5 Small Things You Can Do to Help the Environment

Until recently, I have always been focused on “success” and “making it” in the corporate world. So, understandably this has come as quite a shock to my family and friends, as my ideas of making money haven’t often aligned with what’s best for preserving this incredible world in which we live.

Making the move out of Sydney was a catalyst for me. In relocating to the gorgeous lakeside town of Arcadia Vale, I was finally able to see the beauty of the Australian bush, visiting the local national parks and finding hidden rainforests and stunning waterfalls. I couldn’t believe the way the sun set on Lake Macquarie in the evenings, followed by a sparkling of the stars that I could see so clearly without the smog of city pollution. It really opened my eyes.

Like most multipotentialites, when I became fascinated with the natural environment I went crazy researching it all, and managed to find some pretty devastating facts. I instantly went google-crazy and became addicted to finding out about everything to do with the environment. I learn that the bugs that are treated like pests are the backbone of our ecosystem and are dying at a rapid rate, and luckily I managed to stumble upon a brilliant UK podcast, Sustainababble. In listening to this podcast and googling every question that popped into my head, and every topic they discussed, I became very, very aware.

In particular, I’ve learnt of the huge impacts that consumerism, capitalism and the our love of meat has on the environment, and that’s not just in regard to animal cruelty. As such, I’ve become more outspoken (and many would say a lot more annoying) in voicing my opinions on the state of nature, and have tried to change my habits to reduce my environmental impact.

Although small, I really believe that although small, the following things can make a huge difference to our combined impact on this beautiful country we are so lucky to call home, and thought that I’d share them around in the hope that a few others might change their habits too:

1. Search with Ecosia

This amazing little search engine is just one of the ways we can help make a difference. Even if you just use it to search for “Google” then get your results there, every 45 searches means Ecosia will plant a tree on your behalf!

Originally, I just downloaded their chrome extension, which is amazing in itself, but they’ve just launched an iPhone app, and now I can make sure each time I search the internet, I’m doing my small part to help the environment.

I’ve only used Ecosia for 3 months, but with 972 searches under my belt, that’s 21 trees they’ve planted on my behalf 🙂

2. Buy a Keepcup!

The first time I realised the amount of coffee cups that are thrown away in Australia was when watching the ABS Series the War on Waste earlier this year. In Episode 3, host Craig Reucassel rode a tram through downtown Melbourne FULL of 50,000 coffee cups — the amount of coffee cups consumed by Australians in just 30 minutes!

From this day on, I made SURE that wherever I went I took my own keepcup with me. For someone who can (ashamedly) drink up to 3 cups a day, I now know that I can save the waste of almost 1000 coffee cups a year!! PLUS I’ve also saved money from the savvy cafes and baristas that give me a sweet 50c discount every time I bring in my keepcup.

3. Re-use your Water Bottles

A report from the Guardian earlier this year showed that by the end of this decade, will soar to one trillion!! In fact, the Ellen Macarthur Foundation reported that:

“(Without change), the ocean is expected to contain one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight).”

Yes, you may think — what can I, one person, do to stop this? But if everyone thinks like that — that’s 7 billion bottles every day we’re purchasing — and where there is demand in a capitalist world, there will always need to be supply.

4. Eat less meat

Now, this is a tricky one. As “annoying” as vegetarians and vegans may be to the chicken nugget loving, BBQ grilling and leg of lamb roasting Aussies, we really need to look at our consumption of meat. Now I’m not yelling at you to cut it out, but just think about reducing it. With so many DELICIOUS veggie options out there, it’s getting easier to make the right choice.

The ugly facts: 50 billion animals are raised to be slaughtered globally, and some of the most beautiful places in the world, including the Amazon rainforest, are being destroyed to ensure we can continue our meat addiction. Livestock production is the NUMBER ONE use of land by mankind and the largest driver of deforestation, and these areas used for such production remove native plants and animals from their homes, and erodes the soil. This is difficult to reverse, and ultimately puts fertile cropland out of use for future generations.

5. Shout about it!

Last but not least, MAKE SOME BLOODY NOISE ABOUT THE ISSUE! We live in an age where we are literally vilified for caring. Vegans are teased when trying to do their part, laughed at when they refuse a meal cooked by their friends or are seen as difficult when it comes to ordering pizza. But at least they’re trying!

We need to build a more inclusive society, where people are not tortured for trying to do their part, but are instead encouraged to continue on the path that some of us cannot. I mean, as a new Vegetarian myself I have struggled with the idea of Veganism (because I think I might become severely depressed without cheese in my life) but I instead try to look at where I’m buying my cheese from and the impacts that I’m having in other ways on the environment in which I am very lucky to live in.

I guess I could just say “Environmental Rant Over” but I won’t. I think more of us need to rant and rave about these things. So, my one request is that instead of sitting with your mates talking about the Kardashians, or Married at First Sight or whatever crap it is the media is feeding us to ignore the real issues that are happening right now in the world, maybe you could talk about what you’re doing to make sure this amazing earth survives for as long as possible. Because remember:

Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught, will we realise that we cannot eat money