By: Grace Keane
The environment is a hot topic, quite literally, due to climate change and the massive impact humans have on the earth. From the cars we drive, the food we eat, the disposable products we buy, each of us has, in some way, negatively impacted the environment. Luckily, there are quick ways we can all help improve the environment without completely changing our lifestyles. Here are two quick ways you can help improve the environment today.
- Stop buying single use plastic products. Whether it be disposable coffee cups, straws, produce bags at the grocery store, or plastic bags, by buying the reusable form of each of these items you can reduce your carbon footprint. In a study published by the Un, it was found that “nearly 50% of the plastic waster generated globally in 2015 was plastic packaging”.Further, over 400 million tons of plastic waste is produced each year.21% of that plastic waste is from the United States alone.Finally, 79% of the world’s plastic waste now sits in landfills. Despite environmental efforts, only 9% of plastics get recycled.
- Eat a cleaner, greener, diet.A study published in the International Journal of Science found that our diets have increased in refined sugars and fats and that by 2050, these diets would be “a major contributor to an estimated 80 per cent increase in global agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from food production”.Adapting new diets, such as pescatarian or vegetarian, could “prevent most or all of the increased greenhouse gas emissions and habitat destruction that would otherwise be caused by both dietary changes and increased global population”.Also, eating locally sourced produce helps decrease your carbon footprint because you are not eating food that has been shipped around the country. Even just reducing the amount of meat you consume greatly benefits the environment. The study published in the International Journal of Science found that “emissions per gram of protein for beef and lamb are about 250 times those of legumes; pork, chicken, dairy, and fish have much lower emissions”.
You can make small changes in your every day life that help improve the environment. Try going one day a week without eating meat, getting your produce at a local farmer’s market or the local section of your grocery store. When you go to Starbucks, bring a reusable cup or go straw-less. Going green does not mean you have to change the way you live your life, it means you think about the impact of your decisions to use certain products and eat certain food.
Claudia Giavoelli, Single-Use Plastics A Roadmap for Sustainability, UN Environment, 2018, https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/25496/singleUsePlastic_sustainability.pdf?isAllowed=y&sequence=1at 2
Id. at 4.
Id. At 6.
David Tilman and Michael Clark, Global Diets Link Environmental Sustainability and Human Health, Nature International Journal of Science, Nov. 23, 2014
Carol Smith, New Research Says Plant-Based Diet Best for People and Planett, Our World by United Nations University, Nov. 15, 2014, https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/new-research-says-plant-based-diet-best-for-planet-and-people