Six simple and realistic ways you can save the environment.
- Wash your dishes wisely. Dishwashers use less soap, water and energy than hand washing. Try to only ever run full loads and avoid pre-rinsing your dishes before you pack the washer.
- Have a meat free day. Raising livestock is not an environmentally neutral process. Chickens, sheep, cows and pigs — the animals we most commonly eat — drink a lot of water, take up considerable portions of land and emit a significant amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. There’s also the energy required to transport meat and keep it refrigerated, and issues with deforestation, desertification, soil erosion, water pollution and overgrazing. Every meat free meal you consume has an impact. If vegetarianism and veganism aren’t for you, why not try a meat free day every week instead?
- Straw no more. Plastic is bad. We all know this. Single-use plastic, however, is especially bad. A straw will be used for a few minutes at most. Its purpose is to… drink? Something our mouths are very capable of doing on their own. Bottom line: straws suck. Don’t use them.
- Offset your air travel emissions. Travelling by plane is the least efficient mode of transport, emitting thousands of kilograms of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every flight. Airlines and online booking agents often provide the option of paying a few extra dollars which are then invested into environmental projects. If you can splash thousands of dollars to travel this beautiful world of ours, you can surely spare some loose change to keep it that way.
- Reuse, recycle and repurpose fashion. Your fashion footprint is bigger than you’d expect. Nylon takes over 30 years to decompose, cotton is a chemically dependent thirsty crop and polyester is produced from petroleum. Looking trendy isn’t cheap on your pocket or the environment. Where possible, use the sacrosanct 3Rs — reuse, recycle and repurpose. Cut up an old tshirt and use it as a cleaning rag. Sell your much loved threads at a fashion market. Buy vintage clothing. Cut up a pair of jeans into trendy shorts. Iron on a patch to transform an old piece into something new. Get your clothes tailored if they no longer fit. Reinvent what you already own.
- Books be gone. Whether it be a university textbook, a magazine or a novel you want to dive in to, ebooks are often notably cheaper than physical copies and don’t require paper and ink. If however you enjoy the feel of book within your hands, you could always buy from a second hand bookstore or be ultra old school and head to your local library.