5 Step Plan To Save The Planet
Ask anybody if they can influence the public policy or the future of the planet, and they will laugh in your face. I bet you think so, too. And you are right, in a way. You can’t singlehandedly solve the world’s problems. All you can do is change YOUR behavior and stop the problem from getting worse. Even if the problem isn’t stopped completely, at least your conscience will be clear. Let’s see how you can help preserve our planet for yourself and the next generations.
You can’t get too much of the good thing with this one. Did you know that only about 35% of the contents of your bin is really trash, and rest can be composted, recycled or reused? And since plastics can take hundreds of years to biodegrade, just think about this: every piece of plastic ever made is still out there. Every. Piece. Mind blowing.
Upcycled Basketball – Source: Melo
So, every time you go shopping or about to toss something, think! Do you really need this item? According to the Greenpeace report, people in the developed countries own today more clothes than they can actually wear, and 95% of them will end up in the landfills, sometimes unworn. Can this item be used again? That plastic plate you just picked up a sandwich from? It can surely be used for your dessert, too. Can this item be upcycled or recycled? Putting just one can of soda in a separate bin saves enough energy to run your TV for three hours. So, how about that GOT marathon?
REDUCE RED MEAT
If going hardcore all-in vegan is too much for you right now, never fear! A good steak-appreciating omnivore like yourself can make a lot of a difference just by cutting out meat, like, say, on Tuesdays. Consider this: approximately 1,850 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef ; growing beef produces 30 kg greenhouse gas (GHG) per kilogram of food, while growing carrots, potatoes and rice produce 0.42, 0.45 and 1.3 kg GHG per kg of food, respectively ; skipping steak once a week amounts to taking your car off the road for three months! And don’t forget all the health benefits of letting beef go.
TAKE THE BUS
Yes, I know. Asking somebody to let go of the comfort of their own car and instead to jam themselves into public transportation can be too much. But consider this: every time you leave your car at home you save your hard-earned money on tolls, gas and parking, not to mention the time and the mental energy of sitting in traffic. According to American Public Transportation Association (APTA), you can save up to $9,712 a year just by commuting in public transport. When traveling by bus is not possible, consider carpooling or biking. Think about how fit you’ll get while saving the planet! If you’re in the market or looking to make even bigger impact, check out this list of environmentally friendly cars.
Only 2.5% of all the water in the world is fresh, and 1% of it is frozen — we need to use it wisely. So, closing the tap when you brush your teeth and/or shaving will save about 6 gallons a day; finally fixing that annoying leak in the toilet will save almost 400 gallons a month; getting out of the shower one minute earlier will save 150 gallons a month. For even more ideas for conscious water use, check out 100+ ways to conserve water. And never, repeat, never flush prescription medications.
Water pressure worldwide – Source: world resources institute
Yes, with an exclamation point. That annoying thing that seems to surprise you all-too-often? That thing actually CAN influence public policy and change the future of the planet. Without it, all the efforts of conscious consumerism and activism, as honorable as they are, will be just what they are — efforts. If you want them to bear fruit, you need to vote. Get to know your representatives, what their opinions and platforms are, contact them, come to the city hall meetings, and let them know where you stand. It’s their job to listen to you.
Of course, there are endless options to do your part in saving the planet, and those listed here are far from being conclusive. But that’s a start, and it begins with you.