International Earth Day is celebrated in the month of April – a day dedicated to environmental protection, and to raise awareness around climate change, pollution and the protection of endangered species.
But we all know that a singular 24-hours of campaigning in a year will only make a minimal impact. So, why not commit to doing one or two things differently every single day of the year, which will actually make a lasting impact. And we promise, it’s not that difficult. Here are a few easy ways to get you started!
1. Opt for a material bag
We are all aware that a single-use plastic shopping bag is bound to end up in a landfill or, worse, the ocean where it poses great danger to the marine life. On average, groceries for a family of four can take up to 10 plastic bags per week – just imagine the damage you and your neighbours can make in one month if you all use single-use plastic bags every week!
Instead, make the tiny investment in a material shopping bag that you can use again and again – the ones from retailers are strong and sturdy, and perfect to carry your groceries in. Once you’ve unloaded your bags, place them back in your car immediately for your next shopping trip.
2. Plant a tree
Trees and forests play a key role in providing oxygen and resources to animals, including humans. A sad reality, however, is that deforestation is happening at a rapid pace – either to create spaces to develop properties, to use as fuel (as charcoal or timber) or for other resources. Another interesting fact to consider about deforestation is that the actual act of cutting down trees contributes an estimated 15% to all greenhouse gas emissions, which has a further impact on our environment.
You can counteract some of this devastation by the simple act of planting a tree in your backyard. Even better, support organisations, such as Greenpop , that work hard at conserving and restoring the ecosystems around deforestation.
3. Switch printed bills to email statements
Speaking of deforestation, another aspect to consider is that millions of trees are cut down each year to produce paper; many of these are used for printing insignificant items such as bills – which so easily can be emailed to you and which you can have on record and find in no time! So, reach out to all those companies who send you printed bills and request that they send them to you electronically. And together you can save millions of trees!
4. Say bye to bubble gum
We’re sorry to (literally) burst the bubble on your minty-fresh breath, but chewing gum is actually made from synthetic rubber – which is just another word for plastic. And every year, gum contributes to over 250 000 ton of waste that either ends up in a landfill or in the ocean. If you’re hung up about having fresh breath, opt for good old toothpaste and a toothbrush or mouthwash.
5. Opt for products without microbeads
Not sure what microbeads are? They are those microscopic beads of plastic that can be found in cosmetic products such as face scrubs and toothpaste. While they might help with healthier skin and gums, they’re doing serious damage to the environment – and will eventually make their way into the ocean through the sanitation systems when you rinse it down the drain. This has a knock on effect on our food chain as marine animals will consume these beads and we, humans, eat these fish or other animals that have eaten fish that have consumed the microbeads. While many companies have made a concerted effort to no longer use microbeads in their products, there are many others that still do. Moral of the story? Check the labels of your cosmetic products – including make up – and ditch those products that have microbeads!
6. Make meat-free Mondays a thing
You might have heard before that the meat industry is one of the biggest contributors to environmental damage. Beef, in particular, is the biggest culprit – out of all the meat products, red meat uses the most land to produce; it also uses the most water and yields the highest percentage of greenhouse gas.
Of course, we totally understand that many people enjoy meat and need to eat meat to avoid getting sick; and as omnivores, our bodies have been built to eat meat. But doing something as small as going meat – or at least red meat – free one day a week can actually have a huge impact on the environment. Who knows, once you realise how easy it is to not have meat one day a week, you might be inspired to do it twice or more!
7. Light up with LED
If you’re looking for a really easy way to make a change, opt to replace your light bulbs with LED light bulbs – they will not only last longer, but also requires less power to run; meaning the demand you’re putting on the environment will be cut significantly. Plus, LED light bulbs also come in a range of brightness and designs, so you can now personalise each room to its own ambiance.