When you open the newspaper or turn on the television nowadays, it seems that everything is going wrong. The environment is on the verge of destruction, our natural resources are dwindling, and pollution is out of control. The stakes are higher than ever before when it comes to environmental issues. With climate change, environmental disasters, and endangered species, the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants is at risk.
So, how can you become an Earthling? It starts with making a commitment to making positive changes in your life and the lives of those around you. So, what can you do to become a responsible Earthling? Well, here are the following ways that you can and should do as a responsible earthling:
- Ditching disposable plastic bags can make a huge difference in protecting the environment. Paper bags don’t break down in the environment and can’t be reused or recycled, and cloth bags are also not the answer. Fortunately, there are better alternatives. Use reusable shopping bags to carry groceries or hold a beach towel. Also, have a refillable water bottle with you instead of buying disposable plastic bottles of water. And avoid plastic bags as much as possible.
- Use digital bills and statements. As you continue your eco-friendly lifestyle, why not start reducing the amount of paper clutter in your life? You could use digital bills and statements (like e-bills/statements) and cut down the amount of paper you use by recycling.
- Normalize repurposing food containers. Since we live in a disposable society, a lot of old food packaging and containers like jars simply get thrown away. Although that will rarely occur in some cases, and it makes sense, most of the time, this is wasteful. Many canned foods, even those we use for storage, are recyclable and reusable. Instead of throwing them in the trash, you should repurpose these as containers.
- Try using rags. Your mother told you not to put everything in the washing machine or dryer, and it’s true: Not all fabrics are created equal when it comes to washing them. Fabric softener and dryer sheets can be costly, and paper towels are wasteful. Instead, try rags. They’re easy to make, cheap to buy, and work great for most purposes. They smell better, use less water, and get softer over time.
- Do your laundry in cold water. Did you know that washing clothes in cold water can save 80-95% on energy costs? That is huge! Not only does it save energy, but it also saves on water usage. And, the energy savings on washing clothes in cold water is actually greater than the energy used by the dryer. In fact, the energy savings on doing laundry in cold water is actually 10 to 20 times more than the energy used by the dryer.
- Driving slower is one of the ways to Become A Responsible Earthling by driving more conscientiously. When driving at higher speeds, we waste a lot more gas, especially on short trips. It’s much easier and less stressful to take your time while driving.
- Take your bike for a ride. A simple, common scene in many neighborhoods across the country is people slowly making their way down the sidewalk on their way to work. A bicycle is parked in the driveway, the pedals almost touching the pavement. It’s a pleasant scene, but it may come as a surprise that the use of bicycles for commuting isn’t just an option but a necessity in some countries.
- Open your windows and let some fresh air in. When you’re at home, it’s nice to be able to open your windows and let some fresh air in, but have you ever considered how much energy you’re wasting when you open a window? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), opening a window uses way less energy than turning on the air conditioning. The National Institute on Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) suggests you open windows on warm days at least twice a day. Open the windows to relieve indoor odors, crank the air conditioner up to encourage air circulation, or open the windows when cooking, showering, or drying clothes.
- Choose to buy organic. As an environmentally conscious and responsible individual, it’s important to support your local farmers and vendors whenever possible. Organic foods are grown without using chemical pesticides or herbicides and are designed to preserve the natural nutrients found within the food. Organic products come from animals raised free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and questionable feed.
Did you know that the average person uses more toilet paper than the average person uses in an entire year? One billion trees die each year to make toilet paper, and for some, the idea of using that much toilet paper every year just doesn’t seem right.
As the environment continues to deteriorate, it’s up to each of us to be the change we want to see in the world. It starts with small, daily actions that each of us can take to help the environment. These actions include recycling, taking shorter showers, and reducing food waste.