By Haylie May
In this time period, a lot of the choices we make are based upon convenience. New technologies and developments make it easier to keep up with the fast-paced, work centered attitude our culture has taken up. Grabbing a plastic bag at the grocery store instead of bringing one of your own is easier because you don’t have to carry it around, throwing something out that could be recycled because there isn’t a recycling bin in the immediate area is less work, and throwing your clothes in the dryer instead of air-drying them takes less time. These are things that most people do on the daily, without thinking twice, and it is all to make life easier . Though these things make it easier for us to live, it makes it much harder for the planet to sustain us.
On the bright side, we can reduce the rate at which we are living unsustainably, but people have to be willing to sacrifice some of their convenience. Here are some small things that people can do everyday to make a difference in the long run!
1. Reduce shower times
Long showers are amazing at the end of a long day, but they also waste a lot of water.
2. Turn the lights off when you leave a room
This is an important factor in conserving energy and will save you money in the long run.
3. Use reusable bags when you go to the store!
Not only will they help reduce the amount of waste you produce, they can also be larger and will allow you to take less trips to the car.
4. Thrift shopping instead of buying new clothes
If anyone has ever been worried about wearing the same thing as someone else, the thrift store is the place to go. It is easy to find unique pieces that you will love to spice up your wardrobe.
5. Invest in some Reusable Straws and Cups
If you purchase a reusable cup at Starbucks you can save 10 cents on your drink every time you use it!
6. Recycle as Much as Possible
Pretty self-explanatory, but it feels great when you see that your recycling bin is fuller than your trash!
7. Composting and Vermicomposting
Composting is a great way to help make your soil healthier, and it is fun to watch as it decomposes.
8. Avoid plastic water bottles and drink from the tap if possible!
Here in Michigan, we generally have safe drinking water. Fun fact: tap water has more regulations than bottled water so it is oftentimes cleaner anyways.
9. Eat Locally
This will benefit your community and the food is better for you!
10. Ditch the car or bus and walk
As long as you live in a walkable area, walking is much better for the environment and for you too! It can help people avoid a sedentary lifestyle and will make you feel happier and healthier
11. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk will help reduce the amount of waste you use because of how much packaging most foods come in.
12. Buy Fair Trade products
Fair Trade organizations promote fair living wages to their employees and have an emphasis on producing things more sustainably. By buying things that are fair trade you are supporting their work!
13. Eat Less Meat
This one may be surprising, but the meat production industry is incredibly destructive to the environment. It produces a lot of greenhouse gases, uses a lot of water, and oftentimes is disruptive to the habitat they are placed in. Studies have shown that a more plant based diet is better for you too.
14. Buy More Eco-Friendly personal care products
There is a more eco-friendly alternative to many hygiene products- from using bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic, to using menstrual cups instead of pads and tampons- there is a lot of potential for you to make your ecological footprint smaller.
15. Stop Junk Mail!
Junk mail produces a lot of paper waste, and by unsubscribing from magazines you don’t look at, or switching over to only receiving emails, you are reducing the amount of paper you have to dispose of.
All of these things only take a little more effort and planning to incorporate into your life and will positively impact the environment and when the people around you see you doing these things, it might inspire them to want to do these too.