re using it for livestock.
Cows also have toxic farts, which might sound amusing, but isn’t funny when we see what it’s doing to the planet. They convert carbon into greenhouse gas methane which is approximately 35 times more potent than CO2.
It could be time to give veganism a go!
Flying fast racks up your carbon footprint but if you have to take flight consider the class you pick. If you’re used to the luxury of business or first class it’s time to reevaluate your ticket. If you measure emissions on a per-passenger basis then it makes sense that the less people the higher the carbon contribution per person. That means those spacious first and business class seats are taking the place of what could be several economy ones instead.
While you might be thinking ‘someone has to sit in those seats so it may as well be me’ if we all make moves to move away from first class travel the need will slowly be reduced. It’s all about doing your bit.
Don’t Flush the Toilet
In the wise words of Cameron Diaz, ‘if it’s brown, flush it down, if it’s yellow, let it mellow’. We know it’s not exactly pleasant to leave the toilet ‘as is’ after a number one but it’s all about not being trigger happy when using the flush.
Toilets are the main source of water use in the average home and every time you flush you use an average of 6 liters of drinking water.
Even if you back away from flushing at night, decide to flush every other time or become more mindful about flushing things like toilet paper from a blown nose down the toilet, it can all help.
Don’t Keep Everything
Marie Kondo might have a point! If you’re a hoarder it’s time to stop. Keeping things you don’t need isn’t just messing with your head – and your clean house – it’s taking it’s toll on the environment too.
When we learn to live with less thing,s we need less space. Big houses take more energy to run so if you’re thinking of upscaling perhaps consider having a clear out first. You might find you don’t need a bigger place after all.
This is far easier said than done and we understand that. Sometimes there simply isn’t another option but to jump in your car and get to a meeting across the other side of town and it’s not feasible to get your weekly shop on the train. But since cars and driving make up a large chunk of the total carbon footprint in the world it would be wise to consider a different form of transport when possible. Walking is great for your body, mind and the planet and if you’ve got a bike then you can kill two birds with one stone by running errands and getting some exercise at the same time.
Related: Walk your way to inner peace
If you have to take the car be mindful of the way you drive. Conserve fuel but slowing down on the motorway and don’t leave your engine running unnecessarily.
Don’t Wash Everything
Washing your clothes takes up valuable time and yet many of us just throw our clothes – barely worn – straight into the wash basket ready for a launder that might not even need to happen. With the exception of underwear and socks or clothes that have clearly gotten dirty, garments don’t need to be washed with every wear. In fact it can be damaging to them too.
Laundering uses a lot of energy, water and chemicals, so make sure when you put a load on that it’s full. Use the eco cycle when you can, reduce the amount of detergent you use and of course hang your washing on the line when you can rather than tumble drying.