Tackling environmental change often feels overwhelming. Most consumers are aware of the world’s challenges in disappearing biodiversity, rising surface temperatures, and carbon dioxide concentrations. However, busy schedules and other stressors can quickly supplant eco-friendly goals.
Most pushes to protect the world’s resources are group activities. Back in 2019, millions upon millions of employees worldwide took off work to protest a lack of action on climate change from global leaders. According to The Guardian, 185 countries participated in organized marches and gatherings.
The massive movement came almost fifty years after the first Earth Day. The global holiday was one of the first organized pushes to protect natural resources. During the first marches, which took place on April 20th, 1970, up to 20 million Americans gathered nationwide.
Since then, Earth Day has become the most significant secular holiday globally, with countries joining efforts to create global initiatives each year. Millions gather to rally to improve legislative and economic treatment of the environment, but how can ordinary people make meaningful change in their day-to-day lives without moving into a tiny home or going veg?
Be Mindful When Buying
Most people can’t throw out their energy-efficient items, such as old washing machines or even old coffeemakers. However, it’s easier to be mindful when it’s time to purchase a new product.
Though eco-friendly items tend to be more expensive because the materials and means used are environmentally sound, it’s not just big purchases that can make a difference. Opt for a reusable coffee filter over K-cups. What about laundry detergent and cleaning products? Most can be made at home with cheap ingredients like vinegar.
Fix Leaks Promptly
Protecting water is one of the critical aspects of environmental initiatives. For most, being mindful of water usage comes down to turning off the faucet while brushing teeth or washing the face, as well as updating dishwashing techniques.
However, one small way to protect water supplies is to be prompt about fixing leaks. Usually, a few turns of a wrench will get the job done. It’s also helpful to report leaky faucets in public places.
Cut Out Plastic One Day per Week
Cutting out plastic isn’t always up to the consumer; ideally, laws will help regulate how businesses and corporations produce, recycle, and sell plastic products. However, it’s still possible to avoid using plastic products one day per week.
This can take the form of avoiding single-use plastics such as water bottles and using utensils from home instead of takeout cutlery and heading to the beach? According to Our World in Data, try to pack all supplies without including any plastic; there are more than five trillion plastic pieces on earth. Much of it ends up in the ocean.
Opt For Veggie Products
According to BBC Food, a vegan diet is often best for the environment. However, vegan and vegetarian diets can be prohibitive for some due to health concerns and economic means. Similar to cutting out plastic, consumers can also be more mindful about opting for veggie products.
This could mean opting for margarine butter rather than dairy butter every week or choosing rice milk over dairy milk. However, keep in mind that nuts (and popular milk derived from nuts like almond and walnut) are not environmentally friendly in most cases, as they require high levels of freshwater for growing and production.
In the last decade, the local farmer’s market has become one of the most iconic symbols of environmental protection. Not only do local markets support local growers, but they also lessen pollution caused by packaging and transportation. Buying local is always a great choice.
Additionally, engaging locally can involve driving local legislation. Citizens can influence change related to public transport, community events, and more by calling their local officials. Those looking to make an immediate change can even organize meetings with specific goals, such as expanding bike lanes and parking options.