Here Are Some Simple Things You Can Do To Be More Environmentally Friendly.
It's difficult out there for a consumer who wants to be more environmentally conscious. There's lot's of information out there and it's hard to tell whether something really is environmentally friendly or if it's just companies trying to prey on our desire to help out.
Well, here are some simple tips to help you be a more environmentally conscious consumer!
1. Remember, the steps are Reduce, then Re-use, THEN Recycle.
Recycling is meant to reduce the consumption of virgin resources. If you recycled 24 plastic water bottles when you could have just purchased a reusable water bottle instead you're not really doing anything helpful.
Reducing your consumption is the first step, not recycling.
2. May be unpopular but helps.
As unpopular as it sounds: Eat less meat, eggs and dairy products. You don't have to go full vegan or something, but just eating once a week a plant based burger instead of a beef burger saves a bunch of resources.
3. Volunteering helps.
Volunteer to help with trash collection along rivers and creeks in your area. It removes refuse which is dangerous to animals.
4. Money talks.
When you have to buy something make your money count. Every penny is a miniature vote that represents your choices and tells to companies what they should produce (story continued on the next page...).
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Don't give a damn in how product is made? Neither will companies then. Buy stuff that is wasteful and needs to be replaced soon? More coming up. Companies don't care. They care only if it hurts profit.
5. They aren't biodegradable.
Don't buy those single cup coffee makers. The amount of plastic you throw away in a year just from those little cups is ridiculous. Use a French press or pour-over instead.
6. Let it grow!
Have meadows instead of lawns to increase biodiversity. A lawn is essentially a monoculture harboring a plant that gives almost no ecosystem services save for aesthetic pleasure, while meadows, which consist of wildflowers and naturally occurring flora (and things we sometimes consider weeds) will feed birds and insects (think of the bees!). What's more, encouraging native flora=less work in maintaining an arbitrary standard of yard aesthetics. A meadow can do whatever the hell it pleases and it will be/look fine.
7. Help the environment and your wallet.
Be energy efficient. This benefits you, as a person without much money, and also benefits the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. Keep lights off during the day; use air conditioning minimally; wash your clothes in cold water, not hot. Get energy efficient bulbs. Take short showers. Energy efficiency saves you money and is also good for the environment.
8. Let's talk about palm oil.
Don't buy stuff with Palm Oil in it. Or if that is not possible, opt for "sustainable" palm oil (story continued on the next page...).
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Always consider the effects of your chosen alternative when you boycott something. Reduce your consumption of resources in general where possible.
Many large palm oil operations cause the mass destruction of rainforests and therefore the deaths of numerous species of wildlife. It's in a bunch of products, like chips, margarine, detergents, soap, etc.
9. Reusable is better.
Use linens and washable rags instead of paper towels.
10. Bring a reusable container to restaurants.
Reduce Styrofoam use. Biggest offender is probably take-out containers. If you can't compost it, don't use it.
11. Come on, guys! Bees are cute.
Help pollinators like bees! Even if you live in an apartment or flat, you can plant a little flower and put it out on your porch. A quick Google search will tell you what plants you can grow to help out the bees. (I live in a duplex and have 3 potted plants on my porch that are bee-friendly.)
12. Buy second-hand.
If you stop buying so much fast fashion clothes, you don't throw out so much clothes (that ends up in landfills) (story continued on the next page...).
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If consumers as a whole decrease fast fashion spending, the fashion industry will stop producing so much (especially in excess, which also ends up shredded in landfills).
Focus on buying clothes that will last a decent amount of years with two or three trend pieces per season/year instead of getting a whole new wardrobe whenever a new style is released.
What we spend our money is a vote on what we think is important. Our votes aren't going to the right places.
13. Things aren't always what they seem.
Don't get drawn in by buzzwords. If something is "green," run a quick Google search to check just how "green" it really is.
14. Shelter puppies are cutest.
Dogs and cats have a significant carbon footprint, so only adopt rescue animals to not encourage over breeding of animals.
15. Nice to not always be the one driving.
Carpool and take transit if possible.
16. Get just what you need.
Consume less, really easy to do if you don't have a lot of money. Only buy what you need to survive and buy the most durable, well made basics you need so you don't have to replace them. I know, it's a totally un-american anti-capitalist/consumerist thing to do, but never take more than you need and if you have resources to share, help someone else out.
Vote people into office who care about the environment. After that on a more individual basis I'd say, while it seems small and insignificant, making small changes like energy efficient appliances and lighting, being conscious of what you eat (sustainable foods, I'm not advocating not eating beef, its delicious, but maybe less in favor of other options, sustainably sourced fish, etc) recycling/composting if able. These all seem like small changes in the grand scheme of things, but society as a whole making a collective shift on how we view the environment and how we treat it starts with individuals.
18. Every little bit helps.
A small thing you can do is try to make at least 1 day a week a veggie day. It's not as extreme as going Vegan and not as hard as trying to go full vegetarian. Once you figure out some good veggie dishes it's really not hard to plan a whole day of veggie meals.
19. Keep your cats close to you.
If you have a cat that goes outside, make the transition to indoor cat. Cats are incredibly harmful to small mammal and bird populations. My mom has an indoor/outdoor cat that catches at least three birds a day that we know of, several mice and voles a week, and always a few rabbits. She insists that it's "keeping the population in check", but the toll it takes overall is heavy.
20. A couple of things.
Take shorter showers which includes waiting for the shower to warm up, reuse plastic bags, turn off the water when you're brushing your teeth, fix leaky sinks, turn off the lights, switch to eco friendly light bulbs, use a bike/bus to work, carpool, walk if you can, try to only use what you need. Keep windows closed in the winter, pack full the dishwasher (dishwashers are more eco friendly than hand washing dishes).
21. Think ahead before going to the grocery store.
Bring a reusable bag to the grocery store with you for your groceries.
22. Beef production is harmful for the environment.
If you can cut down your consumption of beef to once or twice a month, it will have a really big and positive impact on the environment.
Check out your local parks and rec- they will have info for what you can do in your area.
23. Why do people buy something they can get from their tap?
Don't buy bottled water (unless you live somewhere that you can't trust the water).
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Thanks to Redditor BurningDruid13, we have some answers to the following question: "Have you ever quit a job, without another lined up, for your mental health? How did it turn out?"