How YOU Can Help the Environment

(Photo Source: Getty Images)

(Photo Source: Getty Images)

Chloe Hurd, Writer

“The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have the facts and solutions. All we have to do is wake up and change” -Greta Thunberg. 

Environmental Destruction is a scary topic, and it often gets to me as someone prone to anxiety. We all want to impact the future world, but how can we if there’s no future to impact? There are certainly solutions to save our planet, and while they may be hard and costly, we can all take a small part in stopping climate change before it becomes permanent.

  • Take Notes Electronically

Taking Notes electronically can be of huge benefit to the environment and ourselves. Without the paper that we eventually discard; a whole new world of note-taking opportunities pop up. Taking notes on a Chromebook or a tablet is neat and easy to read, unlike the times when you quick-hand something important and then you are unable to read your handwriting. Digital note-taking also compacts the notes, leaving them organized and safely tucked away. And don’t forget, you can’t leave notes at home that are plugged into Google Drive!

  • Don’t Discard Your Notes!

If you’re still taking notes on paper then I would suggest keeping your notes/notebooks for reference. This not only cuts down on paper waste but also your time when looking for solutions and topics that you already have. If we all kept our notes, it would greatly reduce the amount of paper in the trash and recycling; along with those pesky google searches for homework. Overall we should all try to preserve paper usage. 

  • Carry Reusable Water Bottles

Sure, those little waters the cafe gives out are cute; but do they satiate your thirst? The amount of waste this school must produce from those waters must be tremendous. Not to mention, the bottle refiller downstairs is pretty much unused. Using reusable water bottles benefits the environment by cutting down on the production of plastics, and lowering the need for oil drilling to produce those water bottles.  Did you know that plastic bottles kill around 1.1 million marine animals every year? To top it off, the bottles that don’t end up in our environment contribute to the 38 billion water bottles that end up in landfills. Even worse, these bottles take around 700 years to decompose, causing them to accumulate rapidly. Using a refillable water bottle can stop you from contributing to these Earth-threatening problems.

  • Recycle!

Recycling is an amazing way to benefit the environment and reduce the amount of waste dumped into landfills.“By recycling about 30% of our waste every year, Americans save the equivalent of 11.9 billion gallons of gasoline and reduce the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road.”( Recycling our old papers and plastic, they can and will be reused into new everyday products that keep a lot of potential one-use plastics in the cycle. Recycling is an incredibly simple and free way to benefit our environment. 

  • Conserve Water

Taking long showers after a cold winter day or running that half-full dishwasher may seem convenient at the time; but did you know that these practices may be harmful to the environment? The world only has so much freshwater to sustain us. Wasting this valuable resource is no longer an option as water becomes scarcer amongst a growing population. When we waste water, it contributes to the overall health of the world. But the over-usage of water does not always directly affect the community that is actually at fault. Rather, when we overuse water it has less of a chance to be transported to the communities that need it the most. In places where clean water is scarce, overusing or wasting household water limits the availability of it for other communities to use for drinking, cleaning, cooking, or growing—and thus contributes to disease, illness, or agricultural scarcity and starvation.(Slate) Not to mention the waste of energy that often pairs with the overuse of water. It is all of our responsibilities to lower water intake and help sustain the people of our planet.

  • Stop Buying Fast Fashion

Fast Fashion; it’s often credited with being cute, cheaply made, and affordable. Stores like Shien, Fashion Nova, and H&M are all examples of fast fashion that make a huge impact on our environment. Currently, the general ethics surrounding these companies involve quantity over quality, exploiting workers overseas with very little pay to make products. Overall, the fashion industry itself is a huge weight on our environment: The fashion industry consumes one-tenth of all of the water used industrially to run factories and clean products. To put this into perspective, it takes 10,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of cotton or approximately 3,000 liters of water for one cotton shirt. Furthermore, textile dyeing requires toxic chemicals that subsequently end up in our oceans.”(psci. Princeton). While it may take some getting used to and budgeting, buying from sustainable companies benefits our future generations and keeps discarded clothing out of landfills! 

  • Pick Up Your Trash

Picking up our waste is key to saving the environment. Often, it is easy to forget that wrapper or piece of plastic from lunch and it gets left outside. This garbage must get picked up for the sake of the wildlife and ecosystem around us. The trash left outside may blow around and fall into the sight of animals, who often eat it. : “When animals ingest plastic waste, it can block their digestive tracts. As a result, they starve. Toxic chemicals in the plastic can harm animals’ health—and people can ingest these chemicals as they make their way up the food chain.”(Environment America). This trash not only endangers animals, but the water that supports our surrounding ecosystem: “The most common litter in U.S. streams is household trash, including plastic cups, plastic bags and wrapping materials, fast-food wrappers, plastic bottles, and other plastic containers.”(Water Encyclopedia). We should pick up our trash for not only the school’s cleanliness but the environment around us. 

  • Limit Your Red Meat Intake

While it’s not realistic or enjoyable for everyone to become vegan or vegetarian, limiting the amount of red meat we consume is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint. According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, the meat, and dairy industry accounts for roughly 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. (Future Learn). Taking the red meat and swapping it with vegetable or dairy proteins once or twice a week is a great way to not only mix up your meals but also benefit the environment. 

The Bottom Line

Saving the planet won’t be one sweeping action from one person or organization, it takes all of us respectively to become aware of our damaging actions. If we take on a mindset towards benefiting the environment, our communities will be a better place for wildlife to flourish. Giving hope towards a bigger change in our future world. Just remember, even the smallest actions pile up and become better or worse for the world around us.